General restaurants

Family restaurants and izakaya

These restaurants do not require reservations, welcome single diners, and offer food and drink at moderate prices. Some of the various types are introduced here. Credit cards can usually be used at most chain restaurants and larger restaurants. Sticker signs displayed at the entrance or cash register area indicate whether, or what type of, credit cards can be used.

Family restaurants

Nationwide chain family restaurants offer menus with a wide variety of choices, from Japanese foods like sushi and soba noodles to western foods like hamburgers and pasta. The set menu specials including soup and coffee are about 1,000 yen. Beer, sake, and wine are also available, as are set meals for children. Many restaurants have breakfast menus or are open until late at night (including 24-hour restaurants). Because of their uniform quality and service and low prices, customers can enter any of these restaurants without worry. There are also Korean barbecue chain restaurants of uniform quality and service, and diners can enjoy a yakiniku meal for around 1,000 per person.

In almost all chain restaurants, menus have photographs of the dishes, making ordering easier since even if the customer cannot read the accompanying Japanese explanation, the contents, style, and price of the dish can be quickly ascertained by the photograph.



Izakaya are pub-style restaurants where alcoholic beverages, fish, and other foods can be enjoyed at very moderate prices. Some individual izakaya can be identified by the short curtains or red lanterns hanging at their entrances, while others have modern interiors and can be found in larger buildings having a concentration of restaurants. Izakaya menus center on Japanese foods like sashimi or tofu dishes, with individual dishes priced at around 500 yen. Many distinctive izakaya feature special rice wine from famous sake-producing areas as well as regional dishes, allowing customers to enjoy a variety of tastes and flavors from all over Japan. In addition to beer and sake, many izakaya serve other alcoholic drinks like shochu (distilled spirits) and wine. Very moderately-priced chain izakaya have menus with photographs of the dishes, making it easy to order and make sure of the contents and prices of the dishes. Some izakaya also have menus in English.



Some of the different types of bars in Japan are cocktail bars with a wide selection of liquors and bartenders capable of mixing a variety of drinks, wine bars specializing in different wines, and so-called dining bars that also offer foods. Karaoke bars serve alcoholic beverages and light foods that can be enjoyed while singing karaoke.


Tachi-nomiya (stand-up bar)

Tachinomi-ya , where customers drink standing up in front of a counter, offer alcoholic drinks like beer, sake, and shochu at very cheap prices. Some serve simple foods like sashimi or yakitori. Payment is usually with each drink.