Japanese drinking establishment ‘Izakaya’ is trending globally. However, izakaya outside of Japan tends to be quiet and rather well-mannered, making Japanese feel uncomfortable as they feel unauthentic. Here we’ve picked 10 izakaya places worth trying when you are out and about in Asakusa area.
1. Asakusa Ichimon Honten (浅草 一文 本店)
Once you enter, you need to exchange your cash for wooden notes (100 yen = 1 mon). This will make you feel as if you’ve time warped back to the Edo era. Dishes offered are prepared with fresh ingredients from Tsukiji Fish Market as well as various parts of the country. Top quality sake and shochu are offered as the owner is an official sake sommelier. Its signature dish is Edo Negima Nabe, a rich hot pot with fatty tuna and leek.
http://www.asakusa-ichimon.com/honten/info.html (Japanese Only)
2. Asakusa Washoku Kaminarimon Kisuke （浅草 和食 雷門き介）
The venue is a detached house built almost half a century ago. You feel as if you are visiting a traditional Japanese home. Its signature dishes are well selected ingredients of oden cooked with good broth, and chicken dishes prepared with certified branded chicken. Good range of alcohol beverages are available too. There are English speaking staff on deck, which should help for a smooth communication.
3. Teuchi Soba Nihonshu Yamasuke (手打そば 日本酒 山介)
Japanese soba and sake are the two pillars of this izakaya. Good range of sake are offered and dishes offered go well with them. We particularly recommend Basashi, the horsemeat sashimi fresh from Kyushu. From black soba to aged soba, this place offers unique range of handmade buckwheat soba.
http://hitosara.com/0006041332/ (Japanese Only)
4. Kamiya Bar (神谷バー)kala-pattar/Flickr
Kamiya Bar was founded in 1880, making it the oldest western-style bar in Japan. It also has elements of izakaya and was loved by many great writers. The venue is registered as tangible cultural property and has an ambience of Japanese downtown. It is famous for a brandy-based cocktail called Denki Bran, literally translated as ‘Electric Brandy’, which was invented by the founder. Kamiya Bar is open from midday, making it a convenient place for you to drop by during the daytime sightseeing.
http://www.kamiya-bar.com/ (Japanese Only)
5. Miyatogawa (宮戸川)
Miyatogawa is close to Sensoji and located on a shopping street called Nishisando Shotengai. It offers traditional menu from Edo era together with local sake. Foods are cooked following an old recipe book, such as ‘tempura-gushi’ (skewed tempura, a popular fast food back then) and ‘gyu-suji nikomi’ (stewed beef gristle, a famous local dish of Asakusa.)
Nishisando Shotengai, 2-7-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
6. Okada (おか田)
俊仁 (Toshihito) 小林 (Kobayashi)/Flickr
俊仁 (Toshihito) 小林 (Kobayashi)/Flickr
Rare sake and shochu are offered at this izakaya. We recommend yakitori (grilled skewered chicken) using free range chicken from Daisen in Tottori. All parts of chicken are good, but here you can enjoy rare skewers such as chicken kidneys and ‘tiara’. Ramen cooked with broth of Nagoya Cochin chicken is also good and sells out fast.
http://www.asakusa-okada.com/ (Japanese Only)
Founded on Asakusa Hoppy Street in 1974, this is a popular place where you can drink Hoppy (a beer-like low alcohol beverage) on tap. We like to drink it without ice. Here you have two options for gyu-suji nikomi – traditional soy sauce based flavor or spicy flavor. They are both very good and selling like hotcakes. Yakitori skewers and cooked tripe meat are also delicious.
2-5-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
8. Torisho (鶏翔)
The place is popular for its charcoal grilled Daisen chicken which derives from shamo (gamefowl). What’s more, sashimi and steak of white chicken liver offered here are something hard to find in other parts of the world, which makes this eatery heaven for liver cuisine fanatics.
2-35-14 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
9. Sake no Daimasu Kaminarimon Branch (酒の大桝 雷門店)
The izakaya is within the site of this sake specialist shop. More than a hundred varieties of sake from all over Japan is on offer. You can try them by a glass. It has a nice inviting atmosphere and discovering unique food pairing such as bacon with sake is making the venue ever so popular with international tourists.
http://www.e-daimasu.com/sakebar/ (Japanese Only)
10. Hyotan Nabe Kaminarimon (ひょうたんなべ 雷文)
If you want to drink sake over an authentic dish of oden then this is the place to be. The flavorsome oden broth is made by Rishiri Kombu (seaweed) together with dried bonito and chicken. Here you can get more than 30 varieties of oden ingredients. The location is so convenient it only takes 30 seconds walk from Kaminarimon.
1-2-9 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo