Top ChoiceTeahouse in Hakone-machi & Moto-Hakone

Amazake-chaya

Teahouses like Amazake-chaya were once common sights along the old Edo-era (1603–1868) foot highways that criss-crossed Japan. This one, with a thatched roof, is one of only a few that remain, and run by the same...

Top ChoiceBar in Kumamoto

Good Time Charlie

Charlie Nagatani is a living legend, the 'Johnny Cash of Japan', the founding figure behind the nation's entire country-music scene, and an accomplished musician and songwriter. He earned the rank of Kentucky...

Top ChoiceCocktail Bar in Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Bar BenFiddich

Bar BenFiddich is dark and tiny, with vials of infusions on the shelves and herbs hung to dry from the ceiling. The English-speaking barman, Kayama Hiroyasu, in a white suit, moves like a magician. There's no...

Top ChoiceCocktail Bar in Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

SG Club

SG stands for 'Sip' and 'Guzzle' but also for award-winning bartender Shingo Gokan. Ground-floor Guzzle is a social, counter space; the house drink is chawari, shōchū and tea (¥1400), made with gyokuro...

Top ChoiceLounge in Marunouchi & Nihombashi

Ao

This swank and sophisticated little salon – think red velvet banquettes, round, low tables and shelves of books – has a unique cocktail focus: tea and traditional Chinese medicine. For example: its version of a...

Top ChoiceCocktail Bar in Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

Gen Yamamoto

Gen Yamamoto takes the seaonal tasting menu concept and applies it to cocktails. Here they're made with fruits and herbs, with the same kind of devotion to presentation seen at restaurants serving kaiseki...

Top ChoiceCraft Beer in Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

Mikkeller Tokyo

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is a pioneer 'gypsy brewer', one who dreams up wild concoctions, but outsources the actual brewing. His beers are served at world-famous restaurants and also at the select bars scattered...

Top ChoiceTeahouse in Arashiyama & Sagano

Hiranoya

Located next to the Atago Torii (a large Shintō shrine gate), this thatched-roof restaurant is about as atmospheric as they get. It serves matcha (powdered green tea) and a sweet for ¥840; the perfect way to cool...

Top ChoiceBar in Ebisu, Meguro & Around

Gem by Moto

Gem specialises in boutique sakes collected from all over Japan. There's a menu, which is always changing, but if you're here to broaden your appreciation of the myriad styles of nihonshū (and that's why everyone...

Top ChoiceTeahouse in Harajuku & Aoyama

Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

Tea master (and former bartender) Sakurai Shinya's contemporary teahouse is a must-visit for anyone hoping to deeper their understanding of o-cha (Japanese tea). The course includes several varieties – you might...

Top ChoiceBar in Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Lonely

Arai-san established Lonely 50 years ago because he wanted his friends to always have a place to go. Some of those friends, like the creator of classic manga Ashita no Joe – you'll see posters on the wall – also...

Top ChoiceCraft Beer in Chōkoku-no-Mori & Gōra

Gora Brewery & Grill

Sup on a Gora IPA or a Black Belt stout, among other ales from this stylish brewery venue, run by the folk behind Itoh Dining by Nobu. Grill treats include house-made sausages, Peruvian-style lamb and Nobu's...

Top ChoiceTeahouse in Hakodate

Tea Shop Yūhi

Filling the halls of a wooden building from 1885 (actually the old Hakodate Quarantine Office) is this magical teahouse overlooking the water. It's lit only by natural light so closes after the sun sets. In the...

Top ChoiceTeahouse in Ebisu, Meguro & Around

Yakumo Saryō

Shinichiro Ogata, head of design house Simplicity has put everything into creating his ideal contemporary take on the traditional Japanese teahouse. The result: Yakumo Saryō, elegantly minamalist, with artisan...

Top ChoiceBar in Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Zoetrope

A must-visit for whisky fans, Zoetrope has over a hundred varieties of Japanese whisky behind its small counter, including many hard-to-find bottles and already sold-out limited editions. Cover charge ¥600; the...

Top ChoiceBar in Kagoshima

Honkaku Shōchū Bar Ishizue

This chic, amber-and-wood shōchū bar has everything going for it, and it's one of the finest places to drink Kagoshima's prefectural liquor. There are more than 1500 choices from around the prefecture, each with...

Top ChoiceBar in Matsumoto

Eonta Jazz Bar

If you like jazz, it doesn't get any better than Eonta, a tiny 15-seater upstairs, directly above Katsu Gen restaurant. The friendly owner has been running his bar since 1974 and likes his jazz, chosen from over...

Top ChoiceBar in Kōchi

Tosa-shu Baru

Without doubt, this nonsmoking bar with an extremely convivial atmosphere is the place to go to try Kōchi-made sake. Owner Kōji is passionate about sake and has offerings from all 18 breweries in Kōchi, three...

Top ChoiceCoffee in Osaka

Brooklyn Roasting Company

With its worn leather couches, big wooden communal table and industrial fittings, this is a little slice of Brooklyn in Osaka and the perfect pit stop while exploring Naka-no-shima. Sip well-crafted coffee...

Top ChoiceBar in Nagano

James' Nagano Beer Market

This extremely popular beer-hall-type place is upstairs only a couple of minutes' walk from Nagano Station. Plenty of beer and wine from around the globe are on offer, but tops are the Shiga Kōgen Highland Ales...