There’s no place for dinner like an Izakaya restaurant – a casual dinner spot for a group of friends with a cosy atmosphere to loosen up after a hard day’s work. Izakaya-style establishments began appearing during the Edo period with “Izakaya literally meaning I (to stay) + Sakaya (sake store). These restaurants provided an area to enjoy sake instead of the usual “take-away” option, and in modern times Izakaya restaurants are still considered a great nightlife venue.
Serving alcoholic beverages is probably what makes an izakaya unique and different from other restaurants, which explains why patrons are usually adults. Smoking is almost always allowed and drinkers can enjoy the nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) option including Japanese beer and cocktails. Most interestingly, izakaya may be one of the few places where Japanese businessmen become chattier as the night goes on, and if you are lucky you might just witness the classic “necktie headband”.
ORDER LIKE A TRUE LOCAL
Rumour has it that this default side-dish can pair well with beer and even helps to break down alcohol.
Karaage usually refers to deep-fried chicken breasts, or “Zangi” in Hokkaido. Or you can be a little more adventurous and try deep fried “Nankotsu”; chicken cartilage.
The Japanese traditional version of omelette with a slightly sweet flavour, usually served pre-sliced.
Deep-fried Tofu in dashi (broth) sauce.
Order something to cheers or “Kanpai” with your friends. Right now, the most popular mix is Japanese whisky mixed with soda on ice called “Highball”.
The niseko area has a wealth of Izakaya restaurants to choose from – below are a few of our top picks!
Next to Yukoro Onsen 18:00-24:00 / 0136-25-4009
Try the Gyoza and Tan Tan Aburasoba
On Momoji-Zaka St. 18:00-23:0 / 0136-22-6028
Try the Hokkaido and Zangi Gyoza
Lower village on Yotei-Zaka 18:00-24:00 / 0136-22-6544
Try the Oden and Sweet & Tender Simmered Pork
Lower village near Haven Niseko 15:00-23:00 / 0136-25-4438
Try the Pork Belly Japanese Stew and Daikon Radish Salad
Next to soup curry Tsubara Tsubara 17:30-22:00 / 0136-22-4198
Try the Sukiyaki and Assorted Sashimi Platter
Next to Yukoro Onsen 12:30-23:30 / 0136-55-6071
Try the Pork Belly and BBQ Scallop