Notable sake lists
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Sake specialists

Zaian - Izakaya: Ikebukuro
The funky basement space and sixties-jazz soundtrack give this cozy little izakaya the relaxed atmosphere of a neighborhood drinking spot. The food menu offers good, solid fare - down-to-earth...
Manaita - Izakaya: Takadanobaba
Manaita is a small, friendly neighborhood izakaya with a very good sake selection. The decor is totally unpretentious, with seating at a slightly cramped counter that's occupied by local customers...
Yoshimoto - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
The "kikizake set," or sake tasting flight, is a great invention - instead of just one kind of sake you get to try three different varieties at the same time, comparing flavors and aromas as you sip...
Galali - Izakaya: Omotesando
This stylish little izakaya offers excellent food, a good sake selection, and an entire menu page devoted to different varieties of salt - 12 of them in all. Charcoal-grilled seafood and vegetables...
Maishin - Izakaya: Shibuya
Maishin is worth knowing about for their serious sake selection and their Sunday hours, a day of the week when many sake specialists are taking a holiday. You'll find lots of limited-edition...
Sake to Sakana - Izakaya: Shibuya
This small, mostly counter-bar shop serves creative cuisine and an interesting sake selection, with an emphasis on the dry, karakuchi end of the scale. (This is the new incarnation of Sakanatei, a...
Yodareya - Izakaya: Shibuya
Concealed beneath a stairway in a nondescript building behind the Shibuya Mark City, this tiny izakaya, specializing in robata-grilled fish, meat, and vegetables, is worth seeking out. They carry up...
Ippo - Izakaya: Ebisu
If it weren't for the illuminated sign advertising "Fish and Sake" in English, you might have trouble finding this second-story hideaway in Ebisu. The interior is modestly appointed with a few small...
Igarashi - Japanese: Ebisu
Seasonal Japanese cuisine plus a special menu of limited-edition sake and wines. Full-course menus are Y6000-8000, or you can order a la carte.
Bakushuan - Beer bar: Ebisu
If you like both craft beer and craft sake, this new (February 2014) branch of Otsuka's legendary Bakushuan beer bar is the place for you. Ten mainly Japanese craft beers are served on tap, and...
Toki no Ma - Izakaya: Ebisu
The impressive sake list includes a number of small-kura limited-edition seasonal sakes; there's also plenty of shochu. The food is also top-notch, with unusual specalties like satsuma-age...
Kiraz - Spanish: Ebisu
It's an inspired idea - matching the distinctive flavors of Spanish tapas with bold, assertive styles of craft sake. The tapas dishes here are perhaps a bit more refined than average, ranging from...
Ibiza - Izakaya: Hiroo
Ibiza calls itself a "fisherman's diner," and this unpretentious neighborhood spot offers a great selection of fresh-caught fish and seafood. Simple home-style recipes rely on the high quality of...
Waniya - Izakaya: Gotanda
An amazing selection of sake and top-rate food in a cozy setting. The sake list changes with the season, and it helps if you know what you're looking for.
Shusaron - Bar: Shinagawa
This small but stylish bar specializes in koshu (vintage sake), and they offer several different tasting sets to guide your explorations. The Y1260 set features three different types of koshu, and...
Kagura - Japanese regional: Akasaka
Kagura is run by the Fukumitsuya sake brewery in Kanazawa, and it showcases their line-up of premium sakes. The food menu focuses on Kaga-ryori - the regional cuisine of Kanazawa. Prix-fixe menus...
Anpuku - Soba/Udon: Toranomon
Novel, fusion-style udon is the specialty here, but what first attracted our attention was the inviting little sake bar standing at the front of the shop. A couple dozen well-chosen craft sakes from...
Ishii - Izakaya: Shimbashi
If you're a sake afficianado you'll be delighted by the stellar selection at this unpretentious little izakaya. Chances are you'll make some interesting discoveries, and perhaps even meet a brewer...
