Updated: November 07, 2018
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Za Watami & Watami: Nice, Cheap, Authentic Izakaya Chain

In Japan, Za Watami and Watami are two of the most famous izakaya brands. With an awesome ambiance and decent food and drinks at a pretty cheap price, the two traditional taverns are hard to beat.

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Za Watami / Watami 坐和民 / 和民

Za Watami and Watami are two Izakaya chains managed by the same company that are extremely popular in Japan. The theme of the two chain is "Wa" (和) which means Japanese-style, which translates into an interior decor that has lanterns, a lot of wood, Japanese-style low tables, sliding doors, and an overall traditional layout.
The two chains are quite similar. The essential difference is that Za Watami locations tend to have more private rooms whereas Watami tends to have a more open concept. Pictured above is an open area where it tends to get a bit rowdy late in the evening.
Individual rooms such as this one are ideal for an evening spent in small groups in a more private setting. You can still hear the noise that comes from outside the room but these are comparatively quieter places.

As you can see, the two Watami chains have a really nice authentic izakaya atmosphere, and that's probably a key to their massive success. On top of that, they have a menu that is really affordable, and on the traditional side two. The combination of a great atmosphere and cheap, good Japaense-style foods is hard to beat. Here is the typical menu of Za Watami and Watami.

Food And Drinks


You can get a sashimi plate with four different kinds of seafood for ¥990.
This is an interesting item to order! It's a full squid lightly grilled. Season it with some lemon for the perfect light and healthy side dish. It's cheap too. Just ¥490.

Grilled Fish

Grilled fish is a must at a Japanese-style izakaya.
At just ¥690 for a very large piece of "hokke", a wind of white fish, this item is one of the most popular on the menu. Just order one piece and you'll have enough to share within a small group.

Yakitori (grilled chicken)

Yakitori, or grilled pieces of chicken on a skewer, is a type of food that is quite representative of the Japanese izakaya. It's never a bad idea to get an order of this too. They only use domestic poultry too, a sure sign the quality is not bad. An assortment of 5 is ¥690.

Deep-Fried Foods

A certain amount of fried foods is pretty much a must-order at any izakaya. The deep-fried chicken karaage is ¥490.
If you want to have something irresistibly rich and satisfying, you might want to try the potatoes and tomato meat sauce with cheese. They have a few of these kinds of western-style foods. These fries are ¥390.


They have a huge drink selection. The beer served here is the excellent Suntory Premium. Other options include High ball drinks, whiskeys, sours, tea and liquor mixes, cocktails, fruit-based alcohols, wines, shochu (Japanese spirits), etc.


To finish off on a sweet note, they have a couple of desserts, for the most part, ice cream-based. They are around ¥300.
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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