A Tokyo bar, its owners and their cat

Just like so many other small bars/eateries in Japan, the lantern outside indicates the basic but almost always decent food that awaits within — not to mention the refreshing taste of modestly-priced and equally unpretentious alcohol.

small Japanese bar and restaurant

And this one, specialising in yakitori, has been around since 1985, with its 73-year-old owner spending most of his many working hours here, patiently grilling skewered chicken.

small Japanese bar and restaurant

While his wife of 43 years happily waits on.

small Japanese bar and restaurant

And the cat, not so happily, just watches.

small Japanese bar and restaurant


    • says

      Yes, I am. Something I really do appreciate. A mate and I are currently working our way down the local line near us both, stopping at a different station each time and seeing what we can find. The dirtier and older the places are, the more inclined we are to go in. Been great fun each and every time.

  1. LAObserver says

    I tried to find a good yakitori restaurant in Tokyo when I was there in April. Someone had said try the Rappongi district. Sadly I did find some but it was not all I had expected. Too bad – – yakitori done well is exceptionally good. [With or without a cat watching.]

    • says

      Local areas are generally much better. Roppongi is a very different place. You’ll find plenty of clubs and foreigners there. Not to mention fancy boutiques and the like. Old and ramshackle little eateries on the other hand aren’t quite so common…

  2. Agent Smith says

    My buddy and I were in TKO a few years ago for a fantastic trip. We spent a night in the “Golden Gai” area. So many small places to have a drink, but also full of locals and easier to navigate if you are with a local. Luckily, we were. Best thing about that city is the diverse experiences one can have, from one end of the spectrum to the other. We will return….too much we missed not to.

    • says

      Yes, couldn’t agree more. There really is something for anyone. Even small pockets of the city would take many lifetimes to fully explore, let alone the whole metropolis itself.

      Golden Gai is quite a place eh? Can get very expensive though if you want to move about a bit.

  3. Squidpuppy says

    Smart cat. Hanging out at a yakitori shop. I think it’s look is saying: this place is mine – get out.

  4. Colm says

    You’d never get away with having a cat in a Chinese restaurant in the British Isles. Aside from health and safety, everyone would claim it was on the menu!

    I think it’s also worth noting that Japan manages to support tiny 1 or 2 person businesses, a fact that British and Irish governments seem unable to grasp. Instead they seem to go out of their way to make small businesses uneconomical.

    Of course, it’s also worth noting that your photos are, as ever, wonderful. :-)

    • Colm says

      By the way, I know the above isn’t a Chinese restaurant. It’s just a reflection of the urban myth surrounding Chinese restaurants in particular on this side of the pond.

      • says

        Thank you!

        Yes, for all its strict adherence to rules, Japan is surprisingly relaxed in many ways. Certainly in relation to the food trade anyway.

        And yeah, such places are everywhere in Tokyo. Plus not only do they provide work, a service example, they add so much to the city atmosphere/daily experience. There’s a lot to be learned from it for sure.

  5. Rosen Nedyalkov says

    This place looks gorgeous!
    As I am in Tokyo for practising my Japanese at the moment would you mind to tell me where I can find this yakitori restaurant? Or at least the district where it is?

    • says

      No problem. It’s in Kodaira, near Hitotsubashi-Gakuen Station. Can’t remember the exact location, but it’s on the main street. It’s not a big area, so sure you’ll find it.

      • Stephan says

        I’ve just Google Streetviewed most of the area, but cannot really find this particular store. Could you please :) try to remember? I’m i.e. really not sure, which of there streetes might be the main street :(

        Could you please give me a head up? Trying to surprise my wife, since she loves cats AND yakitori.

  6. shively says

    This is a stereotypical comment but from what I’ve seen both in these pictures and from my girlfriends family , Japanese latterly treat their cats like family . My girlfriends family had a spot on the table reserved for the cat on thanks giving, they also treat the cat like a child , drying him off when he comes in from outside, babying him etc..

    One thing I love about these pictures is the cat sitting on the table as though he worked there or was a customer

    • says

      Yes, the cat photographed was treated incredibly well. The owner’s wife in particulate absolutely adored it. How spoilt it was though I don’t know. But I have seen dogs treated like you mentioned. Lots of them…

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