Tokyo is currently undergoing redevelopment said to happen once every 100 years. As a result, there are fewer and fewer scenes of old retro townscapes remaining. 

In the town of Yanaka, located west of JR Nippori Station, the retro townscape remains unchanged from past times due to the local residents' desire to "preserve the old townscape." You can still feel the traces of the past in the Yanaka Ginza shopping street, the kitchen of Yanaka's people.

However, amidst this unchanged shopping street, there are also new stylish stores. One of them is "CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya."

This shop where you can casually enjoy Japanese sake is located on the 2nd floor of the "Magazan Yanaka" building constructed in 2019. The modern shop in the building with distinctive large windows blends into the retro townscape and is likely to become a new symbol of Yanaka.

Reasons to Recommend CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya

High-Quality Sake from 550 Yen per Glass

Source: Tabelog

At "CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya," you can mainly enjoy "CRAFT sake." In Japan, "CRAFT sake" refers to sake made not by famous large-scale manufacturers but by small, regional breweries and sake breweries deeply rooted in their local areas.

Sake meticulously crafted by artisans has a unique flavor imbued with their passion. Here, over 80 varieties of CRAFT sake from all over Japan are available.

Not only the variety but also the price is reasonable, at 550 yen (tax included) for any drink! You can casually enjoy sake, beer, highballs, and fruit liquors made with pride by artisans from all over the country. They particularly focus on sake, so you may encounter rare varieties.

A Variety of Small Dishes Also for 550 Yen

Source: Tabelog

In addition to drinks, there is also a wide variety of dishes, all priced at 550 yen.

The signature menu item is the "Smoked Bacon Potato Salad." The piquant mustard and smoky aroma of the bacon create a sophisticated flavor, perfectly paired with alcohol – a true signature dish!

My personal recommendation is the tuna sashimi. The sashimi is directly delivered from Toyosu Market, ensuring freshness and a plump texture. Sashimi is a popular drinking snack in Japan. If you're overwhelmed by the extensive menu, order the "Seasonal 7-Piece Assortment." 

It includes popular items like potato salad, along with Japanese drinking snacks like soy-marinated squid and boiled vegetables in a vinegar dressing that pairs well with beer – a great value set that changes with the seasons, allowing you to enjoy seasonal ingredients.

During summer, the shop mainly offers shaved ice desserts, with potato salad as the only available savory dish.

Exquisite Shaved Ice in Summer

Shaved ice
Source: Tabelog

During summer, Yanaka Junmai-ya turns into a shaved ice shop. (In 2024, the shaved ice shop will be open from May 11 to September 29.)

Spring water is stored in a reservoir and frozen over a long period using the winter cold of Nikko. These days, artisans who make natural ice are dwindling, making it a rare commodity. Yanaka Junmai-ya uses this precious natural ice.  

Shaved ice made from natural ice has a light, fluffy texture and won't give you a brain freeze. It also melts slower than artificially frozen ice. 

The creative shaved ice flavors like Uji matcha green tea, Wasambon lemon, and apricot yogurt all evoke a sense of Japanese tradition and sound delightfully refreshing for summer! Even during summer, you can still enjoy alcoholic beverages, with shaved ice as a perfect hydrating dessert.

Quick Drinks or Leisurely Drinks

Yanaka Junmaiya Inside
Source: Tabelog

As the name "SAKE STAND" suggests, Yanaka Junmai-ya is a standing bar where you can casually enjoy drinks. The two large open tables are perfect for standing and drinking. It's great for when you want a quick drink or an after-work tipple.

While it has a standing bar image, there are also seated tables where you can relax and drink. The window-side tables overlook the shopping street, allowing you to enjoy the view while sipping your beverage.

During the day, you can take in the lively shopping street scene. At night, it becomes a bit more romantic, making it a nice date spot. The seated tables are popular, so make a reservation if you definitely want to sit.

With an extensive menu of drinks and snacks at reasonable prices, and the ability to enjoy them casually, this is a versatile spot suitable as your first or second stop of the night.

How to Enjoy CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya

Do a Sake Tasting

seasonal sake
Source: Tabelog

At Yanaka Junmai-ya, which gathers CRAFT sake from across Japan, you can sample different varieties at your own pace to suit your mood. With a focus on sake but also including shochu, beer, and fruit liquors, over 80 varieties are always displayed in the large glass case! It's exciting to think, "Which one should I try today?"

As the sake brewing process differs by season, the selection available also changes seasonally. In spring, you can enjoy fresh "Namazake"; in summer, crisp "Summer Sake"; in fall, mellow "Hiyaoroshi"; and in winter, fruity "Shiboritare." Each visit offers a new sake experience.  

They even stock premium high-end sake, so consider yourself lucky if you encounter one! The serving size of 60-70ml per glass is perfect for tasting multiple varieties.

How to Order at CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya

chicket machine
Source: Tabelog

All menu items at Yanaka Junmai-ya are priced at a flat 550 yen (tax included). The ordering system uses tickets. First, purchase a 550 yen ticket from the vending machine.  

Next, on the order sheet listing the menu items, write down the quantity of what you want to order, and submit it along with the corresponding number of tickets to the order window at the counter. Premium sake and larger dishes may require 2 tickets, so it's recommended to check the menu on the order sheet before purchasing tickets.

Sets of 8 tickets cost 4,000 yen and sets of 10 tickets cost 4,950 yen, giving a discount for purchasing more tickets. If you plan to order a lot, it's better to get one of these sets.

In Japan, this system of purchasing tickets in advance and presenting them when ordering is common at many establishments. I often encounter it at ramen shops as well. I like this system because you can leave without paying at the end, making it very casual.

Access to CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya

- Address: 2F Magazan Yanaka, 3-11-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- From Tokyo Station, take the Yamanote Line inbound to Nippori Station, exit the North Exit, go through Gotenzaka, 5 min walk
- From Keisei Line Nippori Station, exit North Exit, go through Gotenzaka, 6 min walk  
- From Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Sendagi Station, Exit 2, 5 min walk

Recommended Usage

With its open and inviting atmosphere and wide variety of reasonably priced drinks, this popular Yanaka spot is always lively. The clean interior is completely non-smoking, making it popular with women, and you'll even see families with children visiting. Strollers are allowed inside.

It's recommended for both those wanting to casually stand and drink or sit down for a longer session. However, if you want to secure a seated table, making a reservation in advance is essential. They do not offer takeaway.

Online reservations are accepted until 10 am on the day of your visit. After that, you'll need to call. They also accept phone reservations for large group bookings of the entire space. Having a party while overlooking the shopping street sounds fun.

Note that during the shaved ice season in summer, they do not accept reservations.

CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmai-ya

- Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm-9pm / Sat, Sun & Holidays 10:30am-9pm
- Address: 2F Magazan Yanaka, 3-11-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 050-5869-1633  
- URL:
- Instagram:  

During the shaved ice season in summer, hours are 11 am-7 pm on weekends/holidays only. Weekdays are closed. Alcohol is available but food is limited to the smoked bacon potato salad.