15 Izakaya Chains You Must Go in Japan

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Source: Shinsuke Ikegame

An izayaka is an informal Japanese dining place. Depending on the store, customers can sit on low traditional tables with pillows or at normal tables. An izakaya offers affordable food and drink in a relaxed setting. Here is a list of Japan’s best izakaya chains you cannot miss!

1. Murasaki

Murasaki is a nice izakaya with a wide menu. Must try dishes include Dashimaki Tamago (a traditional Japanese rolled omelet flavored with fish stock),  Satsuma Age (fried fishcake made from surimi and flour), Nikujaga (stewed meat, potatoes and onions), Gyu Suji no Nikomi (beef tendon stew), Agedashi Toufu (floured and deep fried tofu bites) and Menchikatsu (breaded and deep fried cutlet).

2. Shoya

Shoya is a typical Japanese izakaya with an authentic menu. You can enjoy curry, Japanese steak, Katsu Nabe (fried pork cutlet stew), Suki Nabe (meat and vegetable hot pot), Katsudon (boiled pork cutlet over rice), Tendon (battered and fried seafood or vegetables over rice), Salad Udon (udon noodles over vegetables) and various desserts like Chocolate Parfait and Mino Hershey Parfait.

3. Isomaru Suisan

Isomaru Suisan is an establishment that concentrates on seafood. Every table comes with a small grill and various tools for grilling. Clams are especially popular at this pub. You will find water tanks with fresh clams in them. There are also other delicious seafood like squid, salmon, tuna and other fishes. Some Isomaru pubs are open 24 hours, very convenient for people who want to eat late at night.

4. Kajiya Bunzo

Kajiya Bunzo has a lot of delicious dishes to offer, like yakitori (skewered chicken basted with sauce), Buta Motsu Nabe (pork organs hot pot), fried chicken wings and western foods such as Chorizo and Potatoes Salad and Tuna and Macaroni Salad. The recommended dish is Torimomo Bunzo Yaki”, which is an original item made from chicken thigh and flavored with 18 different spices.

5. Watami

The founder of Watami was the first one who targeted families as izakaya customers. Until then, the main pubs were considered a place for work colleagues to gather. They also served frozen food to keep prices low, but Watami started using fresh ingredients instead. Today the pub serves drinks and delicious food such as yakitori, gyoza and sushi.

6. Tengu

Tengu is a very popular izakaya with almost 50 stores in Japan. Each drink and dish are conveniently priced between 300 and 600 yen. The menu has a lot of items and it might be hard to choose among so many delicious looking dishes. A recommended food to order is Parma Italian Ham Pizza, which consists of thin bacon of a crunchy pizza base. You should also try the diced steak. The price is very low and the meat is very tasty and succulent.

7. Domadoma

Domadoma is well known for its unique menu. The izakaya chain serves a fusion of Japanese and western foods that resulted in some really delicious dishes! You must try Carbonara Kishimen (a combination of Italian carbonara sauce and Japanese kishimen noodles) and Vongole Udon (a fusion between clams that are used in Vongole Italian pasta and Japanese udon noodles).

8. Kamadoka

Kamdoka has many delicious foods on its menu. Recommended dishes are Tsukune (chicken meatballs on a skewer), Karaage (floured and deep fried chicken thigh), Tempura (battered and deep-fried vegetables or seafood), sashimi, Gyutan Kushi (skewered beef tongue) and various types of hot pots and rice bowls.

9. Amataro

Amataro is a very popular izakaya chain that offers affordable food and cheap all-you-can-eat courses. You should definitely try Negimaykai (rolled fried beef covered in scallions), Gyuharami no Shoga Yaki (grilled beef flavored with ginger), Yongen Buta no Ishiyaki Karubi (marinated and fried pork pieces) or Daikon to Ume Jako (daikon radish and plum salad).

10. Tsukada Nojo

Tsukada Nojo is an izakaya renowned for their delicious food and amazing service. It has various menu options like all-you-can-drink course, healthy menu, religious menu, and vegetarian menu. The izakaya chain boasts dishes made from fresh ingredients taken directly from the producers. Among its most famous dishes you need to try the Tsukada Nojo char grilled chicken!

11. Tofuro

Tofuro is an izakaya that concentrates on the traditional part of Japan. The stores are decorated in a traditional way with low tables and other Japanese-style items. The menus are very easy to understand as they are designed with many pictures of the dishes.  Recommended items are: Sashimi, chicken meatballs skewers, tofu, chicken and red pepper stir fry and soba noodles with dipping sauce.

12. Torikizoku

Torikizoku is an izakaya that specializes in chicken. Their menu mainly consists of yakitori (skewered chicken). Everything on the menu is usually under 300 yen and a dish consists of two yakitori pieces. The food is heavenly: liver yakitori, chicken skin yakitori, chicken thigh yakitori, all basted with delicious sauces or condiments. Drinks are also cheap and go very well with the skewers.

13. Shirokiya

Shirokiya is one of the leading izakaya chains in Japan. It offers a lot of tasty dishes like chicken hot pot, cold tofu, sashimi, shabu shabu (thinly sliced boiled beef) salad with sesame dressing,  grilled mackerel with salt, grilled fresh squid, fatty pork grilled over charcoal, fried chicken wings with sweet sauce, shrimp tempura, and Japanese style rolled omelet with spicy cod roe sauce.

14. Warawara

Warawara is an izakaya chain you can find almost everywhere in Japan. The menu is wide and the food is delicious. The average price for a dish is between 300 and 500 yen, making this a very affordable place to dine. Recommended dishes are gyoza (Chinese meat dumplings), sliced beef with bean sprouts, yakitori (chicken skewers) and sashimi salads.

15. Tsubohachi


Tsubohachi is a popular izakaya chain with more than 300 stores all over the country. Delicious dishes include kin san no hakusai kimuchi (Korean condiments flavored cabbage), tempura (battered and deep-fried vegetables or seafood), torikawa kushi (chicken skin skewers), daikon shiso salad (radish and shiso leaves) and takowasa (octopus with wasabi).

Enjoy delicious food at these amazing izakaya chains! Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan