In Japan, the mysterious country, there is a wonder world called “izakaya.”
Izakaya refers to a pub where you can enjoy alcohol with a reasonable price although they have various kinds of dishes unlike bars which main items are drinks.
Izakaya is a popular place for native Japanese where you can enjoy foods such as sashimi, cooked fish, tempura, yakitori, edamame, tofu, and so forth and have alcohol inexpensively. Some of the izakaya serve local dishes and home-style dishes. They can be as big as franchise or as small as private management, and the price ranges are about 3,000 yen to 5,000 yen per person.
After passing through the izakaya’s curtains, you would hear “irasshaimase.” You will be told where to have a seat after telling a server how many seats you need. Most franchise restaurants have menu in foreign languages, however, privately managed ones often do not have such menus. You order drinks first and decide what to eat while servers prepare the drinks. Servers in Japan do not take your order if you do not call them. If you say “sumimasen” or do hand gestures, they will come to take your order.
If you go to a privately owned izakaya and could not read the menu, you can ask “osusume wa nani?” Then, a server should let you know the recommended dishes of the day. Most dishes should be eaten with the chopsticks, however, you can ask for forks and spoons if you are not good at using them.
Where you pay depends on the izakaya, but mostly, it is at the cashier of the entrance in franchise restaurants and at the table in privately managed ones.
It should be easier for you to go to franchise izakayas because they prepare for foreign customers, but please try the small ones where many native Japanese go. You would not have a big problem even though you cannot understand Japanese. If you go to a privately managed izakaya, many of them do not accept credit cards and accept only cash. Therefore, please stop by at Sakura Currency Service that offers the best exchange rates before going there.