Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Hotaru: Tokyo's first and only sake brew-pub

by Robbie Swinnerton

Special To The Japan Times

Uchi-Kanda has always been one of Tokyo’s most colorful carousing districts. Just to the north of buttoned-up Otemachi and Marunouchi, its narrow streets are lined with low-budget eateries and boisterous izakaya taverns. Hotaru fits in perfectly but with one key distinction: It is Tokyo’s first (and currently only) sake brew-pub.

You can see the small steel fermentation tanks gleaming in a glass-enclosed chamber in one corner of the minimally decorated dining room. But don’t arrive expecting to sip on brews that are delicate and refined: Hotaru makes doburoku, an unfiltered sake that is thick and milky white, and packs plenty of alcoholic punch. A good range of quality sake from breweries around Japan is also available.

The food menu focuses on seafood, with sashimi and other classic izakaya dishes like buri-daikon (simmered yellowtail and daikon), ni-anago (simmered conger eel) and gyūtan (ox tongue grilled with miso). Prices are very reasonable, with all-you-can-drink specials three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Saturday: ¥2,000/two hours). In warmer weather, with the glass doors opened up to the street, there are few better places to relax in this vibrant nightlife area.

Open 5-10:30 p.m. (LO); Sat 4-10 p.m. (LO); closed Sundays and holidays. Little English spoken. For more details, visit

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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