A dirty, antiquated, character filled, Tokyo bar

There is certainly no shortage of simple, rough and ready bars in Tokyo. Places where there’s no fuss or falseness whatsoever. Just unpretentious sustenance and surroundings.

Thankfully one doesn’t have to go far to find them either. In fact they can even be found on unlit, shuttered-up streets in the suburbs. Beacons of sorts in the dreary darkness.

abandoned Japanese clinic

This one was even more special too, as during its 23 year existence — it had been a tonkatsu restaurant before its current form — we were the very first western foreigners to walk through the door. A door that led, like so many others, into a tiny, antiquated establishment.

abandoned Japanese clinic

Where the dirty and dated surroundings only add to the experience.

abandoned Japanese clinic

Creating an ambience that’s just as nourishing as the wonderfully no-frills food and drink.

abandoned Japanese clinic


    • says

      Actually, no. She didn’t have any. No yakitori either, which was also listed above the shop. We could choose from whatever she had in the display cabinet on the counter. It was that or nothing!

      • GenjiG says

        Maybe she has to change her lamp and leaflets, although I would think her regulars know what to expect!

        Did you take anything?

            • says

              A few snacks such as cucumber and miso. Such a wonderful combination. Plus some baked fish, good sized pieces of pork on a stick, and an unusual peas and something I couldn’t catch concoction which was really quite tasty. Certainly far better than it looked. All washed down of course with a good few bottles of beer.

  1. Marc says

    I love little places like this in every country I visit. However it is only in Japan that there seems to be a policy of ‘no non-Japanese’ that seems to follow these places. Regardless, prices look reasonable!

    • says

      Thankfully there was none of that nonsense there. As there isn’t in the vast majority. But yeah, sadly such places do exist…

  2. Willy says

    A good one. Reminds me of the ‘corner store’ where we lived in the hills in Fukushima. It was only ever stocked with a couple packs of cigarettes, 1 or 2 six packs of beer, and maybe, on rare occasions a bag of chips. Run by a 90 year old woman who only provided the really bare necessities for the truly desperate, which I was once or twice! And you had to yell really loud to get her out to the shop… Evidently the whole area was teaming with all kinds of shops before the supermarkets moved in and usurped their business. Kinda sad. Times change.

    • says

      It is. But like you say, for better or worse, times change.

      It amazes me how many such places still in exist in Tokyo too. Especially in the less busy shotengai. I guess they own the buildings, and so don’t pay rent or anything, but still…

  3. Mattefan says

    I already said that but i totally love this kind of places.
    That’s my favourite kind of Japan.
    Can’ta wait to be there again…hope it will happen in 2013.

    • says

      Yeah, a side of the country that gets very little coverage, but one that is arguably more ‘Japanese’ than most of the stuff that does.

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