Izakaya (居酒屋) are one of Japan’s quintessential experiences. They are places for casual drinking similar to tapas bars, where customers order a variety of small dishes of food that can be shared at the table. If it’s your first trip to Japan or you’ve been here for a lifetime, it’s hard not to enjoy a beer and yarn with friends over some great home-styled dishes and various snacks. The menu at an izakaya is made up of a wide variety of Japanese and sometimes international dishes. Common menu items include sashimi, yakitori, grilled meat and seafood, salads, pickles, fried foods, regional delicacies, hot pot dishes, rice and noodle dishes. Primarily drinking places, izakaya also offer a wide range alcoholic beverages, including beer, sake and shochu.