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Sake Bars in Tokyo

by Krista

1-14-1 Ebisu Nishi
Details on Bento

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, July 22

The Victim: Melinda, Claire, and a very nice girl whose name I forget. Sylvia maybe?

The Damage: Again, Monopoly money. I have no concept.

The Background: So while I’m doing my research about Tokyo, I come across this article in The Guardian. Buri sounds interesting, and after I read this too, I make a mental note to try to check it out while I’m in town.

I also figured that while I was in Tokyo, it would be fun to meet up with another blogger. Melinda of Tokyo through The Drinking Glass was kind enough to oblige. I meet her at Ebisu station Tuesday night and she leads me up and around and over the side streets until we enter a little bar.

A sake bar. A one-cup sake bar, specifically.

It’s Buri. (Sorry for the slightly blurry photo. I was a little blurry myself!)

I excitedly show her my print-outs and how I had wanted to come here all along. It’s all too coincidental…out of all the bars in Tokyo! She takes me here.   

Melinda has been to Buri before and written it up on her own Web site . As the bar editor for Bento, the English-language Tokyo restaurant- and bar-resource, Melinda has probably been to many bars. So I’m very very pleased that she’s taken me here.

But I’ve been up since 3 a.m. for my Tsukiji tour. And I’m a little jet lagged. And I’m HOT. So after some grilled skewers of meat and vegetables and two great little cups of sake, I call it a night and head back to my hotel, where I proceed to sleep for 13 hours. (I would tell you what sake I had, but I gave my guidebooks to my friend Dave on my last night in Tokyo while we were at The New York Bar at The Park Hyatt, and I had the notes written on the first page of Time Out Tokyo. So Melinda, if you’re reading this and can remember, please comment!)

Melinda has another sake recommendation for me before I leave Tokyo, and that’s Hasegawa in Omotesando Hills, the luxury mall close to/in Harajuku.

Jingumae 4-12-4
Omotesando Hills 3F
Details on Bento

I’m so excited to check out Hasegawa that I get there at 10:30 a.m. It doesn’t really occur to me that they may not be open this early in the morning. They’re not, and it’s so HOT that I go back to my hotel to cool off for a bit before returning after lunch.

I enter Hasegawa and I love it already. It’s tucked up on the 3rd floor of the mall, so there’s not a lot of foot traffic. So if you’ve found Hasegawa, you’re probably seeking it out. There’s an older gentleman to my right intently reading all about sake. There are two gentlemen to my left who are in a very celebratory mood. And then there’s me in the middle and the bartender, who speaks just enough English for me to order something dry and smooth first, and then something rich and fruity next.

Here’s what I had…



I liked the first so much that I bought Dave a little bottle as a "Welcome to Japan" present.

The Verdict: I loved both Buri and Hasegawa. Huge thanks to Melinda.

May I experience many happy returns.

And may I ask…what’s the closest I’ll come to a sake bar in London?


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melinda August 3, 2008 - 4:25 am

Hi Krista!

So glad you enjoyed it. Just wish you could have stayed out with us for more food and drink at the next izakaya.

Thanks for the kind mention, and I really hope you’ll make it back to Tokyo one day.


Dave August 4, 2008 - 3:44 pm

Hi Krista!

Just clicked a link from your Facebook profile and ended up here.

Thanks for the books – they’re going to be really useful.

I hadn’t noticed the writing in the front of Time Out. I just checked now, and from what I can make of the notes, the sake was “Hitakami – Miyami” or “Junmai-Shu (Yamada Nishiki 100%)”.


Demian August 5, 2008 - 1:28 pm

Hey Krista, Thanks for enjoying my blog, looking pass the spelling errors. And thanks for researching Tokyo, for your first time, you seem to know your way around really well. This weekend, I might have to check out Buri. Next time you are in Japan, send me a note, sometimes we refer to my neighborhood as Nagoyalicious. -Demian

Oonth October 9, 2008 - 2:58 pm

Krista, never did get to send you a list of recommendations for Tokyo but sounds like you found lots of good places. And I’m pleased to hear that you got to meet and go out with Melinda who is a friend of mine – we met in January 2007 doing John Gauntner’s Sake Professional Course in Tokyo, something that you might like to do at some point:


I’ve been to both Buri and Hasegawa with Melinda, both excellent places. I’m lining up another trip to Japan for later this month, it’s meant to be a good eating season over there at this time of year, lucky me…….

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