Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Izakayas - Yurakucho and Ginza

Photo: Andrew on Flickr

Izakayas - Yurakucho and Ginza

Mario Larangeira

The Japanese style bar, or izakaya (居酒屋), is a common destination for the white collar workers. The Yurakuchou (有楽町) area is the neighborhood area between Ginza (銀座) and Hibiya (日比谷) and it is a stage for  a daily theatrical dance of buzzing hordes in suits. By the end of the day, the crowds look for a place to enjoy the happy hour time. For that purpose, the izakayas in Ginza and Yurakuchou are the best choices around.

A particular feature of the bars in that area is that, instead of the smoky and noisy closed rooms of the traditional versions of these bars, what one finds along the JR Lines is that a few of them are, in fact,  outdoors. A nice pick for a warm early evening in autumn or a lively late afternoon in summer of a week day in central Tokyo.

In fact, someone could classify the izakaya in that area in three categories:  (1) outdoors, (2) tight room and (3) half-open.

Lets start by describing the Outdoors.

Right between the crossing of the  JR Line and the Harumi Dori street where in the corner there is the Big Echo Karaoke is possible to enjoy cold beer and Japanese treats almost in the middle of the street in a very informal atmosphere.



The relaxed  arrangement, you actually get to sit in beer plastic boxes as chairs in some of them, which provides a great opportunity to interact and start a conversation with other people around.



The second category in our list is the tight room style of izakaya.

These are more similar to the traditional style, however they are not totally closed rooms. What they have in common is that most of them are are located directly below the train lines in arch like spaces.  You actually hear and feel on the walls the trains running above.




The air is heavier from the previous style of izakaya. A walk among the narrow corridors will make  you quite aware about the menu available. The smell of food being prepared is everywhere.

The last category is the half-open category.

This sort of izakaya, as the name suggests,for example, the air is not so heavy, but still it is not outdoors. Usually, like the second category, they are located under the train line but does not feel so claustrophobic like the traditional bars.




In general, walking along the train lines from Tokyo station to the Hibiya area direction by the time of the happy hour specially on Fridays is quite a experience.