Enjoy Japanese culture through "Nomihodai" at izakaya (Japanese pubs)
There is generally a service at izakaya in Japan that will save you money. You can drink all the Japanese sake, shochu, beer, cocktails and soft drinks you'd like for a fixed price. This is called "Nomihodai."
With Nomihodai, for the specified amount of time customers can order as many drinks as they like for a fixed price. This service isn't often found in most other countries so overseas guests may not be used to this system but you'll see it on the menu at most izakaya in Japan. This service is a unique part of Japanese culture.
At most locations the time limit is 90 or 120 minutes and there is a special Nomihodai drink menu. The items on this menu can be ordered as many times as you'd like so it's also great for tasting a large variety of drinks.
Nomihodai is extremely popular among the locals in the international community of Japan and some order tap beer after tap beer, while others use it to try various types of Japanese sake. We at the editorial department ventured out to test the true value of Nomihodai at an izakaya in Shibuya, Tokyo.
We visited the Gyorogyoro Shibuya Miyamasuzaka. It's a popular Japanese food izakaya with fresh seafood and special local dishes like "Obanzai."
Gyorogyoro offers three types of Nomihodai plans to meet your budget and taste.The standard plan is JPY 1,700 (not including tax) and allows for unlimited bottled beer, shochu, Japanese sake and sour cocktail orders. The next one up is the premium plan for JPY 2,000 (not including tax) which also includes tap beer and makgeolli.
And the most expensive is the platinum plan for JPY 2,500 (not including tax). It might seem a bit pricey but with famous brands of regional Japanese sake and shochu, craft beer, etc. this plan offers a total of about 50 varieties of alcohol drinks.
We opted for the platinum plan and started off by toasting bottled beer.
To complement our drinks we ordered Gyorogyoro's specialty seafood dishes. This special service allows diners the opportunity to load their choice of fresh seafood delivered that day onto a huge plate and also choose the method of preparation including sashimi, sautéed, fried or simmered.
On the day we went the fresh selection included red bream, marbled rockfish, flying fish, black rockfish, barracuda and more. This is a line-up not seen at normal izakaya.
We chose to have the flying fish prepared as sashimi and the marbled rockfish deep-fried. The freshly prepared flying fish presented before us sped up our Nomihodai orders.
The marbled rockfish was, in fact, served deep-fried. The deep-fried taste paired perfectly with the beer and the simple yet savory taste of the white meat also went well with the Japanese sake, inspiring more drink orders.
The charm of Nomihodai is the freedom to drink as many glasses as you'd like of what you want, when you want. The fixed price is easy on the wallet. Before we knew it the table was filled with food and empty bottles and glasses.
On the normal drink menu at Gyorogyoro, tap beer, Japanese sake, etc. go for about JPY 500 or 600. If each person in the party plans to drink more than four or five drinks, Nomihodai will save you money.
This editorial team made sure to drink our money's worth.
There are also a number of izakaya in downtown areas where you can enjoy authentic tastes in downtown areas without going to prestigious and higher-priced fancy Japanese cuisine restaurants. Please consider Japanese food izakayas as one of your choices during travel to Japan.
On your next visit to Japan, feel comfortable trying the affordable Nomihodai, a part of Japanese culture.
【GYOROGYORO SHIBUYAMIYAMASUZAKATEN】 ■Address:Boyfriend id Shibuya shrine Masuzaka 5F, 1-12-1, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Dinner／Monday - Thursday: 16:30 - 23:30 Friday & Day before holiday 16:30 - 5:00 Saturday 14:30 - 23:30 Sunday & Holiday 14:30 - 23:00 ※Year end & New Year holidays(December 31, 2013 - January 1, 2014)
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