Nara, the ancient capital, is an historic city retaining the atmosphere of old Japan. After sightseeing, you'll want to enjoy a drink at an izakaya (Japanese pub), right? This article introduces 10 such places where you can also sample Japanese food.
1. Jimotoai Izakaya Tebasu Naraten (Kintetsu Nara)
Jimotoai Izakaya Tebasu Naraten, near Kintetsu Nara Station, is gaining popularity among local gourmands. A must-try here is the signature [Deep-fried Chicken Wings] (4 pieces for 380 JPY). Large, crispy, and filled with umami (Japanese savory taste), these wings go perfectly with beer or other alcoholic drinks! Choose from spicy, sweet, or curry seasoning. The [3-kind Assorted Sashimi] (780 JPY) where you can taste plenty of seasonal seafood is also recommended.
Jimotoai Izakaya Tebasu Naraten
: [Weekdays/Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays] Dinner 5:00 pm - 1:00 amClosed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 2,800 JPYAccess
: 3 minute walk from the west ticket gate of Kintetsu-Nara station. Just south of the 7-eleven at the Takama intersection.Address
: 1F Wakisaka Building, 41Hayashikoji-cho, Nara, Nara
)More Details Reservation
2. Tsuki tokkury (Shin-Omiya)
Tsuki tokkury is a distinctive izakaya about 4 minutes' walk from Shin-Omiya Station. The signature dish is [Kumamoto Horse Sashimi] starting at 980 JPY! Enjoy fresh horse sashimi taken straight from Kumamoto, which is famous for the delicacy. You'll get to enjoy parts like premium lean meat, tategami (mane), fillet, and ribs with sweet soy sauce from Kumamoto. Also don't miss the [Wagyu Rump Steak] (1,280 JPY), which scores full marks for its volume and original sauce.
Open: [Weekdays, Saturday] Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Tuesday - Friday] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm)
*Closed Mondays for lunch
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays
Average price: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPY
Address: 103, Heights Omiya-dori, 4-286-1, Omiya-cho, Nara-shi, Nara
3. Sakura Chaya (Nara)
Sakura Chaya is an izakaya specializing in seafood from the reputed harbor Sakaiminato in Tottori Prefecture. Since the expert owner carefully chooses only the highest-quality seafood, you can taste delicious Japanese seafood as sashimi and other dishes! If you want something a little more extravagant, try [Simmered Fish] consisting of fresh fish boiled with Tottori-produced soy sauce and sake (a kind of Japanese alcohol). Another specialty is the [Chestnut Seed Soba] made by blending buckwheat flour and chestnut seeds.
: [Tuesday - Saturday] Dinner 5:45 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm) *No entrance after 9:00 pm
[Wednesday - Friday] Lunch 11:45 am - 1:30 pm (L.O. 1:00 pm) *Reserve at least 1 day priorClosed
: Monday, Sunday, National Holidays *Banquet reservations only. Single-dish orders unavailable.Average price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 850 JPYAddress
: 1F, White Palace 21, 43-2, Omori-cho, Nara-shi, Nara MapMore Details
4. Hanashiba (Kintetsu Nara)
A convenient 3-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, this place has a delightful rustic atmosphere. The dining tables are colored with seasonal seafood carefully selected by the owner on his daily visits to the market. Regulars often order the signature [Assassination Plate] (from 1,980 JPY), which consists of the freshest and most delicious seafood sashimi that pairs beautifully with sake. Don't overlook the daily lunch menu as well with its yummy, healthy [Broiled Tuna] and other mouthwatering dishes ranging from 800 - 1,000 JPY.
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 4,500 JPY / [Lunch] 900 JPYAddress
: 8-2, Hanashiba-cho, Nara-shi, Nara MapMore Details
5. GEN (Shizumi)
An izakaya offering tasty local sake and seasonal seafood. Sake from Nara Prefecture is the focus, complemented by many famous brands from all over the country. A dish that goes well with sake is the [Omakase Sashimi Platter for 2 - 3 People] (from 2,300 JPY) - fresh, delicious sashimi laid on a heart-shaped plate that helps bring out the sake's flavor. If you're looking to eat and drink plenty, don't miss the [Genkaisen Chanko Course] (6,800 JPY) offering various fare centering on seafood chanko (stew traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers)!
