Notable sake lists
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Sake tasting bars, standing bars

Yamachan - Bar: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Anpuku - 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...
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...
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...
Tabibito - Bar: Shimbashi
Premium sake is the focus at this charming drinking spot, and proprietress will construct three-part tasting flights based on your preferences. Flights generally cost around Y1500-1700 - perhaps a...
Ibaraki Marche - Antenna shop: Ginza
Sake, fresh produce and specialty foods from Ibaraki Prefecture are on sale at this large antenna shop; they also serve regional food and drink in the attached bar-restaurant (03-5524-0827). You can...
Marugoto Kochi - Antenna shop: Ginza
Food products from Kochi Prefecture are sold in the first-floor "Tosa Market" retail shop, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Unusual items include rice ice cream and yokan candies in...
Hiroshima Brand Shop TAU - Antenna shop: Ginza
One of the largest single-prefecture antenna shops in Tokyo, this four-story shop sells a big selection of food and drink as well as other local Hiroshima products. There's a regional-cuisine...
Kengyo - Bar: Ginza
Run by a liquor retail shop, this stand-up bar offers a small selection of sake, inexpensive small plates of food, and jazz on the sound system. The attached liquor store is open from 10am.
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...
Akita Pure Rice Sake Bar - Yakitori: Yaesu
Craft sake from Akita Prefecture is the specialty at this comfortable counter bar, which stands at the front of a chicken specialty restaurant called Honke Abeya. You can just drop by for a quick...
Midette - Antenna shop: Mitsukoshimae
In addition to the usual local food and booze, this large prefectural antenna shop offers a good assortment of crafts - tableware, glassware, wooden dolls and other decorative items. The sake area...
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...
Kanda Izumiya - Bar: Ogawamachi
Open since April 2015, this former sake retailer is now a standing sake bar, with lots of good sake by the tasting-size glass and a small food menu to go with it. Sake is served in small tasting...
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...

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...
Zokkon - Izakaya: Shibuya
Zokkon is a tastefully decorated, upscale izakaya with good food and an impressive sake selection. The food tends to be more delicate than typical izakaya fare, while the sake list emphasizes...
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, and you find yourself in Ebisu, this branch of Otsuka's legendary Bakushuan beer bar is the place for you. Ten mainly Japanese craft beers are served on...
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...
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...
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.
Ukyo - Izakaya: Azabu-Juban
The fantastic sake list here (more than 200 varieties) is supported by a solid sake-friendly food menu, including many Okinawan dishes and luxurious items like foie gras and uni. Budget around Y7000...
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...
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...
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...
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
Odako is a place where oden finally gets the respect it deserves, presented with top-grade small-producer sake. Here, oden is prepared fresh daily in a Kansai-style broth, which is not nearly as...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
Nozaki - Izakaya: Shimbashi
Fine food and an excellent sake selection at this very unpretentious after-work izakaya. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink.
Sandiya - Izakaya: Shiodome
If you're looking for a budget izakaya with decent food and sake, Sandiya is worth checking out. More than twenty different craft sake, from labels like Tedorigawa and Sugata, are served here along...
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...
Abeya - Yakitori: Marunouchi
The famous Akita-based yakitoriya serves fantastic grilled chicken - an heirloom cross-breed called hinai-jidori - along with local Akita sake. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink at dinnertime,...
Yamagata Sakanaichi - Japanese regional: Yaesu
This is a good spot to explore Yamagata's most famous product, craft sake, with over 100 varieties available. The food menu focuses on Yamagata beef and other regional dishes, but it's generally not...
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.
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...
Konbuya - Oden: Kagurazaka
Oden is known as a fairly humble cuisine, but it reaches new heights of sophistication at Konbuya, where it's paired with well-chosen craft sake and shochu in an elegant dining room. In addtion to...
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...
Dojo - Yakitori: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa
Great yakitori, a few well-selected sakes, and reasonable prices at this neighborhood yakitoriya. No English menu.
Temae no Ippo - Izakaya: Adachi-ku
There's an impressive selection of sake to try out at this stylish izakaya, and you can put together your own tasting flights quite easily, as small 60ml glasses are just Y380. Grilled meats and...
Jidoriya - Japanese regional: Nakano
Hakata cuisine - traditional cooking from Fukuoka in northern Kyushu - is the specialty of this rather boisterous izakaya in Nakano's bar zone. Besides serving excellent food, Jidoriya offers a...
Toneri - Izakaya: Kichijoji
Seasonal izakaya fare and gourmet oden, plus very impressive lists of shochu and sake.
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.