5 Exceptional Izakaya in Tokyo
You can find many Japanese style pubs called izakaya in Tokyo and among these, you can also find many exceptional izakaya, each of them designed after a particular concept. In this article we are featuring 5 exceptional izakaya that are really something else.
1. Arabian Rock, an izakaya with a fairytale-like atmosphere
Exotic music plays in the background of Arabian Rock, an izakaya inspired by the world of Arabian nights. You will have to rub the magic lamp and say "open sesame" to enter this restaurant where you will find yourself in the world of Arabian nights, featuring private rooms with elaborate themes such as an Arabian palace, the room of the King, or the cave of thieves.
The restaurant is not only about its interior design, as the menu includes tagine dishes and fusion cuisine inspired by Arabian royal palaces, which are surely a delight for both the eyes and the palate. If you like meat, we especially recommend their 60 minute roast beef all-you-can-eat (Ladies 980 JPY (excl. tax), Men 1,680 JPY (excl. tax)), which is available at the Ueno branch between Mondays and Thursdays only. Besides the aforementioned, the restaurant also offers value courses priced between 3,000 and 4,000 JPY (all-you-can-drink included, reservations required), and its cocktails, which look lovely, are very popular as well! The restaurant's Tokyo branches are located in Shinjuku and Ueno, which makes it easily accessible on your way back from sightseeing. Make sure to drop by to enjoy a royal dinner!
2. If you are into horror, The Lockup is perfect for you!
If are into horror and like haunted houses and scary movies, then this jail-inspired izakaya called The Lockup is perfect for you. As you enter the narrow and dark reception area, a member of the staff dressed up as a police officer will arrest you and bring you to your seat inside a cell.
All dishes have scary names, but do not worry! All of them are actually really tasty. We especially recommend their Devil's Left Hand (starting at 980 JPY(incl. tax)). This is a herb-seasoned chicken dish which uses chicken wings and legs to represent the left hand of the devil. The drink menu features highly elaborated original cocktails, of which the Human Experiment Cocktail Set (750 JPY(excl. tax)), which is served in several cylinders, is the most popular. Guests can mix the cocktails in the cylinders to their taste to create their own original cocktail.
About once every hour, a monster shows up at the guests' seats to put on a performance, something that will definitely contribute to make your experience all the more exciting if you like scary things! We recommend this izakaya for being the perfect place to create some interesting memories to talk about when you go back home. It has 4 branches in Tokyo, located in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, and Ueno.
3. Ebisu Dagashi Bar, where the nostalgic atmosphere of the Showa era (1926-1989) drifts about
Dagashi Bar is an exceptional izakaya where you can have "dagashi" (inexpensive confectionery for children) as a snack to go with your drink. The izakaya is characterized by its Showa-style nostalgic decoration, both outside and inside, and it has 4 branches in Tokyo, located in places such as Ebisu and Ikebukuro. The izakaya has an attached dagashi corner where you can eat as much as you like of the about 100 types of dagashi available. Course menus with an included all-you-can-drink plan are also reasonably priced, starting at 2,500 JPY (incl. tax).
The izakaya serves creative cuisine style dishes such as potato salad and chijimi (Korean pancakes) using dagashi, and it also offers a wide array of alcoholic drinks to choose from. Groups can have fun trying out a lot of different drinks to find out which ones go best with different types of dagashi.
A restaurant where you can enjoy both dagashi and a proper meal is definitely a rarity, so make sure to take advantage of this opportunity!
4. Slip in time to the era of samurais at Sengoku Buyuden
In Japan, the period of time between the end of the 15th century and the end of the 16th century was the age of rival warlords, as the influential figure of the sengoku daimyo, who were in actual control of territories across the country, emerged. This period of time is known as the Warring States Period, and people who played active roles during that time are called "sengoku busho" (military commanders).
Sengoku Buyuden, in Shinjuku, is an izakaya inspired by the concept of the sengoku busho. At the entrance, you will find the figure of an armor, which was part of the protective equipment at the time, and which definitely contributes to the atmosphere and to making you feel like you have slipped in time. The interior of the restaurant is divided in different areas inspired by battles whose result marked the history of Japan, and these feature private rooms named after the relevant military commanders. The decoration includes gorgeous kimonos and family trees, and all of the rooms are different.
The menu features Japanese dishes inspired by the Warring States Period. We especially recommend the seiromushi (starting at 1,280(excl. tax) per person / minimum order: 2 people), a healthy dish consisting of steamed pork, beef, and chicken, and in which the steam represents the signal fire for the battle. This is a valuable izakaya where you can experience the samurai culture and Japanese history, so make sure to pay it a visit!
5. NINJA AKASAKA, an izakaya that recreates a ninja house
The last izakaya of the list is NINJA AKASAKA, a restaurant where you will find ninjas. This restaurant has been featured in international media, and it has also been visited by many Hollywood stars. The restaurant is designed to recreate a ninja house with tricks here and there, and it also has a cascade and a lake, which make it a lot of fun even before you arrive to your seat, to which you will of course be taken to by a ninja!
The izakaya serves elaborate authentic creative-style Japanese cuisine featuring a variety of techniques. Among the available dishes, the shredded vegetable salad, NINJA style (850 JPY (excl. tax)), and the daily sashimi on a floating leaf (2,800 JPY (excl. tax)) are very popular for their fun looks and delicious taste. It is also nice to note that they have plenty of options for vegetarians and people with other food restrictions as well.
Children up to the lower grades of elementary school can dress up as ninjas and take commemorative pictures. In addition, during "show time," the ninjas in the restaurant put up a performance enjoyable both for children and grownups! (Children are allowed in the restaurant until 7:00 pm on weekdays and until closing time on Sundays and public holidays).
Did you enjoy the article? This time we have featured some exceptional izakaya which we recommend not only because of their unusual concepts, but because their dishes are delicious as well. Make sure to drop by to create some memories of your trip to Japan.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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