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A Beginner-Friendly Guide to Enjoying Izakaya

Imagine a cozy place where people gather to eat delicious food, sip drinks, and have fun conversations. This place is called an izakaya, a particular type of eatery in Japan that’s popular for relaxed and joyous socializing. Here’s a beginner-friendly guide on how to enjoy izakayas. 

  1. Finding the Right Izakaya

Izakayas have various styles and sizes. Some are big and belong to well-known chains, while others might be small, owned by a family, and tucked away in a quiet spot. A few izakayas may look fancier, offering private rooms for special gatherings.

There might be hints about what they are known for outside each izakaya. Smoky air and a charcoal scent might mean they cook tasty skewers. A sake barrel or a special wooden ball might show they offer different kinds of nihonshu (Japanese rice wine) and yummy snacks. If you see a fish painting, Izakaya probably serves fresh and tasty best izakaya singapore. 

  1. Stepping Inside an Izakaya

Entering an izakaya is a unique experience. You say ‘sumimasen’ (excuse me) and show with your fingers how many friends are with you. A staff member will then guide you to a table. It’s essential to wait and follow their lead, as this is the polite way to find a place to sit. Always remember to mind your spending and enjoy it within your budget. 

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  1. Enjoying the Izakaya Experience

Remember that izakayas usually add a small cover charge called Otoshi to the bill. This fee also includes a small appetizer to enjoy with your first drink. Some izakayas have options for all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) or all-you-can-drink (nomihodai), which can be a fun and satisfying choice for bigger groups. 

  1. Paying at the Izakaya

When it’s time to pay, the total bill is usually divided equally among everyone. It’s rare to pay separately for what each person ordered unless you ask at the beginning. Bringing cash might be helpful, especially when enjoying izakaya with friends. 

Tasty Treats to Try

  • Edamame: Green soybeans cooked and lightly salted.
  • Eihire: Grilled stingray fin, sometimes served with mayonnaise.
  • Hiyayakko: Cold tofu with tasty toppings like ginger and bonito flakes.
  • Kakifry: Crispy, deep-fried oysters.
  • Karaage: Flavorful, deep-fried chicken pieces.
  • Sashimi: Fresh fish slices, often enjoyed with a little soy sauce.
  • Yakitori: Skewers of grilled chicken. 


Visiting an izakaya can be a wonderful way to explore different flavors, enjoy time with friends, and experience a joyful part of Japanese culture. Whether in Japan or a place like the best izakaya in Singapore, these lively spots offer a special way to dine, share, and create happy memories.