Tokyo and Yokohama
Exploring great places to eat and drink
The original Moto standing bar in Shinjuku has been a longtime favorite thanks to their top-notch sake selection and creative food menu, so we came to this smaller, boutique branch of the bar with high expectations. We're happy to report that those expectations were more than fulfilled. Simply put, Gem has one of the most interesting sake lists we've ever encountered, including some.... [Continue reading]
Showa-era rustic chic seems to be the aim at this old-fashioned cafe, with its dark wooden furnishings, exposed wooden rafters and dim bare-bulb lighting. In spite of the gloom, the nightime crowd here is surprisingly lively, and the coffee and desserts - kabocha cheesecake and rum-raisin chocolate cake - are very tasty. Although most patrons seem to be here for coffee and dessert,.... [Continue reading]
This casual, very lively tasting bar offers more than 100 types of sake along with a small menu of sake-compatible snacks. All sake is served in tiny 45ml glasses, so you can try several different varieties when you visit. There's a small discount when you order a tasting flight of three glasses at a time, which almost everyone here does. Most sake is priced in the Y200-300 range.... [Continue reading]
Kikuya is Tokyo's first stand-up tempura and craft-sake bar, an extremely specific culinary niche that we didn't realize needed filling until we visited. Most standing sake bars provide some sort of nourishment to go with your drinks, whether it's simple rice crackers and dried fish or something more elaborate. Kikuya's food offerings definitely occupy the gourmet end of the scale, with.... [Continue reading]
This upscale conveyor-belt sushi shop serves good-quality fish along with craft sake from smaller breweries around Japan. You can choose from at least four or five sake by the glass (starting at around Y700) and several more by the bottle. Of course you may be able to find more extensive sake lists at any number of regular sushi counters, but somehow the combination of premium sake and.... [Continue reading]
Fragrant smoke from Toritake's charcoal grill has been wafting out onto Shibuya's back streets since the early 1960s, drawing in generation after generation of yakitori fans. The atmosphere is very old-school izakaya, with compact seating arrangements and Showa-era decor. The non-smoking basement (with tatami seating) is perhaps the one concession to modern times. Drink options are.... [Continue reading]
A charming cafe slightly off the main path in Shimokitazawa, Coffea Exlibris specializes in French press and is one of the best serious-coffee options in the area. The small interior is done up in a rustic-chic style with fresh-cut flowers at every table, and because it's quite popular you may end up sitting at a bench in front rather than at one of the tables. Coffee drinkers can.... [Continue reading]
Whether you're here for a quick dinner or a leisurely evening of drinking and snacking, this reliable seafood izakaya is a refreshingly economical option for an Odaiba outing. The voluminous daily sashimi platter is a good place to start, and individual a la carte sashimi items also come in generous portions. If you're dining solo or if you just want a quick bite, there's a huge variety.... [Continue reading]
A chic furniture store-cafe combo in the heart of Daikanyama, Lab.LABAR offers a surprisingly wide variety of both coffees and teas. Coffee connoisseurs can choose from among Aeropress, paper-filter drip coffee and siphon coffee for hot drinks and Chemex for iced coffee - a rather impressive selection. The relaxed, modern atmosphere, comfortable seating (if you grab a seat in time),.... [Continue reading]
Va Bene's casual ground-floor bar is a convivial spot to enjoy some scrumptious meaty snacks along with a glass of wine or two. The assorted appetizer plate (Y980) is a perfect match for a robust Italian red, and our platter featured a rich, almost buttery liver mousse that was one of the highlights of our day. Other wine-friendly starters include spicy tripe stew, horsemeat tartar and.... [Continue reading]
Soregashi is a laid-back, very unpretentious local izakaya where you can explore a good range of craft sake along with an interesting food menu. There are a couple dozen sakes to choose from, including a good number of limited-edition seasonal bottles - not the biggest selection in town, but sustainable for a shop of this size. The staff are friendly and knowledgable about their stock,.... [Continue reading]
Exotic, ethnic-themed cafes in Japan have their own special charm, and Ethical Cafe is a fine example of the genre. The decor is fashioned after a tropical resort, with rattan sofas, chairs and tables and a cabana-style thatched-roof bar. The food is an entertaining mix of vacation destination-inspired dishes like Keema Curry Nachos and Ethnic Spicy Edamame. The World Beer menu features.... [Continue reading]
Best of Tokyo
More than 100 bars with good craft beers on tap
Tasting bars and izakaya with exceptional sake
Japan's most popular comfort food
Espresso, drip and siphon coffee shops
Our noodle-shop picks
Old-fashioned kissaten with jazz on vinyl
Seasonal produce straight from the farm
Explore regional delicacies and sake without leaving the city
The best burger joints in town
The most lively cat, bird and rabbit cafes, at sister site Animal Cafes.com
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Craft Beer Bars Japan
The latest listings from our sister site Craft Beer Bars Japan.
New opening - Brew La La: Shimbashi
With room for around fifty customers, Brew La La is quite a bit more spacious than most Tokyo beer bars, and the friendly multilingual staff help make this a relaxing place to hang out. There's even room for a shuffleboard...
New opening - Far Yeast Tokyo: Omotesando
This smallish bar is run by Tokyo's Far Yeast Brewing Company and serves up to a dozen of their own brews, including seasonal and limited-edition labels. Most beers are priced at Y600 and Y900 for small and large sizes,...
Nihonbashi Brewery: Bakurocho
This brewpub is run by a veteran of HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) in Portland, Oregon, and the thirteen taps here carry HUB beers and other imports, domestic Japanese craft beers from producers like Kyoto Brewing, and one or...
TBE Brewing: Ebisu
A cozy neighborhood drinking spot, TBE serves mostly domestic beers from brewers like Y Market and North Island from their ten taps. There may be a couple of imports on the list as well, and possibly a few of their own TBE...
Perhaps it's the chic, modern decor or the DJ booth at the front of the bar, but for some reason Another8 seems to attract a more stylish and cosmopolitan crowd than your typical beer bar. In addition to eight taps of craft...
New opening - Mikkeller: Shibuya
This Tokyo outpost of the Danish brewery seems to be aimed squarely at craft-beer geeks, with an impressive range of unusual Mikkeller beers and hard-to-find tiny Japanese breweries like Yorocco, AJB and Songbird. Although...
Where in Tokyo
Find fun things to do between meals, from our sister site Where In Tokyo.
Animal Cafes - Moff Animal Cafe: Tokyo Hachioji
This multi-species pet cafe promises to be fun for the whole family, and indeed the visitors here range from young kids to senior citizens. The staff seem to enjoy their jobs, and they go out of their way to introduce the...
Cashi: Tokyo Bakurocho
One of our favorite galleries in the thriving Bakurocho area, Cashi (the name means "fahrenheit") represents a diverse range of up-and-coming Japanese artists working in a variety of styles, and often puts on group shows. ...
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan: Tokyo Ueno
The magnificent main building of this concert hall was completed in 1961 and designed by the Japanese modernist architect Kunio Maekawa. Maekawa apprenticed with Le Corbusier in Paris from 1928-1930 before returning to Japan...
Chiba Institute of Technology: Tokyo Oshiage
Wondering what Japanese robots are up to these days? Find out at the Tokyo Skytree campus of Chiba University of Technology, which is actually just a couple of exhibition spaces located upstairs from the Skytree's...
Samurai: Tokyo Shinjuku
Thousands of maneki neko (good-luck cat statues) fill the interior of this spacious cafe-bar, along with signed covers of jazz albums and underground theater posters. There's a counter and several tables, making this a good...
Horyuji Gallery: Tokyo Ueno
The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures is part of Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. It houses more than 300 historical artifacts, mainly from the seventh and eighth centuries, which were donated to the Imperial Household by...