Japanese restaurants and izakayas can have some rules that, to someone unfamiliar, may seem odd. These rules and manners of course apply to Utsunomiya as well, and so we’ve created a short list of things that visitors might find most confusing. We of course want you to enjoy your stay in Utsunomiya, and you shouldn’t run into any trouble so long as you’re familiar with these rules!
Otoshi, or tsukidashi as its known in some locations, is a small appetizer that is sometimes served in Izakaya. This is typically something like some edamame (steamed beans) or a small salad. It is often served without you ordering it, and this can lead to some confusion. Additionally, most izakaya do charge for it — though it should never be any significant amount (200-500 yen). It’s just a customary service and isn’t intended to be a ripoff, so just enjoy the snacks while you check the menus!
Many jazz bars or music clubs have what is called a Music Charge. This is, essentially, an entry fee that you’ll pay in addition to whatever food and drink you consume in the venue. Bars and clubs will usually have a Music Charge if there’s a performance happening. While some locations do offer some extra services with their Music Charge (such as one free drink, or a free snack) this isn’t necessarily the norm. Be sure you check the Music Charge of a location before heading there, just to make sure you’re not surprised!