1. Beer-Ma
    Photo: Time Out TokyoBeer-Ma Base
  2. Imadeya Ginza
    Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaImadeya Ginza

Best bottle shops and liquor stores in Tokyo

Looking for Japanese whisky, craft gin, beer or premium sake? These liquor shops in Tokyo have it all

Youka Nagase
Kit Kriewaldt
Written by
Youka Nagase
&
Kit Kriewaldt
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Tokyo has a vibrant drinking scene – and that's not just because the city has an insane number of bars and izakaya. The country is a prolific producer of alcohol, from amazing sake and exceptional whisky to craft beer, artisanal gin and wine.

Whether you're a collector or just an enthusiast, these liquor shops in Tokyo offer extensive collections of rare bottles, from gift-ready one-cup sake to limited-edition Japanese whisky and more. Best of all, some of these speciality shops even offer tastings for around ¥100 – so you can explore new labels before deciding on a purchase or three. 

RECOMMENDED: Head straight to the source with Tokyo's best urban breweries, wineries and distilleries

Hit the bottle

  • Shopping
  • World food
  • Shibuya

At this Shibuya shop, you’ll find fridges where craft beer from across Japan stands beside classic Bavarian lagers and medieval Belgian ales, while the wine section also offers a globetrotting array of vino, including champagne and sherry.

Naturally, there’s sake and shochu on offer, and the selection of spirits is almost overwhelming. You’ll find a large range of mostly American and Scotch whisky, but there are also drinks you don’t often see on shelves in Japan, like Greek ouzo, Dutch advocaat and orange bitters.

There's imported food, too, making Yamaya a one-stop shop if you’re planning a cocktail party. You can pick up quality rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice for your piña coladas, plus gin, vermouth and olives for your martinis. On your way out, grab some snacks, mixers and something for dinner – evening sorted.

  • Shopping
  • Shinjuku

Shinanoya has branches across Tokyo, but Shinanoya Shinjuku specialises in spirits, and whisky in particular. You’ll find some premium Japanese varieties including Nikka, Suntory and Ichiro’s, but most of the bottles are imported. There’s plenty of American bourbon and rye, plus hard-to-find Scotch and Irish whiskies, too. Keep an eye out for limited-edition single malts and releases from smaller craft labels. Sometimes, Shinanoya even sells exclusive bottlings from Scotch distilleries that you just won’t find anywhere else.

Prices vary with the bottles, but there’s something to suit every budget. If you’re not sure what to choose, ask one of the friendly staff to help, or ask for a taste test – you can have a nip of some of the spirits for just ¥100 each.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Ebisu

Night Owl is one of the few liquor stores in Tokyo where you can purchase alcohol by volume. Take home an ever-changing range of local and international craft beers, wine, cider and kombucha in reusable growler containers. Bring your own, or purchase one at the store – sizes range from 250ml to 2L. Plus, you can always sample a few brews before making a purchase.

If beer and wine aren't your thing, Night Owl has you covered, too. There's an eclectic roster of obscure yet enticing spirits on offer, ranging from Tasmanian whisky to Italian aperitifs and German gin.

  • Shopping
  • Grocery stores
  • Kanda

Global Gin Gallery may be just a slip of a store, but it certainly holds its ground in the gin department, with over 100 local and international varieties on offer. Aside from a respectable collection of Japanese gin labels including Komasa and Ki No Bi, you’ll also find imported goodies such as Australia’s grape-laced Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin, France’s crisp and floral Audemus Pink Pepper Gin, and Sweden’s award-winning Hernö Old Tom Gin. 

The shelves are lined with bottles sporting a dazzling array of labels. If you're not sure what to get, you can opt for a tasting at ¥200, or get help from the knowledgeable owner. Even drinkers who aren’t quite so into the juniper spirit will find something here, since the store also sells a small selection of whisky and craft beer.

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Liquors Hasegawa
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Nihonbashi

Located in underground shopping mall Yaesu Chikagai, right by Tokyo Station, Hasegawa carries a truly extraordinary selection of sake, shochu, craft beer, whisky and other types of hard liquor. With exotic bottles of single malt decorating its shelves, the shop feels almost like a museum of booze – even better, it’s interactive. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the store has stopped offering ¥100 tastings of bottles in stock.

  • Shopping
  • Off licences
  • Ueno

Bottle Off is stocked with second-hand booze going all the way back to the 60s. The focus here is on spirits – there’s no beer and only a small wine selection – and you’re likely to find bottles you just won’t see anywhere else in Tokyo. It’s a great place to snag a bargain.

Sure, the glass cabinet is full of hard-to-find whiskies with price tags to make your eyes water, but the open shelves have obscure liqueurs from around the world for as little as ¥1,000. Then there’s the promotional bottles of shochu, plus brandies in decorative decanters, and everything in between. Have a browse and you’ll feel like you’re looking through your globetrotting grandfather’s liquor cabinet. If you can’t decide, go for one of the mixed sets of random miniature bottles – they make a great lucky dip gift for the drinker who has everything.

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  • Shopping
  • Ginza

The Ginza outlet of Liquor Mountain, which has over 180 locations throughout Japan, certainly lives up to its name with an impressive selection of Japanese and international whiskies. Around 800 types of whisky are stocked here, including the rare and elusive Hibiki, which usually sells out moments after it hits the shelves each month. Having so many options can be a little overwhelming, so consult the in-house certified whisky experts and ask for a tasting before you decide – most bottles in stock can be sampled from just ¥100.

  • Shopping
  • Off licences
  • Ginza

Whether it’s sake, shochu, beer, spirits or wine (domestic or imported) you’re after, this elegant bottle shop in Ginza Six fits the bill. You’ll be spoilt for choice: Imadeya Ginza carries between 400 and 500 types of sake, plus up to 500 varieties of other liquors. It’s also one of the best places in Tokyo for tracking down rare, boutique booze. Think shochu aged for 11 years, with a taste that errs on the side of whisky; vodka made from rice; sparkling sake; and gin from Hiroshima infused with Japanese cypress, local oyster shells and cherry blossoms. The neatly organised refrigerators and shelves have English labels, and knowledgeable English-speaking staff are on hand to assist you.

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  • Shopping
  • Kita-Senju

Looking like a nondescript warehouse, Beer-ma is a bottle shop specialising in craft beers from around the world. You enter via the reception on the second floor, and the staff will admit you into the massive walk-in chiller on the first floor, where you take your pick from a selection of about 1,200 varieties (note: bring a jacket, it's cold in there). Head back up to the second floor to make your payment; there's also limited seating here for you to enjoy your purchase straightaway.

  • Shopping
  • Gifts and souvenirs
  • Araiyakushi-mae

Hidden deep in Nakano, this bottle shop has been in business for over 60 years. It started out as a food store but the shelves are now stocked with a dizzying variety of Japanese sake. Since the manager has a passion for camping and enjoying sake on-the-go, over 120 kinds of single-serve cup sake dominate the shelves. These iconic mini sake (180ml) feature imaginative label designs and are priced affordably, between ¥300 and ¥500, making them perfect as souvenirs. Don’t forget to browse the snack selection – the smoked pickled radish is a treat with cream cheese, and makes for a phenomenal pairing for any sake or wine you find in-store.

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