Review excerpt: Chef Taka Nishimura’s lively, homey and cozy tachinomiya (standing bar), Yanagi Koji Taka, in central Kyoto is crowded into an alleyway that’s only as wide as a vending machine.

Review excerpt: Opened last summer, Asano offers a reprieve from the crowds and conspicuous consumption. Besides the fridges full of sake from breweries all across Japan, there are two tasting menus: one for Kyoto sakes, and another from a brewery outside Kyoto.

Review excerpt: 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 ...

Review excerpt: Essentially, Kotaro is an izakaya, a tavern where sake and food share equal billing, and both are there to accompany conversation and relaxation at the end of the day. But don’t arrive expecting boisterous revelry and red-faced salarymen drinking cheap highballs. Here the ...

Takara is a stylish, contemporary izakaya in the basement of the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho. While the main focus is on quality sake from noted kura around the country, it also purveys shochu and wine — and a good selection of foods that ...

For hardcore fans — and they are legion — Kaikaya is the ultimate izakaya. They love the scruffy, unkempt look, the laid-back vibes, the cheerful welcome.

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