Culture Experience Okinawa Nightlife With The Entire Family

More information about the unique Okinawan culture
Many of us like to spend the weekend or special nights having our favorite drinks outside the house.

Whether you’re single, newlywed with or without kids, or you just want to go out with your children while your significant other is away, there's a lively place for everyone to equally enjoy the night.

Okinawa izakayas

You have probably come across many of these along the streets. They offer an amusing space along with various kinds of alcohol and good food.

While restaurants are mainly for eating and bars are for drinking, izakayas combine the best of both worlds!

As a matter of fact, Okinawans begin drinking at izakayas and tend to stay for a long period having a great time.

Since the standard of an izakaya is in between a restaurant and bar, children are also welcome at most izakayas. Additionally, it's not even that uncommon to see some people even wasted.

If you would like to hunt for something new to do on the weekends, izakayas will typically have a huge sign up on the outside of the entrance with the "happy hours" and pricing.


It might read something like this: 90 yen beer from 1700 to 1900 or quite possibly be even 980 yen for all you can drink for 2 hours--you can't beat that! (But be careful, the pricing can rise significantly after this time)


The rule here, however, is that if anyone in your party chooses an "all you can drink" system, everyone else, excluding minors, has to choose the same system at most izakayas as well.

Because izakayas also have a wide variety of food, they also give you a great opportunity to try some new Japanese or Okinawan cuisine while you're here too!

If you're looking for something to expand your taste palette that also goes great with beer, I would personally recommend tako wasa, or octopus wasabi, rather.

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Cod roe is often also used in Japanese cuisine. The one we ordered came atop tamagomaki (winding egg) and it was such a delight!


Another tasty dish to have would be cod roe pasta. If you see it on the menu, you should definitely give it a try too.

Different from American custom, dishes on the table are meant to be shared amongst the party which makes it much easier to try many kinds of foods in one visit. Keep in mind, the bill basically can't be separated either so if you're uncomfortable sharing the dishes, just make sure to note which one you ordered so you can pay for your own.


Common courtesies while visiting an izakaya: Everyone in the party is supposed to order at least 1 drink which can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, but not just water. Generally, there is also a table charge per person too. Additionally, the all you can eat or drink service starts at the same time and ends at the same time so if there's anyone that joins in later, his or her drink time will be shortened.

Once you become familiar with how to recognize and order at izakayas, I'm sure you'll get excited to go explore one after another as each weekend comes!

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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
About Author
Snow is the wife of @David, co-founder of Okinawa.Org, and a local national. She dedicates her time contributing posts about the Japanese language in the Language Corner forum as well as posts about Okinawan culture and other amazing things to do in Okinawa in the Okinawa blog.


I love izakayas but hate to pay the table charge:cautious:
All-you-can-drink system often includes the table charge though, so you might want to make sure which one would be cheaper at the end.
You have table charge?
Never heard of that one. Must be exclusive to Okinawa.
Yes:) most izakayas and bars in Japan have a table charge. But if you order the all you can drink system, most of the time you don't have to pay for it.

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