Shutei Kikuhime - Izakaya: Shimbashi
Managed by the famous Kikuhime sake brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture, this izakaya showcases Kikuhime sake and shochu. You can try twenty-one types of Kikuhime sake, plus a few more seasonal specials,...
Kuri - Bar: Shimbashi
Run by the Moto-Azabu liquor shop Kurihara, this is a larger branch of the original Kuri in Ginza, specializing in sake and shochu. For your tasting cnovenience, sake comes in small (60ml) glasses...
Hakobune - Japanese regional: Shimbashi
Charcoal-grilled fish and seafood from the Hokuriku region of northern Honshu are the specialty at this robata-style izakaya. They also stock more than 100 kinds of sake. The food is good, but the...
Kohju - Izakaya: Shimbashi
Good food and an excellent selection of hard-to-find premium sakes make this hidden-away basement spot worth looking for. The ceiling is plastered with sake labels, and customers include serious...
Sake no Ana - Izakaya: Ginza
The excellent sake list (some 130 labels are generally in stock) is supported by a reliable menu of standard izakaya fare - charcoal-grilled meats and fish, yakitori, and sake-friendly nibbles like...
Hakarime - Izakaya: Ginza
Anago eel and warm sake are the specialties at this popular spot. Budget around Y6000-8000 for food and drink. No lunch on Saturdays.
Kuri - Bar: Ginza
Sliding open the door of Kuri feels like unearthing a secret treasure. Hidden on the second floor of a drab building in Ginza, this cozy bar seats a scant twelve, yet boasts a menu featuring over 100...
Musshu Mizuki - Izakaya: Ginza
Among the ranks of craft-sake specialty pubs in Tokyo, Musshu (the name means "sake dream") stands out for its balance of cozy atmosphere, good food, and decent prices. The eclectic food menu is...
Hakobune (Ginza Chuo-dori) - Japanese regional: Ginza
Hearth-grilled seafood fresh from northern Honshu is the specialty at this attractive "slow-food" izakaya. Prix-fixe menus feature several types of grilled fish, sashimi and locally grown chicken...
Nenohi - Japanese: Marunouchi
Premium regional sake (from the Morita brewery south of Nagoya) is the main draw here, along with a food menu featuring grilled chicken, fresh seafood and similar fare. Lunch averages around Y2000,...
Hasegawa Saketen - Bar: Yaesu
There's no sake menu at this small counter-bar, so it can be a little intimidating for sake novices. If you know what you like though you can find some interesting limited-edition sakes here - just...
Daruma - Izakaya: Yaesu
A small, hole-in-the-wall shop in Tokyo Station's underground shopping complex, Daruma boasts a surprisingly large selection of hard-to-find premium sake - 80 kinds in all - including multiple...
Yamachan - Bar: Yotsuya 3-chome
A very casual, all-you-can-drink premium sake bar, Yamachan combines the best aspects of an industry sake-tasting event (lots of varieties freely available, at a reasonable all-inclusive price) and a...
Higasa Amagasa - Izakaya: Yotsuya 3-chome
Craft sake from small, often obscure, breweries in Nagano Prefecture and elsewhere is the focus at this popular sake specialty bar. Servings are in small-size glasses and sharing is encouraged, so...
Asama - Izakaya: Yotsuya 3-chome
The sign outside this old-school sake pub entices with the promise of jizake - local sake - and makes good on that offer. On Friday nights, the crowd consists mainly of beer-drinking salarymen, but...
All That Jazz - Izakaya: Yotsuya 3-chome
Nearly thirty well-chosen craft sake from relatively obscure small breweries are on offer at this cozy neighborhood drinking spot. There are also sake-friendly nibbles like grilled dried fish and...
Ringo no Hana - Japanese regional: Yotsuya 3-chome
Aomori Prefecture in Northern Japan produces some very nice sake, and Ringo no Hana is a good place to try it out. Some twenty different types of local craft sake are served either in ichi-go flasks...
Katakura - Izakaya: Ichigaya
This charming, traditionally appointed izakaya near Ichigaya station offers an enormous selection of craft sake, shochu, and Okinawan awamori. The sake list includes a dozen or so specials of the...
Seigetsu - Izakaya: Kagurazaka
Unlike many sake-connoisseur pubs, the food here stands on its own, and would make Seigetsu worth a visit even if they only served tea. The charcoal-grilled chicken is especially outstanding, and...
Jusanya - Yakitori: Ogawamachi
Jusanya is a small neighborhood yakitoriya with above-average chicken and an unusual sake selection. The sake list isn't huge, but it's deeper than usual, with two or three varieties of some small...
Surugaya Kahei - Izakaya: Akihabara
There's a nice selection of some three dozen craft sake to explore at this stylish little bar, with an unusual fish and seafood-centered food menu to accompany your drinks. It's run by a...
Odako - Oden: Ueno
Top-quality Kansai-style oden - not only does Ohdako have some of the most delicious oden in Tokyo, they have the good sense to serve with it some of the finest sakes available.
Kushikoma - Izakaya: Otsuka
The specialized sake selection at this small neighborhood izakaya is beyond reproach, while the food menu is notable for its sake-infused dishes such as ginjo-steamed chicken with apricots and wasabi...
Bakushuan - Beer bar: Otsuka
Although it looks like an old-fashioned izakaya inside, Bakushuan serves a modern selection of ten Japanese and US craft beers on tap in addition to its very respectable sake list. The food menu is...
Souten (Minami-guchi) - Yakitori: Otsuka
Tokyo has no shortage of good yakitori shops, but Souten really stands out from the the crowd thanks to the quality of both their chicken and their craft sake. The entrance sports an extra-large...
Ajisen - Izakaya: Tsukishima
A tiny, legendary sake pub with an unusual selection, including many rare koshu (aged sakes). There's also a big list of shochu made from sugar cane. Food highlights include the anago dishes and...
Omasa-komasa - Izakaya: Higashi-Nakano
The extensive sake collection here includes a good range of Juyondai, including some rare bottles. The master is quite exacting in his recommendations, so be prepared to be quizzed about your tastes...
Kushibeh - Yakitori: Koenji
The entryway is plastered with sake labels (usually a good sign), and the sake selection is from all over Japan, with well-chosen seasonal brews that change every month. The yakitori is outstanding,...
Sasagin - Japanese: Yoyogi-Uehara
Once known for their amazing sake selection, excellent food, and good prices, Sasagin still offers an amazing sake selection. There's some decent food too, but the menu is hit-and-miss, as is the...
Tenmamichi - Kushiage: Shimo-Kitazawa
In addition to the typical selection of sashimi, grilled fish and other izakaya fare, Tenmamichi also offers a nice variety of kushiage (deep-fried skewers of seafood, vegetables and meats) and oden...
Tsukushi no Ko - Izakaya: Ikejiri-Ohashi
An astonishing selection of sake, with a full menu page of new, limited-edition arrivals every week. The food tends towards simple, country-style fare, and the atmosphere is very down-home - it's a...
Akaoni - Izakaya: Sangenjaya
One of Tokyo's premier sake pubs, with around 100 varieties at any given time. You can order a sashimi platter ahead of time, when you make your reservation, to get a better selection of fish. No...

Good sake lists

Himonoya - Izakaya: Takadanobaba
This cozy izakaya specializes in himono (grilled dried fish), with a big menu of different varieties from around Japan. There's also plenty of good regional sake. Budget around Y2-3000 per person.
Ebisu - Izakaya: Takadanobaba
A friendly izakaya offering a decent selection of reasonably priced craft sake to go with your food. The specialty of the house if Hakata-style motsu-nabe (organ-meat stew), but you'll also find...
Cocoro Musubi - Izakaya: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
Sake is the star at this friendly little izakaya, with a smallish menu of charcoal-grilled seafood, meat and vegetables designed to go well with your drinks. Budget around Y6000 in the evening for...
