If you’re looking for the essence of Japanese sake, the first place you should go to is an “izakaya” (traditional Japanese pub). At an izakaya, you can try sake and delicious side dishes unique to Japan. While izakaya serve simple food, the flavor is out of this world, and the atmosphere inside is the perfect representation of regular Japanese folk! Here we introduce two highly recommended dining districts on the way from Ueno, Tokyo to Narita Airport.
Try Hoppy, a drink unique to Japan!
Asakusa Hoppy Street is located to the left and just behind Nakamise Shopping Street on the way to Sensoji Temple. Tens of izakaya are squeezed so tightly on the street that they set up booths out front, and you can see a real old-fashioned neighborhood frequented by locals.
Hoppy is a beer-style drink unique to Japan, and it is commonly mixed with shochu (a hard liquor made from rice). Hoppy has a somewhat crisper taste than beer, and one bottle of it is usually enough to mix with two glasses of shochu.
Side dishes served with Hoppy vary widely depending on where you try it, but usual side dishes offered by most establishments include oden (various foods boiled in broth) and tsukemono (pickled foods). You can have a great time sampling foods offered by various restaurants at Hoppy Street.
See the mecca of standing bars frequented by connoisseurs!
Keisei Tateishi Station is just a 10-minute ride from Asakusa on the Keisei Oshiage Line, which is directly connected by the Toei Subway Asakusa Line. This area is a mecca for standing bars frequented by connoisseurs. Many of the establishments open from the afternoon on weekdays. In the evening, housewives from nearby neighborhoods gather at nearby delicatessens, filling the area with energy.
Exit the ticket gate of Keisei Tateishi Station and go down the staircase on the right where you will see Tateishi Nakamise Shopping Street, an atmospheric covered shopping arcade. 20 standing bars fit into the narrow street. Here you can find the old-fashioned scenery of this working-class residential and commercial district.
The prices are affordable at every establishment, and 1,000 yen will be enough to get you a drink and two side dishes. Spend your night like a local by stopping by at a couple bars, then eating four or five servings of sushi at the authentic, old-fashioned Tokyo sushi restaurant closest to the entrance of the arcade.