Japanese Drinking Culture: Standing Bars, Kampai Etiquette, & Retro Drinks in Tokyo

Go bar-hopping with local guides in Japan:

Shizuka and Max chat about Japanese drinking culture while eating and drinking at izakayas (Japanese gastropubs) in Ueno and Asakusa.

First up is a “tachinomiya” (standing bar) in Ueno called Motsuyaki Otonba, which specializes in “horumon” (offal) dishes. Tachinomiya bars are great to stop by for a quick bite and a drink or two. Here, they try heart, beef tongue, liver, and “motsu nikomi” (stewed innards) and introduce “torizara” (personal plates used when sharing food among groups) and toasting etiquette.

Next, they visit Hoppy Dori (Hoppy Street) in Asakusa, Tokyo, and try the local beverage the area is named after. Hoppy is a beer substitute made from hops, with very low alcohol content (around 0.8%) and is often mixed with shochu (a Japanese distilled alcohol) to make it stronger. It was popularized after WWII at a time when beer was not affordable and Hoppy was more accessible. Today it’s still enjoyed as a retro beverage.

Featured foods/drinks:
1 – Heart skewer
2 – Beef tongue skewer
3 – Liver skewer
4 – Motsu nikomi
5 – White Hoppy
6 – Black Hoppy
7 – Otoshi (compulsory appetizer)
8 – Edamame
9 – Tonpeiyaki

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HOST » Shizuka Anderson
GUEST » Max Capo
DIRECTOR » David Woo
VIDEO EDITOR » Edvin Mulalic
PRODUCER » Serkan Toso
LINE PRODUCER » Rika Hoffman
TRANSLATOR » Rota Hanada

41 Replies to “Japanese Drinking Culture: Standing Bars, Kampai Etiquette, & Retro Drinks in Tokyo”

  1. Johnny Ta

    For a food/drinking type of show this was actually pretty damn good. It's better than most of the shows out there. I enjoyed watching this. Great job and keep up the good work. You just made a new fan.


    I though soju was a Korean liquor,
    I hope these rituals are Mosie suggestions but not strictly practiced because it seems like a pain in the ass to go drinking and have to follow all those rules.

  3. climatixseuche

    I would drink all the beer with her … nothing else, or maybe I just want to have some pints finally again but here at home everything is lockdown shutdown or bankrupt, I miss the good old time before 2020 :/

  4. Brian Ng

    For kampai, when they say "senior", is that supposed to be age or position when you are drinking wiht co-workers? And if you are with a bunch of people you don't know very well, do you play the play who is "senior"? And would they be offended if you say they are "senior" or older? Granted, being older in Japan is different from being older in US.

  5. Veniamin Porkhov

    Topic of this video: "I do not know anything about the culture of alcohol, how it is called, what is made from and what I will drink now – but I will tell you about the culture of alcohol in Japan". And most important = you need to hold the beer with two hands…

  6. TheUnlimitedSmiles

    This is pretty neat content. You should do another video about how billing works specially when in a group and how to 'bar hop' too.

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