Shousuke Shinjuku Sono - Yakitori: Shinjuku
Excellent grilled chicken, sushi and much more in this glitzy, high-rise branch of the popular Shinjuku yakitori restaurant. There's a good selection of premium sake to go with your food; dinner...
Donjaca (Suehiro-dori) - Izakaya: Shinjuku
Superlative izakaya-style fare in a lively, noisy setting. They have an impressive and ever-changing selection of jizake (regional sake), plus good sashimi and grilled fish. Intriguing...
Shousuke - Yakitori: Shinjuku
Shousuke is a spacious, two-story affair - downstairs there's a big sushi counter, and upstairs are several semi-private booths for two, four or more, separated by bamboo blinds for privacy. The...
Dora - Izakaya: Shinjuku
This basement branch of the Donjaca chain offers a wide menu of izakaya-style fare and Japanese sake. The Japanese dishes are much better than their multi-cultural experiments.
Donjaca (honten) - Izakaya: Shinjuku
Inexpensive jizake (regional sake) and good grilled fish. Seating can get a little cramped during peak hours, so check out the much larger Suehiro-dori branch just around the corner. No...
Moto - Bar: Shinjuku
Nihonshu Stand Moto is a very informal bar that specializes in nihonshu, in this case quite a good selection of it at reasonable prices. The food menu is more extensive than you'd expect, dominated...
Himonoya - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
One of the few late-night spots on the west side of Shinjuku station, this budget izakaya offers a good selection of sake and a wide range of food, including many varieties of grilled himono (dried...
Kaasan Shinjuku ekimae - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
Who can resist a restaurant called "Mom's", especially when the kitchen and waitress staff is a squadron of fifty-ish, motherly types who look like they'd be disappointed in you for not finishing...
Donjaca (Nishiguchi-ten) - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
Imaginative pub-style Japanese food and regional sake at great prices.
Yuian - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
Gorgeous modern stone/wood/tatami/glass dining rooms (designed by Yanagiya Manabu), floor-to-ceiling windows, and a world-class view. The original Japanese menu is complemented by the very good sake...
Sangendou - Izakaya: Nishi-Shinjuku
Unlike some skyscraper restaurants, this place has the energy and atmosphere of a down-to-earth izakaya. The food menu is impressively diverse, including soba noodles, kushiyaki (both yakitori and...
Ikiba - Bar: Harajuku
An experimental venture from the trendy folks who run the Aoyama Farmers Market, this cafe-bar complex has several distinct zones - two separate bars, lots of outdoor seating in the yard, a tiny...
Hasegawa Saketen - Liquor shop: Harajuku
A very well-stocked sake shop, plus a small stand-up bar where you can try samples in small 50ml tasting sizes. Usually there are around ten sakes open for tasting, priced Y200-400. There's also a...
Kazusaya Shinkichi - Izakaya: Jingumae 2-chome
Inexpensive sashimi and other fish dishes, offering good quality for the price. There's an assortment of premium sake brands as well as shochu to drink. (Formerly called Higashi-no-17.) Cash only.
Unosato - Izakaya: Shibuya
Unosato was a pioneering sake specialty pub that's been here for decades, although nowadays their list looks fairly dated - decent-enough regional brands that you'll find at a hundred other izakaya,...
Gyossantei - Kyushu: Shibuya
Gyossantei is a great place to sample the regional cooking of Miyazaki Prefecture, along with good sake from around the country. The dining space is comfortable and informal, and large windows on...
Himonoya - Izakaya: Shibuya
Good-value grilled fish, snacks and sake in this lively late-night drinking spot. The specialty is himono (grilled dried fish) from around Japan. Budget around Y2000-3000 per person. There's often...
Buchi - Izakaya: Shibuya
This is the original gourmet stand bar that started the trend - they serve premium sake in attractive one-cup containers along with a huge menu of well-prepared food, all at reasonable prices. ...
