Japanese Izakaya is “the place for relaxation and refreshment for public” which is comparable to café in the Paris, pub in the England, and also bar in Italy. Various kinds of alcohol and food that is good portion meal with moderate price served in Izakaya would be one of the original Japanese cuisine.
Anyone may have seen Izakaya “Kagaya” in downtown near Tokyo. Owner has to be trained in one of Kagaya and approved to hold Kagaya’s entrance curtain which is traditional franchise style called Norenwake. There are 50 branches. Every “Kagaya” recommends roasted giblet skewers and Motsu-Nikomi (stewed giblets) and also Hoppy!
The head of “Kagaya” is the Hongo-honten which has been at the location for over thirty years. Going through indigo blue curtain, lively and energized “the Izakaya” atmosphere is filled. There are tables, counter seating and Zashiki to full fill single customer to large group.
You must have Hoppy set when you visit. You can order both black and white. You can enjoy them separately and also half and half. Kinmiya-shochu is known as “Naka” which means blending liquor with Hoppy and many regular visitors keep their bottle of it.
Various dishes are on the menu and the manager’s recommendation is Sashimi (sliced raw fish). Every branch has different menu other than Motsu-yaki and Motsu-nikomi. Hongo-honten proudly recommends Sashimi. Tuna, Yellowtail and Japanese Butterfish, every slice is thick.
Please try standard menu, both Motsu-Yaki and Motsu-Nikomi. Among the Motsu-yaki, Stamina-Yaki which is Harami(diaphragm) cooked with spicy and sweet sauce is popular. Miso flavored Motsu-nikomi is full of soft giblets. This has a simple taste but you can taste the rich flavor.
Hoppy and Kagaya is hard to think separately, and there are full of local sake on the menu such as Izumogassan, Kakurei, Kagatobi and Dassai which is very popular to the tourist from abroad. Kagaya has its original sake “Kagaya” bottled by the brewer in Ishikawa prefecture. It is clear-cut taste and liked by foreign tourist trying sake for the first time.
Good to drink, eat and talk with full of joy is always at the “Kagaya.” Because of that many people choose to visit “Kagaya.” The old fashion Izakaya has a magic to attract people.
Mar 2017 Text: Ryoko Kuraishi Photo: Yasuo Yamaguchi