Traditional taste and modern arrangements: An authentic sake experience at “Toshimaya Sake Shop”

Toshimaya Sake Shop, which opened inside KANDA SQUARE in July this year, is an izakaya (Japanese bar) with the concept “Edo Tokyo Modern”. The shop offers traditional tastes that excite Japanese sake fans as well as new fun creations that are popular with young people. This small sake stand is a huge recommendation. From beginners to advanced sake fans, this is a place where everyone can enjoy sake!

A fashionable izakaya produced by Tokyo’s oldest liquor store
“Toshimaya Sake Shop” has a bright and welcoming atmosphere.

Founded in 1596, Tokyo’s oldest liquor store “Toshimaya Honten” (Toshimaya Corporation) directly manages “Toshimaya Sake Shop”. Inside the store, a bar counter is located in the center. When you come with your friends and family, you can stand around the counter surrounded by delicious sake and share snacks.

An English menu is also available! If you are unsure, try one of the “Sake comparison sets”.

Toshimaya brand’s sake and various collaboration products are sold inside the shop.

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the shop was the sake vending machine. The system works as follows: receive your cup at the cash register, place it in the machine, put 300 yen inside the machine, and choose the sake you want to try. It will be poured into your cup.

Sake vending machine

Staff told us, that this service was specially developed for customers who don’t want to wait for the staff to bring them their sake. The vending machine allows them to refill their cup without waiting in line.

A liquor store that has been loved for over 400 years

In 1596, TOSHIMAYA Juemon, the founder of Toshimaya, opened a sake store and izakaya at the “Kamakura waterfront” of the Kanda River in Edo (Tokyo). At that time, a large expansion of the Edo Castle was carried out, and the stones and timber required for construction were transported from the city Kamakura to Edo and landed near his store.

An illustration of “Toshimaya” drawn about 200 years ago. The picture shows people buying sweet rice liqueur called shirozake (lit. white sake) brewed by Juemon for the Hinamatsuri (Japan’s girls’ festival).

“Toshimaya”, which offered sake and snacks at a reasonable price in a place where many people gathered, became very popular. And after more than 400 years, Toshimaya (that became “Toshimaya Corporation”) is still successful in business to this day.

Dr. Toshiyuki YOSHIMURA is in charge of the company. He is the 16th(!) president.
Writer Marei’s recommended sake is …

“Toshimaya”, which ran a liquor store and an izakaya, started brewing sake in Tokyo about 80 years ago. Since then, Toshimaya has been developing various brands of sake. Among them, the main brand’s sake “KINKON” is the only omiki (Japanese sake offered to the gods) that the famous shrines Meiji-jingu and Kanda-myojin use.

“Kinkon Junmai-Ginjo Edo Sake Oji”

After tasting several types of sake, I found my absolute favorite. “Kinkon Junmai-Ginjo Edo Sake Oji”, a sake that won the highest award (platinum award) at a sake competition held in Paris. “Edo Sake Oji” is made in Tokyo using rice, yeast, and water from Tokyo. The sake has a fruity taste – but no actual fruits were used in the process! It is very pleasant to drink and really delicious.

Check out the snacks and creative drinks!

“Toshimaya Sake Shop” offers a wonderful snack menu. Some of the light meals use fermented foods, including the traditional menu “Tofu Dengaku” that was already sold during the Edo period. “Tofu Dengaku” has a chewy texture and a delightful taste. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s a MUST. Still, be sure to also try some of the other snacks!

Left & Middle: “Tofu Dengaku” with miso, Right: Goat milk cheese with miso.
“Toshimaya butter” made from butter with sake lees and dried fruits. It feels strange to eat butter on its own, but it tastes like cheesecake!
“Amanatto Mascarpone” with sweet natto beans and cream cheese with salty crackers. Sweet, salty, creamy: the perfect harmony!

I also recommend the creative drinks made with healthy amazake, a drink which is often called a “drinkable drip infusion”. The beautiful “Amazake Smoothie” (something I have never seen before) tasted sweet and very delicious!

Various amazake smoothies. Left: Pumpkin, black sesame, kinako soybean flour; Middle: Fig, grape, coconut; Right: Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), mango, banana.

Gotten thirsty? Check out “Toshimaya Sake Shop” where you can enjoy the traditional taste of sake and modern arrangements at the same time. It’s an authentic sake experience you won’t forget!

Toshimaya Sake Shop
Business hours: 10:00-22:00
Closed on Sundays and holidays
KANDA SQUARE 1F, 2-2-1 Kanda Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
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Stations: Ogawamachi Station, Shin-Ochanomizu Station, Ochanomizu Station, Jimbocho Station

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