Nakamura - Izakaya: Shibuya
Occupying the second floor of a newish office building, Nakamura is a very tastefully appointed modern izakaya, with sophisticated lighting and sleek furnishings. A full crew of chefs work in the...
Buri - Bar: Ebisu
This stand-up bar specializes in one-cup sake from around the country; the selection perhaps isn't as exciting as a regular sake bar, but the atmosphere is convivial and the shop makes a good first...
Tetsugen - Izakaya: Ebisu
The wide menu here covers a lot of ground, but particularly notable are the top-quality meat dishes featuring Hokkaido lamb, game birds and gourmet pork. The cozy dining room has mostly counter...
Konbuya - Oden: Nishi-Azabu
Although it's best known in its convenience-store and yatai manifestations, oden can be a cuisine of great subtlety and refinement, and Konbuya in Nishi-Azabu is an excellent place to investigate the...
Himonoya (Meguro east side) - Izakaya: Meguro
A relaxed late-night izakaya with good food and drink. One of the specialties is himono, various types of dried fish that are served grilled. Budget around Y2000-3000 for food and drink.
Wattaribozu - Japanese regional: Gotanda
Akita Prefecture is famous for its excellent sake, but its regional cuisine isn't as widely known. Wattaribozu, a cozy little basement izakaya near Gotanda Station, is a great place to explore both...
Kaba - Izakaya: Hamamatsucho
With its corrugated metal facade, utilitarian stools, colorful banners and noisily shouted greetings, Kaba strives for a down-home feel and is probably the most boisterous spot in the Hamasite...
Fukumitsuya - Liquor shop: Roppongi
Hidden away in the back of this well-appointed shop is a six-seat bar area where you can drop in for a quick glass of sake. The shop is run by the Fukumitsuya Brewery in Kanagawa, and besides...
Zanmai - Yakitori: Akasaka
Very good yakitori and game-bird cuisine along with a respectable sake list. Budget around Y7000 for dinner, Y1000 for lunch.
Takewaka - Izakaya: Akasaka
Takewaka offers good traditional Japanese food in small dishes at reasonable prices. Smaller sake serving sizes are also available - 120 ml instead of 180 ml - with correspondingly lower prices,...
Sake Bistro W - Izakaya: Toranomon
A stylish izakaya-slash-dining bar serving modern Tokyo cuisine - a mix of Italian, Spanish and Japanese regional dishes made from premium ingredients. There's an excellent sake list that rotates...
Sake Plaza - Retail: Uchisaiwaicho
Although the atmosphere at this sake-industry information center is rather utilitarian, they do offer sake tastings during the day (Y300 per tasting) along with occasional special events. And of...
Nozaki - Izakaya: Shimbashi
Fine food and an excellent sake selection at this very unpretentious after-work izakaya. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink.
Shinshu Osake Mura - Bar: Shimbashi
People don't come to Shinshu Osake Mura for the atmosphere, or the music (there isn't any). There aren't even any chairs. The reason to visit this hole-in-the-wall, standing-only sake bar, located...
Kengyo - Bar: Ginza
Run by a liquor retail shop, this stand-up bar offers an impressive selection of sake, inexpensive small plates of food and jazz on the sound system. The attached liquor store is open from 10am.
Takara - Japanese: Marunouchi
A joint venture between Mushu sake pub and several sake companies, Takara serves both Japanese food and Spanish tapas, plus sake, awamori, shochu, excellent Japanese microbrew beer (Baird's), and...
Akita Pure Rice Sake Bar - Yakitori: Yaesu
This yakitori shop specializes in sake from Akita Prefecture. Budget around Y3000 in the evening for some skewers and sake. Located inside Honke Abeya restaurant, which is part of the second-floor...
Yamagata Sakanaichi - Japanese regional: Yaesu
Regional cuisine from Yamagata Prefecture is served here, along with Yamagata's most famous product - over 100 kinds of local sake. Budget around Y2100 for food in the evening, Y1000 at lunchtime. ...
Dojo - Yakitori: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa
Great yakitori, a few well-selected sakes, and reasonable prices at this neighborhood yakitoriya. No English menu.
