Glossary of Terms
Here are some helpful words and phrases to know when visiting Itoigawa (and Japan!)
A traditional Japanese bar, at izakaya food is considered just as important as drinks. While many izakaya offer restaurant-like set meals or courses, the most common way to enjoy an izakaya is to order a la carte and share dishes. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, izakaya are a great place to enjoy a variety of different foods! Some izakaya also offer restaurant-style meals and lunch options.
Onsen is the Japanese word for a hot spring. Hot spring baths are incredibly popular in Japan; in fact, many Japanese would not consider a holiday complete without a visit to a local hot spring bath! Many hot spring baths are operated by hotels or ryokan, but offer bathing times for “day visitors” as well. These baths are almost always gender-segregated and you are not allowed to wear clothing or swim gear in the bath. A few onsen offer private baths which are popular with families, couples and people who don’t want to take a bath in front of others.
The otōshi is a small appetizer traditionally served to all customers when seated at an izakaya. It is almost always added to the bill and generally costs between 300 – 500 yen per person. An otōshi functions like a “seating charge” or “cover charge,” only it comes with a free snack! While some izakaya might let you refuse this service, it is generally considered an obligatory part of the izakaya experience.