Tokyo is a city of experts. People spend their lifetimes perfecting their craft and this results in some of the best bars in the world! Today I’ll be sharing what to drink in Tokyo! From the best cocktail bars to traditional Japanese liqueur, this is your ultimate guide to getting tipsy in Tokyo!
It’s been amazing sharing my travel experiences in the past few years but I’ve been wanting to do a travel series for a while now. I wanted to do a type of post that works for every city and would be something I’m actually interested in! So I decided on the Tipsy Travel guide which is going to introduce you to the best places to drink around the world!!
Japanese people are known for quality and doing things exceptionally well. Often, they’ll devote their whole life to perfecting one craft. This definitely showed through as I experienced some of the most unique and well made cocktails in Tokyo.
Ben Fiddich – World’s Top 50
For the experienced cocktail drinker, Ben Fiddich is a must visit in Tokyo! There is no menu here but bartender Hiroyasu Kayama will make the most unique cocktails you’ve ever had! Like many places in Tokyo, the bar is not at street level but rather hidden upstairs like a gem to be found. The cocktails ended up being around $20 CAD each (including tax & tip) so it is definitely a more high end experience.
You’ll need to give him something to work from. For example, in the photo above I asked for something with a tea base. The cocktail had a beautiful aromatic smell which is kept inside by the lid. Once you remove the lid to drink, the scent adds to the whole experience. Not only was the presentation and flavor of the drinks top notch, the performance by Kayama was actually one of the most memorable parts of my visit. To get the best experience, sit at the bar and come in with specific flavors profiles (ex. floral, citrus) and let him be creative. I did not make a reservation but went early right when they opened at 6pm to get a seat at the bar!
Mixology Experience – Outlandish Flavors
The next night in Tokyo, I decided on Mixology Experience for another night of cocktail tasting. This place is not that well known with only 9 reviews on Tripadvisor! Mixology Experience is for those who want to try something really crazy. For example, I had a cocktail that tasted like Tom Yum soup! There’s also drinks that include blue cheese or foie gras flavors.
Shuzo Nagumo is less showy of a bartender but clearly very talented and enjoys experimenting with flavors. He stocks the bar with the most high tech equipment so he can separate out flavors from food and infuse them into cocktails! I also sat at the bar here and had a really enjoyable time with some truly memorable cocktails. The drinks were slightly cheaper at $15-18 CAD each. There is an extensive menu that has photos and English.
In the photos above, Nagumo is making a Tom Yum cocktail with lemongrass. The second photo is a cocktail he created by using a smoke gun and trapping the smoke inside plastic and a clipping pin. Lastly it is a more classic old fashioned style drink but poured out of a skull container filled with ice.
Ritz Carlton Lobby Lounge – Best Views
Some other cocktail bar recommendations for Tokyo are: Bar High Five, Fuglen, and Bar Trench
The most famous liquor from Japan is undoubtedly sake. Made from fermented rice and water, sake can be drank hot or cold and is best accompanied with a meal. While it looks like a shot of vodka, sake should be sipped and not taken like a shot. I am not the biggest fan of sake unfortunately but I did get the chance to enjoy some during my lunch at DEN.
If you’d like to try a variety of sake, there are quite a few izakayas with all you can drink sake. The most famous is Kurand which has four locations. For a cost of $35 CAD, you can try over 100 different kinds of sake. If you only want a taster, you can spend 90 minutes at Kainomi for only $18 CAD having all you can drink sake!
For those of you who don’t like strong alcohol, give umeshu a try! It is usually only 10% and has a sweet and sour taste like plums. I would say it’s the equivalent of coolers here in North America. I personally like sour and plummy flavors so this is the perfect casual drink for me. You can easily buy bottles of this at grocery stores. I ended up having these relaxing in the hotel room.
While Japan is not that well known for beers, there are a few places you can go! Craft beer is definitely on the rise so more and more options are becoming available.