The moment I heard there was a place that basically made Otsuka the holy ground for sake that it is, I had to call them up and make a reservation immediately! Time to go on a tipsy stroll through Otsuka!
Before starting our walk, we raised our glasses for a toast at the OMO cafe!
After arriving at the hotel, the first order of business was a beer at the OMO café. The wonderful aroma of the Yona Yona Ale charged me up right away. I wouldn’t have said no to another drink, but since I’d already decided to spend the night drinking on Otsuka, I held back. According to the staff, Otsuka is a “holy land of Japanese sake.” Even though they don’t grow rice here?! That claim was met with some skepticism. But then I learned we’d be visiting some stores that promised to turn us into believers that this was indeed a “holy land.” This I had to see! Thus, my Otsuka drinking tour started off on a happy note, with me learning a nice bit of trivia. We were off!
To the Secret Base of Japanese Sake — The “Kushikoma”.
I couldn’t help but get excited when I saw a sign that said “You gotta love Japanese Sake!”
I’m not really knowledgeable when it comes to sake, so I went with the hostess’s recommendation for our next drink. They have sake hand-bottled by Kushikoma staffers that I jumped on right away. Then I learned that the hostess’s husband was famous in the area for popularizing certain choice sake! The pictures of him hung around the shop showed a man with long hair and a thick beard, as if he was some sort of wise sake wizard. The hostess’s dedication to the shop shows that his passion lives on through her and her staff. You can see it whenever a staff member returns from a trip to the brewery master with another hand-prepared bottle of pure sake. I learned that these arrangements were also her husband’s idea; just as appetizers set the tone for a course meal, so too did the hospitality I was shown here. That was quite a moving realization.
The drinks flowed, the conversation grew lively, and the hostess chose our next sake. I felt like I was starting to acquire a taste for the drink. Yet during our small talk, I caught glimpses of her concerns that I was still satisfied as a customer. This, I feel, can only be called the “essence” of Japan! I’ll certainly be back to see her again!
Closing out the Night at a Nostalgic Bar.
I was in a great mood after our first stop, but I wanted to make the most of the night, so we headed to another place — a bar this time. Upon entering I was greeted by a warm, nostalgic atmosphere! I told the bartender about the sake I’d drank at the previous stop, and he fixed me a grapefruit cocktail with a vodka base. I was already a bit tipsy, and his pleasant demeanor only served to enhance my mood further. This dapper gentleman suggested I try some whisky, as he had a lineup of rare offerings that he’d acquired through his own personal channels. Today’s recommendation was a malt whisky from the Isle of Arran (UK). I’d never even heard of the Isle of Arran, so its rarity was lost on me…but hey, the old man sitting next to me was nursing a whisky, so why not? This is what experienced bar patrons do, right. Now that I think about it, the bartender sort of reminded me of an English gentleman!
- Add : 1-33-25 Kitaotsuka Toshima-ku, Tokyo
- TEL : +81-33-917-6657
- Open/Close : 6:00 p.m.–00:00 a.m. / L.O. 11:00 p.m. (JST)
- Closed : Mon.
It’s absolutely worth the trip to this place, whether you rarely drink sake or are a full-fledged connoisseur. Their fridge is stocked with top-shelf sake from brewers all over the country!
- Add : 2-7-5 Kitaotsuka Toshima-ku, Tokyo
- TEL : -
- Open/Close : 5:30 p.m. –1:00 a.m / L.O. .12:30 a.m (JST)
- Closed : Sun.
There's a bunch of different rare whiskeys and fresh fruit cocktails to enjoy. The classic decor and ambience of the interior makes you feel like a regular.