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Great news for commuters, long-distance travelers and all other sake lovers passing through Tokyo Station: Hasegawa Saketen, one of the city’s most dynamic and forward-thinking liquor retailers, once again has a store in the Gransta basement shopping arcade.

Compared to its previous incarnation, which closed several years ago, the reborn branch is larger, sleeker and better stocked. It has also allocated more space for its tasting bar, where you can sample a wide range of Japanese beverages, not just nihonshu but also beer, shōchū and wine.

The real innovation, though, is that it also has a tiny area — just 22.8 square meters — set aside for brewing sake. The initial offering is a peach-flavored doburoku (thick, unfiltered, unpasteurized sake) with a very drinkable alcohol level of just 5 percent (available in the tasting room for ¥550 per glass). Later in the autumn, the plan is to produce proper filtered sake.

Summer sake: A thick, rich peach-flavored doburoku (unfiltered, unpasteurized sake) brewed at Hasegawa Saketen's Gransta branch. | ROBBIE SWINNERTON
Summer sake: A thick, rich peach-flavored doburoku (unfiltered, unpasteurized sake) brewed at Hasegawa Saketen’s Gransta branch. | ROBBIE SWINNERTON

Although Hasegawa Saketen offers little in the way of snacks, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you get peckish, just head to one of the nearby eateries, such as Nagoya-style yakitori at Ito Washigoro Shoten, or great tacos at the new branch of Kitade Shokudo.

Sake from ¥550, beer from ¥660; sake and beer takeout available; online menu; little English spoken

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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