Nomihodai & Tomorrow’s Hangover Cure

In the land of flat rate drinking plans booze flows freely.

Nomihodai, literally: all-you-can-drink, is a term used to describe fixed price drinking courses offered at many bars and restaurants. Allowing customers unlimited drinking for set time, usually 90 mins to 2 hours, this might be just the place for you thirsty folk. Unlimited alcohol!? Sounds like there should be a catch right? Expensive? Bad quality? Time limit and a fixed price, is it worth it? If you’re thinking it ‘sounds too good to be true’, hopefully the info below will clear up whether or not nomihodai is the right choice for you.

Things to keep in mind when deciding to nomihodai:

  • There are many types of nomihodai options. While some offer unlimited drinks of any sort, others have limits such as beer only, or beer and highballs, etc.
  • Most though not all restaurants offering a nomihodai service also require some type of minimum food purchase.
  • Complex cocktails are usually not available in this course.
  • Some restaurants require that all members in the party join the nomihodai. Keep this in mind if you have some non-drinkers in your group.
  • Shops that offer nomihodai are typically slammed on Friday and Saturday nights. This often means your drinks may not make it to the table as quickly as you might like. That being said, it’s not really the restaurant’s goal to have customers slamming back a night’s worth of drinking in just 2 hours.
  • Is it worth it? This all depends on how much you drink and the price of the nomihodai course. With most restaurants course in the ¥3000 range and single drinks around ¥600 its a simple matter of math.
  • Most shops try to stop customers from ordering more than one drink at once. Although I have never seen this really enforced.

And then there’s the next day… aka helloooo hangover

If you’ve read above and decided the nomihodai option is worth it, the next question you might have to ask yourself is whether or not more than likely hangover is…

Although I’d say I mostly manage my nomihodai with self-control and self-awareness, regardless of my state the night of, I more often than not have to deal with inevitable hangover the next day. So after a night of unlimited drinking how does one manage the hangover monster once it’s arrived?

Luckily? unluckily? I have had plenty of experience with the second day spins and have developed my own set of go-to hangover remedies. But at last night’s nomihodai dinner, I thought it’d be interesting to see what other people in Osaka turned to for their hangover cures.

Here’s what they had to say:

The lovely French trio I was with unanimously agreed that ramen was the only way to go. Insisting that, ‘you have to eat in the morning before you go to work – not after.’ And to drink, ‘water and lots of it.’ My friend from Australia, who I know is no stranger to hangovers, said ‘combini sandwiches and 2 liters of Aquarius’ was the only way forward for her. She also taught me the word tac-yak. Best to get an Australian to explain this one to you. Our South African friend said ‘you just have to deal with it and sleep if possible.’ The Japanese members of our group all thought miso soup was the best medicine, while our New Yorker said he relied on the combo of ‘takoyaki, ramen and lukewarm water to survive the next day.’ Our Chinese friend turns to Japanese tea and her Dutch boyfriend chimed in that ‘it’s best just not to drink too much in the first place.’ In fairness, he did appear to be the most sensible one among us. And then there is me, who always insists that the only way to rid yourself of a hangover is a little mukae-zake (hair of the dog). So kanpai! And have a great weekend!

Do you have any good hangover cures that we didn’t mention here? Please let us know! We would love to hear from you!