I know that the traditional Japanese style pubs that serve food as well as drinks are called "居酒屋".

But once a few years ago in Yamagata city, and last night here in Kagoshima city, I ended up in a kind of place where there are many small stalls, not really strong permanent buildings, sharing an area, perhaps sometimes even sharing common walls but I'm not positive on that note. Each stall is basically like an izakaya serving drinks and food with only a small number of seats for customers. Some have an additional one or two tables just outside the stall.

The area could contain a dozen or maybe twenty of these stalls.

Is this whole area referred to as "izakaya" too? Are the individual stalls "izakaya"s? Or is "izakaya" only for the more permanent pubs?

If there not specific terms dedicated to these areas and establishments, how would you normally talk about them in Japanese? I'm interested in words or phrases for both the individual establishments / stalls, and for the area which has a collection of them.

  • 1
    street vendors are 屋台 (やたい)、in a matsuri i think they can be called 屋台店 so if you still can't use 商店街, then 屋台店街 or 屋台の商店街/市場 might work?Once upon a time, after the war, 闇市場 might have been appropriate. There is the remnants of one in Shimokitazawa in Tokyo, which got its name from the original blackmarket (戦後の闇市の名残りの場所): mikkagashi.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2009/05/post-bb1f.html
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 3:34
  • I'll see if I've got a usable photo from last night, but I expect I've only got shots of the food, people, and interior. Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


Those are most commonly called 「[屋台村]{やたいむら}」, followed probably by 「[屋台街]{やたいがい}」, but I recommend that you stick with the former because the latter can also refer to a regular street lined with food stalls.

There is one named 「かごっまふるさと屋台村」 in Kagoshima if that is the one you got drunk at last night.


The word 「[居酒屋]{いざかや}」 cannot be used to refer to the whole area. It can be to refer to each one operating in it.

  • Thanks for this useful answer! I note that neither term is in any of the online resources I've looked at. Would you consider them to be "words" in Japanese or "phrases"? I wonder if any print dictionaries contain entries. They do seem at least a bit idiomatic to me at least. Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:00
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    I would say that those are considered to be words but I could be wrong. The word/phrase 屋台村 is only bout 20 years old. The first 屋台村 was created in Shinjuku, Tokyo around then. I know that because I was living only a few blocks from it back then. It was big news.
    – user4032
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 15:23

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