Izakaya are small pubs, usually specializing in sake, but here are two craft beer establishments. They serve a succession of small, but wonderful, snacks with each beer one orders. The reader would be wise to go with a Japanese-speaking friend when searching for such nomiya (pubs).
Popeye’s Ji-Biiru Izakaya
2-18-7 Ryogoku Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0026; tel. 03-3633-2120
How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR (Japan Railway, not a subway) Yamanote line (yellow-green) north to Akihabara (two stops: Kanda & Akihabara). At Akihabara (Tokyo’s Electric City), switch to JR Soobu line (yellow) east two stops (Asakasubashi and Ryoogoku, just over the Sumida River). On this trip, board a car at the tail end of the eastbound train, and on leaving (Ryoogoku), go back to exit the west-end ticket gate. The Japan National Ryoogoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium is located at this stop and can be seen to the right (north). To the right (east) of the Sumo Stadium is the wonderful Edo-Tokyo Museum, itself worth a trip to Japan.
Once outside the ticket wicket, go left (south) on the first cross street, one intersection, turn left again (east) up that street about 75 yards. Popeye’s is on the right just past a small parking lot.
Masaharu Yamada’s Restaurant and Bar Bois Cereste
2-13-21 B1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, tel. 03-3588-6292, e-mail [email protected]
This is a very small place. However, Mr. Yamada has 150 Belgian beers in his cellar and he sells no other beer type. Take a cab to get there. Tokyo cabs are not expensive, but you’d be wise to get to the Akasaka district by subway, then take a cab. Mr. Yamada speaks English and travels to Belgium every year to find additions to his great beer selection.