Emoji dictionary

🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji

[ee-zuh-kahy-uh lan-tern ih-moh-jee]

What does 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji mean?

The izakaya lantern emoji, 🏮, is designed to look like a red paper lantern that’s typically hung outside an izakaya, a Japanese bar that usually also serves small, mostly fried or grilled dishes. Like a pub, but Japanese. The emoji is used to represent not only such pubs, but Japanese and East Asian culture more generally. 

Related words

🌸 Cherry Blossom emoji, ⚜️ Fleur-de-lis emoji, 🇨🇳 Flag for China, 🍶 Sake Bottle and Cup emoji, 👺 Goblin emoji, Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year emoji

Where does 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji come from?


The Japanese characters izakaya, 居酒屋, mean “to be/exist” (i/居), “alcohol” (zaka/酒), and “shop/seller” (ya/屋). A literal translation of the word could be something like “a shop that has alcohol” or “alcohol stand” (as in “fruit stand”). FYI, zaka/酒 can also be pronounced sake, and is the character for the specific drink, too.

In Japan, izakayas traditionally hang a red paper lantern out in front to mark themselves as bars for interested parties. (Think a Guinness sign outside an Irish pub.) They usually have words painted on them like 居酒屋 (izakaya), 酒 (sake/alcohol), or, you know, the name of the bar.


These lanterns are known as akachochin (赤提灯), which literally translates as “red paper lantern.Izakayas are so closely connected with the red paper lanterns, in fact, that one slang term for these bars is actually akachochin. These lanterns, and their bars, are what the softly lit 🏮 emoji is designed to resemble.


The Unicode Consortium released the izakaya lantern emoji in August 2010 as part of Unicode 6.0, which was the first version of the Unicode standard to support emoji. It’s officially called izakaya lantern emoji but commonly referred to as red paper lantern emoji.

Examples of 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji

Just realized it’s 8/8/18... feel like that’s lucky somehow 🏮
@AstralColt, August, 2018
Maybe one way or another, sky lantern wishes do come true🏮💖
@boce_elsaigh, August, 2018
Wear #yukata and join in the Bon Odori at #Yokohama Minato Mirai!😆👘🏮Anyone is free to participate in this huge event, where visitors will enjoy dancing traditional Bon Odori with locals.✨There are also food stands with tasty #festival food!😋🍴...
@Visit_Kanagawa, August, 2018

Who uses 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji?

You’ll often see the izakaya lantern emoji in the captions of pictures taken at real izakayas.

Since lanterns like the one izakaya lantern emoji represents are common to see at festivals and shrines across Asia (not just in Japan), this emoji also shows up next to pictures of Asian festivals, shrines, and temples. Or pretty much whenever someone sees one—or any lantern, for that matter—in the wild.

・ 🎊🎖🏆👑Congratulations👑🏆🎖🎊 ◌ @sxbxr_69 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Photo select by @mayumi_special_ – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 撮影地→群馬県🇯🇵 location→Gunma prefecture – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Special Group↓↓↓please follow💞 💕 @flower_special_ Flower🌻 @nature_special_ Nature🌲 @special_spot_ Scenery🗻 @special_friend___ community👭💗 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 素晴らしいお写真をシェアして頂きまして ありがとうございます🙇💕 今後ともよろしくお願いしますm(_ _)m – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – ✨Thank you for your continuous support.

A post shared by 夏フェス🌞🌴🌺SummerFes👙👒🍧 (@special_spot_) on

Like the cherry blossom emoji 🌸 and many others, izakaya lantern emoji also gets used for its bright red color. You’ll sometimes find it being used to highlight, reflect, or accentuate something red in a picture, like lipstick or a cute sweater.

The izakaya lantern emoji also gets used to reference Asian and Asian-style things in general. Think Lunar New Year, anime, K-pop, or any situation where you might also see ⛩️ or 👘—this usage isn’t exclusive to Japan references. Be careful, though, not to generalize or conflate Asian cultures with this emoji.

For some, the izakaya lantern is also a way of signaling Asian pride.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of 🏮 Izakaya Lantern emoji that will help our users expand their word mastery.