Izakayas in Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto

Calling all FTC Japanophiles! Please recommend me your favorite Izakayas in Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto.

I am specifically looking for izakayas that are “exraordinary” whether that’s the food, ambiance, or something specific they specialize in. We’ll be in Fushimi for a day exploring local sake breweries, so if you have a recommendation for that area it would be much appreciated. a good sake selection is a major plus.

I don’t see any topics for Izakayas, so feel free to post about an old trip, a friends rec, stories and experiences you had at an izakaya in Japan, etc.

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I have a long list of izakaya I never made it to, but I don’t like to share places I haven’t myself been to. I would recommend the following in Kyoto:

Gion Rohan - 祇園ろはん
refined izakaya, get the saba sando!

Gion Yuki - 遊亀祇園店
classic/rustic izakaya, owned by Okamura Honke, a sake brewery in Shiga prefecture. As such you can try their whole line of sake and the food here is delicious. It’s quite popular with both locals and tourists, so if in Kyoto during the peak tourist season, you might have to wait a while to get in here.

Gion Negi-shō Kana Higashimise - 祇園ねぎ焼 かな 東店
not an Izakaya per se; but an amazing little shop specializing in Okonomiyaki.

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In Tokyo, Kiyoi in Shibuya is a must try if you want to have sake with small plates focusing on home style cooking along with very classic Japanese bites and some items you’ll find at izakaya. They don’t speak English though and you’ll need to make reservations (better to do so through instagram, owner will find a friend to translate and get back to you)

Must try also: Chinju No Mori Animism Bar. https://chinjunomori.net/

Some more info here: https://pocket-concierge.jp/en/restaurants/244184
To book, do it through the chinjunomori.net website (send email but use lower case lettering). You may want to take their sake and/or Japanese spirits tasting class also.

If you only have time for one place, I’d say do Chinju No Mori for the top of your list.

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What is Kiyoi’s instagram name? I appreciate all the suggestions!


If you need help, want to make a reservation and know the date, send me a PM. I have a direct line to the owner and have a way to communicate with her pretty easily. She would be delighted to have you and whoever you want to bring along, and do her best to give you a great experience.