After Hours: Kichinto: A great bar outside Yokota's curfew zone
FUSSA, Japan — This small town just outside Yokota Air Base got a little piece of Okinawa in 2003 with the opening of Kichinto, a famous bar and restaurant chain from the island to the south.
If you’re a Yokota resident walking to or from Fussa train station, Kichinto is hard to miss. But there’s no reason to hurry back to base in this part of town: Kichinto is safely on the outside of the nightly 1 a.m.–6 a.m., three-block curfew area for nearby “Bar Row.”
There’s certainly more to its appeal, however.
Kichinto, which means “meticulously or carefully arranged” in Japanese, offers up an array of artistic-looking dishes in izakaya style, even if the food might not appeal to every taste. But that won’t stop anyone from draining their fill of great beer and cocktails, all reasonably priced.
Tables and booths make Kichinto an ideal setting for large groups, but the bar also is a great hangout. And the atmosphere is lively but conducive to quality bar conversation.
After being seated, you’re greeted with a free salad.
From there, the menu features lots of unusual seafood dishes such as boiled octopus with wasabi and grated radish; avocado and octopus; and fried shrimp with hot cod ovary and tartar sauce.
“Fear Factor” enthusiasts on Yokota, and I know you’re out there, can sample the yam and natto fries.
Of course, Kichinto also features more traditional American munchies like spicy and fried chicken, spring rolls, french fries, sausages and salads.
If you’re into a wilder bar scene, this might not be your best bet. But why not stop in for a few beers and grab some food after work? And on the weekend, make Kichinto your launching point on the way to Fussa Station for a night down in Tokyo or Roppongi.
It’ll be well worth the while.
See previous After Hours reviews here.
Drink prices: Full bar includes American brands and lots of liquors and sake from Okinawa. All mixed drinks drinks are 500 yen at the standing bar, as advertised out front. Shochu starts at 390 but most other beers and well drinks go for 550.
Cover charge: none
Hours: 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week. An upstairs area is set aside for reservations from 3 p.m. to midnight.
Food: All kinds of izakaya-style selections fresh and handmade, with menu available in English. Prices range from 300 yen for appetizers to 1,000 yen for a large spaghetti dish. Okinawa noodles go for 680, and they’ve got kimchi for 300 yen.
Entertainment: Nothing live, but light jazz music playing overhead adds to the place’s ambiance.
Clientele: Mostly a Japanese crowd from their early 20s to 40-something. Warmer weather draws more Americans from nearby Yokota Air Base.
Location: Go straight out Fussa Gate, cross Highway 16 and continue past “Bar Row” on the right. At the next traffic light, when you spot the second-floor, American-style barbershop, go right. Kichinto is the only bar/restaurant on the left just before the pachinko parlor and Fussa city square. If you reach Fussa train station, you’ve gone too far. Pay parking is available across the street.
Web site: none