After our visit to the Senso-ji temple in Asakusa in the rain, we headed over to the neighbouring Hoppy Dori area, which is a couple of narrow streets of small restaurants featuring Izakaya (grilled meats and other Japanese dishes). 

This area is a bit more approachable for foreigners than some of the other small alley dining areas (like the golden gai), because seating spills out onto the road (so there are more than 6-8 seats).

As we wandered the small area, we were beckoned into one small Izakaya by an old woman with a weathered and welcoming character etched on her face. We were soon very happy that we followed her wave in, as it was a charming and delicious night!

I wish I could tell you what the name of this place is, but we couldn’t make it out on the menu or out front. But, it is run by a woman and her mother (the welcomed). They were friendly and fun, and made me feel accomplished in trying out my limited Japanese (oishi = delicious, summimasen; toyru doko = excuse me, where is the toilet; and gochososama = thank you for the feast)! We even got a free tofu appetizer and a plum bean sweet after it was delivered to the restaurant.

I learned from Dave here that “Hoppy Dori” was named after a drink that originated here. The Hoppy drink (beer flavoured) mixed with syochu alcohol to make it stronger). Of course we tried it! Like beer, but less strong.


The food was really wonderful. Starting with grilled chicken yakitori, a fantastic gyoza with the best sauce we’ve ever tasted, and a delicate and full of flavour yaki soba that we just loved.


We felt well taken care of during the entire dinner, and had a great time chatting with the owner, her mother and the other customers (one in particular was an amazing singer using the karaoke machine). We even got bins for our bags so they wouldn’t hit the ground, and a special bin for our umbrellas.


A magical night in Hoppy Dori!

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