Tokyo Food Page
Meishu Center/
Hamamatsucho: Liquor
shop
₯5405-4441
€Data
Hamamatsucho has
always seemed like a
pretty down-to-earth
part of town, and a
visit to the Meishu
("famous sake")
Center only con-
firmed that impres-
sion. Situated on a
quiet side street
near the monorail
station, the shop is
about as unpreten-
tious as it's pos-
sible to be. The
front window is
pasted solid with
hand-drawn signs
touting various sake
brands, and the
utilitarian interior
is brightly lit and
dominated by two
large stand-up coun-
ters, where a local
crowd drops by for a
quick after-work
drink.

What sets Meishu
Center apart from
dozens of other
shitamachi liquor
shops is the breadth
and quality of its
sake selection, and
the wide selection
that's available for
tasting at any given
time. More than
fifty brewers are
represented here,
many of them small,
obscure craft brew-
ers, and most of the
150-odd varieties
are of the rather
refined junmai-ginjo
class. But there's
no need to stumble
through their menu
blindly - just tell
them what kind of
sake you like best
and the staff will
take you by the hand
and guide you
through their selec-
tion.

You can start out
with preferences as
simple as "dry" or
"sweet", but the
more specific you
are the better
you'll do. They'll
pour you a tasting
set of three small
cups (just Y500),
and leave the bot-
tles there for your
perusal. Tell them
which of the three
you like best and
they'll repeat the
procedure till you
find something
you're crazy about.
Everything you try
is available to take
home.

The food menu is
disarmingly minimal
- you can have the
tsukemono (pickles;
Y100), the tiny tofu
slices (Y200), the
sembei crackers (Y50
for two), or the
pungent shiokara if
you're especially
brave. Just help
yourself from the
fridge, and leave
your coins in the
dish on the counter.
Once a month they
host a potluck
premium-sake tasting
party - they provide
the sake, and the
customers bring the
food! (The price is
Y3000, plus one dish
for everyone to
share; there's a
sign-up sheet on
their bulletin
board.)

The shop is just
down the street from
Akitaya - the famous
and always-crowded-
with-salarymen yaki-
tori landmark - and
one strategy is to
have a few sticks of
chicken there before
exploring the sake
here. If you're
facing Akitaya, take
the street to the
left of the shop,
and walk about one
minute; the Meishu
Center is on the
left, with an illu-
minated sign and
often a gaggle of
cigarette smokers,
since smoking is
prohibited inside.
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Minato-ku, Hama-
matsucho 2-3. 
Open 11am-9pm.
Closed weekends.
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