One style of Japanese dining that I really wanted to try was izakaya, which is basically beer- or sake-accompanied snacks. Think of it as Japanese tapas or pub food. Typically, you order as you go along, and you’re expected to order food throughout your visit. I was pretty intimidated by this format, as I wasn’t sure how common it was for a young woman to go to an izakaya by herself. Luckily, during the conference I was attending, a few of my fellow scientists were game for trying izakaya too!
We ended up at a large chain izakaya that was 3 or 4 stories tall off of the main drag in Gion, Kyoto. Our hostess showed us to a large, private tatami-covered room with a cutout under the table for our legs. At our table was a small round disc that served as the pager for our server. How convenient! The Japanese really do think of everything. R, who is of British origin but now works in Kobe, guided us through our English menu, pointing out his personal favorites. Photos of our dinner are below. The only dish not pictured is the fried chicken (very good). Enjoy!