Bryce was born in California, and raised near Seattle, Washington! He’s been living in Japan for about 5 years now, the first 3 spent studying at Temple University Japan. His main passion in life is writing and producing music, more specifically EDM if anyone is curious! He is very fond of snowboarding, cooking, traveling, playing video games; all of which he’d ideally enjoy with the company of his great friends.
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Japan is a country where food and culture intertwine seamlessly, and one of the best places to experience it is in Tokyo. One of Japan’s most unique dining experiences are Izakaya. These casual bars/restaurant fusions serve an assortment of Japanese dishes and drinks and are perfect for socializing with friends or colleagues after work. They generally are quite vibrant and energetic, and are known for their diverse menus and “Nomihoudai” (all you can drink) options! More often than not, they serve an array of Japanese food and have that pub-like atmosphere, but there are some very interesting Izakaya out there that stray far from the usual scene! From elementary school classrooms to planetariums, and science labs to vampire lairs, there’s some must-see spots! So here’s a list to get you started on your Izakaya adventure.
1. 6nenn4kumi, or RokunenYonkumi
Make sure you’ve done your homework and done your reading before you head into this Izakaya! Certainly you’d never want to walk into an elementary school classroom and have to explain why you don’t have your work, right? Well, to be honest, they may not require the homework… but you can’t go wrong with a reservation at least! This Izakaya has an elementary school classroom theme and is quite the experience. They serve a variety of dishes that would be quirky to someone visiting Japan, but quite nostalgic to Japanese citizens. Either way, it’s something you need to try!
2. Ninja Tokyo
Ninja Tokyo, formerly Ninja Akasaka, is an Izakaya filled with old fashioned, Ninja-era elements. As the name suggests, the staff dress up as Ninja and fill the experience with all kinds of entertaining Ninja style service. The interior is designed like a Ninja village, complete with secret rooms and passages. This spot spares no effort in truly creating an immersive Ninja experience, even the dishes themselves intricately designed to follow the theme. The course style menu offers an array of dishes and of course a fine selection of Wagyu.
3. Luida’s Bar
Dragon Quest enthusiasts rejoice! This Izakaya is the place for you, it’s got everything Dragon Quest. Ever wondered what a Slime tastes like? This spot really doesn’t miss a note, although you might at the Karaoke room! Yes, they have a Karaoke room here that is part of their Karaoke package. They also have rooms where you can play the games as well. There are also events held here (especially when there is a new game release), so be sure to have this place bookmarked if you’re a fan of the series.
4. Planetarium Bar
The Planetarium Bar is a unique Izakaya that takes stargazing to the next level. The bar has a planetarium that projects stars onto the ceiling, making it the perfect spot for a romantic date or simply a great time for astronomy enthusiasts. In such a brightly lit city like Tokyo, it’s pretty hard to see the night sky! It seems like someone noticed that and took advantage of it with this great Izakaya.
5. Fishing Restaurant Zauo
At Fishing Restaurant Zauo, customers can catch their own fish and have it prepared for them. The restaurant has a fishing pond stocked with a variety of fish. If you’re a fan of fishing, this might be a fun opportunity for you! Or, it may be disappointing compared to the real thing… but rest assured that there are plenty of places in Japan that are wonderful for fishing! Be sure to check out Tsukiji or Toyosu for some incredible seafood experiences too. At Zauo, you’ll be able to enjoy all kinds of seafood though; aside from the fun idea of fishing for your own food, you’ll get to enjoy some great seafood in a wide variety.
6. Penguin Dining Cafe & Bar
Take a trip to another Izakaya complete with sea-life! However, the concept is a little different here: You get to feed the penguins! Don’t worry, you don’t have to share your food with them. Besides, all the penguin-themed food here is probably off-putting to a penguin! Be sure to check this place out if you love the idea of visiting some adorable penguins. The opportunity to feed them isn’t offered at just any time, so make sure you pay attention to their site if you want to attend one of their feeding events!
7. Akabane Reien
Entertain your superstitious side with this Izakaya dedicated to the undead! Ghosts, spirits, and the like are all welcome here at this “Graveyard Bar”; but don’t worry, they don’t eat so there is plenty of food for you to enjoy! There’s also a Nomihoudai option available, so maybe you’ll even end up joining the undead! Either way, you’ll surely feel immersed in this eerie experience with all the themed food and atmosphere. There is no doubt that this place is a destination on Halloween!
8. Nakame Takkyu Lounge Nakameguro
Are you a fan of Ping Pong, or Table Tennis? Well look no further than this joint that features a full size Ping Pong table for the customers to use to enjoy some great rallies! “Takkyu “ is the Japanese word for Ping Pong, hence the name of the establishment. They serve a variety of foods that, while not themed and decadent like some of the other options, is still great to enjoy with some drinks, friends, and a great game of pong! Be sure to check out the Nakameguro area in general; it’s got a lot to offer such as the Meguro River!
9. Science Bar Incubator
The Science bar incubator is an Izakaya that combines science and cocktails. The interior has a laboratory theme, with beakers and test tubes used as drink glasses. The bartenders wear lab coats and mix cocktails using scientific techniques. If you’re feeling experimental, then this is an ideal place for you, at least that’s our hypothesis! But surely as long as you’re using the scientific method, you’ll find yourself in the right spot.
10. Vampire Cafe
The Vampire Cafe is an Izakaya that takes inspiration from Gothic horror. The interior is designed like a vampire’s castle, with dim lighting and plenty of red velvet. But do they have red velvet cake…? You’ll just have to find out! The waitresses dress up as vampires and serve some drinks in blood bags and some dishes in little coffins! Its great instagram worthy spot and surely an incredible experience for any bloodthirsty visitors! Be careful if you’re actually a vampire though, There might be garlic in some of the dishes.
Japan Wonder Travel Food Tours
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▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo where you will have the chance to try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake along with your friendly English speaking guide!
▶Shinjuku Bar Hopping Tour: Experience Tokyo’s Nightlife in Izakaya
Check out the best spots in Shinjuku while bar hopping through the lively and vibrant area. Try some delicious local food and drink as you explore the narrow yet photogenic alleys that the town has to offer. Experience Japanese izakaya culture and drink in Shinjuku like the locals!
▶Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the surrounding areas.
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