9. Asakusa: Culture exploring bar visits after history tour
This tour focuses on food and drink which constitute an integral pillar of Japan's culture and history.
The tour starts with a non-gastronomical part. Away from daytime bustling and jostling, immerse yourself in incredibly serene Asakusa and listen to our guide recounting its history. Savor subtle and profound beauty of historic landmarks lit up by night illumination.
Step back and forth in time with us as we help you navigate the softly illuminated charming streets of Asakusa, guiding you to the best spots to satisfy your eyes and curiosity.
After discovering Asakusa's charm, make your way to three distinct but typical izakaya restaurants. Izakaya is a place where locals come typically with co-workers and friends to relax away from the daily grind. Since Izakaya is commoners' favorite place, the offerings there are unassuming but closely tied to Japan's history and culture. The guide will help you unlock the myth of Japanese cuisine as you see how locals unwind there.
The first izakaya visit is to the Hoppy Street.
This 80-meter street is lined up by izakayas with lanterns and outdoor street-side seating. They are open day and night but become festive and lively especially after dark with happy customers.
Their typical offerings are Hoppy and stew made from beef tendons and vegetables. Both are cheap and come from the post-war era when people could not afford decent meals or beer. Hoppy is a a beverage with a taste similar to beer but a very low alcohol content. It is typically mixed with shochu to make a cocktail. People back then substituted Hoppy for beer.
Nowadays many enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere there and rediscover the charm of their offerings.
We are now heading to Kamiya Bar - almost a legend in that the bar was established in 1880 making it the oldest Western-style bar in Japan. However, quite unlike the way its name sounds, it is actually a Western-style izakaya which caters to locals in a friendly and raucous setting as typical izakayas do.
Since its inception, its specialty cocktail "Denki Bran” literally means electric brandy - has been a centerpiece of its offerings and loved by many. When the cocktail was invented, electricity symbolized modernization. Therefore, electricity meant everything modern that was adored. Enjoy Denki Bran - a sweet blend of wine, gin and brandy - whose recipe has been and is still now a secret.
The last izakaya we visit specializes in sake with incredible varieties in stock. The guide will help you understand key factors about sake such as ...
1) Why it developed in Japan.
2) Which ingredients play a key role to make good sake.
3) What are key differences in the production process between sake and wine.
4) What determines its grades.
Taste several types of sake. Discover how distinctly different it is in terms of its appearance, aroma, texture, and flavor. Toward the end of this tour, you will find what types of sake suit your taste.