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)Closed
: Tuesday *Closed for lunch on WednesdaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPYAddress
: 457-2, Imaizumi, Kashiba-shi, Nara MapMore Details
6. Yatai Zushi Shin-Omiya Ekimae-cho (Shin-Omiya)
Here, where skilled sushi craftsmen ply their trade, is an affordable place to savor nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi). The taste is one thing, but another reason why people keep coming back is the reasonable price: from 59 yen (plus tax) per piece! Visit alone for a light meal and some drinks, or go as a couple or with a small group and leisurely enjoy the dining experience. Top recommendations are the tuna sushi and sashimi, as meticulous attention is paid to the quality of the ingredients. Savor the [Tuna Sanmai Nigiri] (899 yen (plus tax)) and [Tuna Sanmai Sashimi] (1,499 yen (plus tax)) to your heart's content!
Yatai Zushi Shin-Omiya Ekimae-cho
: 4:00 pm - 2:00 am (L.O. 1:30 am)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: 2,700 JPYAddress
: 6-2-14, Omiya-cho, Nara-shi, Nara MapMore Details
7. Yamato no Sanzoku (Nara)
This popular eatery offers sake brewed in Nara Prefecture along with dishes utilizing local vegetables and Sakura Hime brand chicken from Miyazaki Prefecture. The famous [Gouka Sanzoku-yaki] (720 JPY) is an inviting dish featuring this umami-rich chicken, which is fried once and then carefully fried once more in a sunken hearth. This removes any extra fat, making the meat's flavor even more prominent! Also very popular is the [3-kind Wagyu Yogan-yaki] (1,280 JPY) consisting of high-quality meat cooked on a hot lava plate.
Yamato no Sanzoku
Open: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY
Address: 2F, Masaki Bldg., 511, Sanjo-machi, Nara-shi, Nara
8. Tsunofuri (Kintetsu Nara)
This long-standing izakaya is a convenient 1 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. Here, you will find rare brands of sake from small breweries around Nara Prefecture, as well as plenty of umeshu (plum sake) and shochu (another kind of Japanese alcohol) from all over the country. It also serves original Japanese creations made of local seasonal ingredients that go well with this delicious sake. If you are unsure what to ask for, try the specialty [5-kind Seasonal Assortment] for 300 JPY! Or if you're a meat lover, don't miss the 980 JPY [Yamato Beef Steak], limited to 10 servings per day and cooked on a heated stone.
: [Weekdays] 5:00 pm - 1:00 am (Drinks L.O. 12:30 am)
[Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] 4:00 pm - 1:00 am (L.O. 12:30 am)
*Bookings can be placed for any time from 10:00 am - 3:00 am (L.O. 2:30 am)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 2,850 JPYAccess
: 1 minute walk to the south (to the direction of Nara Park) from Exit B of [Kintetsu Nara Station] on Kintetsu Line / 10 minutes walk to the east along Sanjo-dori Street from [Nara Station] on JR Lines Address
: B1F, Nara Kanko Kaikan, 21 Higashimuki-minamimachi, Nara city, Nara
)More Details Reservation
9. Ginjo Kizoku (Shin-Omiya)
Ginjo Kizoku is an authentic izakaya boasting delicious sake and seasonal dishes. The refined Japanese-style interior (9-seat counter and 4 tables) creates a bright atmosphere where anyone will feel at ease. As for sake, there are usually more than 35 brands selected from all over Japan, such as Juyondai, Dassai, and Toyo Bijin. Sip the sake slowly while savoring the filling [5-kind Sashimi Platter] (1,800 JPY), which serves 2 to 3 people, or the [Shintara Shirako Ponzu] (880 JPY).
: 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)Closed
: Sunday, National HolidaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 4,000 JPYAddress
: 1F, Kaimoto No. 3 Bldg., 6-7-1, Omiya-cho, Nara-shi, Nara MapMore Details
10. Kajika (Kintetsu Shimoda)
Get your fill of sake and food in this stylish Western-style pub. The affordable Western menu includes the [Chef's Hamburger] (680 JPY), and regulars love the [Select Skewers] (from 140 JPY) which are carefully cooked with a secret sauce. For a leisurely meal, [Kajika's Western-Style Steak Course] (3,000 JPY) offers 6 dishes that are grilled right in front of you, including domestic loin steak and seasonal grilled fish.
Open: [Monday, Tuesday, Thurday - Sunday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Average price: 2,500 JPY
Address: Ale Kashiba, 41-1, Isokabe, Kashiba-shi, Nara
In addition to these choices, the world-renowned tourist city of Nara has many other fine izakaya that pride themselves on their menus. So, after sightseeing, be sure to explore and enjoy!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.