Recommended Places to Drink Sake in Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan's capital, has plenty of sake from around the country. What sake is available depends on the place, so you'll be able to tell the bar's preferences. Here are 5 places where you can enjoy sake in a variety of ways in Tokyo.
Wasakaba Kuri only offers sake made in Japan. They have anywhere from 50 to 100 kinds of liquors available regularly, but due to their fussiness over quality, they only receive one bottle at a time. Even if you don't know brands, you can tell a staff member your preferred taste and fragrance such as "dry" or "sweet," and "fruity" or "like grain," and they will pick the perfect sake for you. There are 4 types of glasses and the price starts at a small glass for 300 JPY (incl. tax). You can enjoy different kinds of rare sake from around the country here.
KURAND SAKE MARKET is a self-serve place where customers grab the sake they want from the fridge and pour themselves as much as they want. It costs 3,000 JPY (excl. tax) and there's no time limit. There are over 100 types of sake in the fridge from small breweries from around the country, so it's perfect for people that want to drink and compare different types of sake. They also sell snacks, but bringing your own food snacks is permitted. You can leave to get food and come back or receive delivery from nearby restaurants.
Nurukan Sato is a shop that sits in a quiet alley in bustling Roppongi. A few people can sit at the counter, but if you're in a group that has up to 16 people they can prepare a traditional Japanese-style private room for you. The popular choice is the Nihonshu Choi Nomi (starting at 500 JPY (incl. tax)) plan, which allows you to taste a small amount of some of their sake from around the country, of which they offer more than 120 kinds. The bar name, "nurukan," means warm sake. The taste of sake changes depending on the temperature, from hot, to body temperature, to lukewarm, to cold, so please taste the differences.
"Jizake" means local sake. Nozaki Saketen is a popular bar in the salaryman neighborhood of Shinbashi where you can enjoy jizake from all around the country. They have two kinds of glasses, a 126ml glass and a 360ml type of sake bottle called a tokkuri. The price changes depending on the brand of the sake, but one glass can range from below 500 JPY to around 2,000 JPY. It's always packed so customers can only be in there for 2 hours. Prior reservations are recommended.
Minatoichiya's Nihonbashi branch is about a 3 minute walk away from Tokyo Station, and is a Japanese dining izakaya that mostly offers seafood. The restaurant's distinguishing characteristic is that they have various sizes of private rooms available. Customers can leisurely enjoy food and drink in completely private spaces. The recommended choice is the Enkai Course (starting at 3,456 JPY (incl. tax)) that includes an all-you-can-drink for 2 hours with over 50 kinds of drink options. This izakaya offers famous brands as well as brands that are difficult to get.
There are a huge number of sake brands, and all of them have their own deep differences. Why not head to a bar and order small glasses of a variety of them?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.