Waigai - Izakaya: Yotsuya 3-chome
Good craft sake and solid Japanese izakaya fare are the draws at this elegant but casual dining bar. The food menu features charcoal-grilled beef and chicken, along with small snacks especially...
Dodo - Yakitori: Yotsuya 3-chome
Memorable charcoal-grilled yakitori for Y4,000 to Y8,000 per person (with drinks). They've got an interesting sake list, including multiple variations from Kubota and other small brewers.
Himonoya - Izakaya: Yotsuya 3-chome
There's a good selection of sake to go with your grilled himono (dried fish) and other izakaya fare, all at quite reasonable prices. Lunch is served until 4pm.
Yuzen - Izakaya: Akebonobashi
This friendly neighborhood drinking spot serves up creative izakaya fare prepared from fresh, very seasonal ingredients. In fact the staff will often bring out a platter showing off produce from the...
Abuzo - Izakaya: Akebonobashi
A cozy neighborhood izakaya, Abuzo specializes in charcoal-grilled beef, pork, chicken and ocean trout, with a decent sake list alongside. The white chicken livers, fresh every day, are a...
Kurachan - Izakaya: Akebonobashi
A quiet, extremely unpretentious neighborhood drinking spot, Kurachan sports a classic old-school izakaya decor and serves an interesting selection of craft sake along with excellent grilled chicken....
Wagokoro - Izakaya: Yotsuya
Forty brands of craft sake, all priced at a reasonable Y800 per ichigo flask, are offered at this small neighborhood sake specialist. The supporting food menu is quite reliable, with lots of...
Fuku no Hana - Japanese regional: Yotsuya
Regional cuisine, local sake and shochu from Yamaguchi Prefecture are served at this friendly after-work izakaya. The menu features premium-quality heirloom-breed chicken, Takamori beef, locally...
Suzuden - Liquor shop: Yotsuya
A well-stocked sake specialty store; don't miss the refrigerated rooms down in the basement. There's also a stand-up bar in back with around a dozen sake by the glass along with simple, inexpensive...
Sanjuro - Izakaya: Awajicho
We were intrigued by the menu categories at this after-work izakaya - charcoal-grilled meats, charcoal-grilled small fish and charcoal-grilled big fish - all of them prepared over top-grade bincho...
Ikoshi - Izakaya: Sugamo
Great sake, from a list that changes every week, at this local, hole-in-the-wall drinking spot. You'll find bottles from small breweries that are seldom seen in retail shops, and the staff are ready...
White Fox, The - International: Oji
Chef Trevor Blyth, a veteran of several top-tier restaurants in France and the UK, has opened an unusual restaurant in Oji (6 stops north of Iidabashi on the Namboku line). Aiming to provide...
Maharani - Izakaya: Ariake
An odd combination of Indian food (tandoori and curries) and standard izakaya fare (yakitori, etc.), which you can wash down with your choice of Indian beer or nicely chosen regional sakes.
Toneri - Izakaya: Kichijoji
Seasonal izakaya fare and gourmet oden, plus very impressive lists of shochu and sake.
Hasegawa Saketen - Liquor shop: Futago-tamagawa
Located inside the Tokyu Foodshow food hall, this specialty liquor shop offers an excellent selection of craft sake as well as beautifully designed servingware. Individual small glasses and...
Aburiya Fudo - Izakaya: Naka-Meguro
Excellent charcoal-grilled meats and vegetables are served here with Korean-style sauces and side dishes. The quality of the meats is first-rate, and there are lots of grilled and stewed organ...
Gingin - Izakaya: Omori
Gingin specializes in seafood and offers a good selection of craft sake. Budget around Y4500 for food and drink at dinnertime.
Sangendou - Izakaya: Yokohama Sta.
This Yokohama branch of one of our favorite izakaya offers good soba, tofu and grilled chicken along with some nice regional sake choices. Counter and table seating is relatively spacious.