Wakakozake (ワカコ酒) is a Japanese television show and manga series about a 25-year-old office lady named Murasaki Wakako. She always stops at a bar on the way home from work to have delicious dishes and drinks. Her attitude towards eating and drinking alone is compatible with mine.
When I eat alone, I don’t need to politely ask my companions to have the last piece of my favorite dish, and I get time to focus on what I am eating instead of the people I am dining with. I could even have a random conversation with the person sitting next to me. Instead of loneliness, dining along provides us with a rare chance to be conscious of people and things around us. So, I set out alone to eat at three izakayas from Wakakozake.
Here are 3 izakaya from the Japanese drama, Wakakozake.
Shake Kojima is the first izakaya Wakako visits in Wakakozake appearing in season 1, episode 1. She encounters this izakaya after an exhausting workday. On the way back home, she sees that people exercise or go to the spa to relax, but for her, eating and drinking is the best way to wind down after a day at the office.
If you like salmon, you can’t miss this izakaya, because salmon is the core of their menu. From simple grilled salmon to salmon donburi, I’m sure there is one for you. I ordered the high-quality salmon, which has beautiful stripes and a perfect balance between fat and lean meat. The crispy skin keeps the flesh together and locks all the flavor inside, the light salty flavor will remind you of the Pacific Ocean, and the refreshing lemon slice and mashed white radish will save you from the sweltering summer days. The atmosphere is very chill and the servers are nice, so you will not feel awkward dining there alone.
Address: 1 Chome-3-15, Izumi, Suginami City, Tokyo 168-0063
Hours: Tues-Sat, 17:30-24:00 | Sunday, 15:00-22:30
Hidamariya appears in season 1, episode 4 of Wakakozake. Wakako gets lost on the way back home and her phone also dies, so she goes into this izakaya.
Hidamariya is like a burning sun in the dark night. When you walk into this Izakaya, you will see hundreds of sake labels displayed on the wall. The owner can’t speak English, but he constantly tried to use his phone to communicate with me. (Of course, if you prefer to speak Japanese, you can always practice the dialogue from Basic Japanese Phrases for Dining Out.) They serve a good variety of sashimi and many other cooked dishes. If you are not sure what to order, you can totally trust the owner to decide for you. It is a good place to make some local friends because there are many friendly frequent customers who will be willing to talk with you. In addition, there are many female customers dining there alone, so it is a comfortable place for females to eat and drink by themselves.
Address: 2 Chome-40-10 Yayoicho, Nakano City, Tokyo 164-0013
Hours: Tues-Sun, 17:00-24:00
Update (March 19, 2020): Sakurachika is now closed.
Sakurachika is an izakaya that shows up in season 1, episode 5 of Wakakozake. Wakako gets a message from her dad while she is eating bread for lunch, asking “Are you taking good care of yourself?” She doesn’t know how to reply, so she decides to treat herself to dinner. A man who is the same age as her dad is also dining in this izakaya, talking to the bartender about the communication barrier between his daughter and him, which reminded Wakako of her father.
This izakaya’s interior decoration makes me feel more like I’m dining in a high-end restaurant. I ordered grilled fish chips, which are a little bit sweet and salty. The chips also contain crispy fish bones, which are surprisingly delicious. Make sure to squeeze some lemon juice on them for a citrusy kick. You could also bring a lighter to grill the chips by yourself like the man in the show. They also offer many other dishes that go well with wine and sake, such as barbeque chicken. Plum wine with soda is delightful, and it won’t make you feel guilty. You could also find many other drinks like sake and wine here, so come ready to get tipsy.
Address: 1 Chome-22-2 Shimotakaido, Suginami City, Tokyo 168-0073
Hours: Tues-Sat, 17:30-24:00
I love all three izakayas from Wakakozake that I visited, and I really enjoyed the dishes that are recommended by the TV show. I think it is a good idea to find restaurants from foodie J-dramas and TV shows if you have no idea where to dine and you love watching TV. But of course, reading reviews online is definitely helpful to avoid some duds.