29/10/2020

Bars, Sake, and Beers in Kyoto that You Shouldn't Miss!

Drinking for many can be the last activity of the day, but for some, it is the beginning! Kyoto is also home to some famous craft beer breweries, sake establishments and unique bars. New or visiting? Here are some bars and pubs in Kyoto that you simply should visit. 


Table of Contents

  1. Japanese Drinking Culture
  2. Heart of Drinking Culture in Japan
  3. Some Popular Bars in Kyoto
  4. Take Part in the Drinking Culture

Japanese Drinking Culture

Many people from around the world drink wine and alcoholic beverages to unwind and party alone or with friends. Others decide to go for a drink in order to distract themselves from stress, anxieties, and even heartaches. However, drinking in Japan is not just a recreational activity. Drinking is part of their culture.

Japanese people consider drinking as an opportunity to interact with other people and form significant connections. This is especially common among employees and employers. It has been part of their culture to have a drinking session with coworkers after work. They believe that spending time with their colleagues outside the workplace provides them the opportunity to know and understand each other more. And that understanding is crucial in forming camaraderie at work. For this reason, you can expect to see coworkers spending a good time at bars, izakayas, and beer houses at night.

Craft Beer in Japan

Beer is the most popular and consumed alcoholic drink in Japan. In fact, Japanese beer is well-known in other parts of the world as well because of its high quality and taste. In the present, craft beers have been getting more popularity in the country. Craft beer is different from regular beer as small-scale breweries produce craft beer while giant corporations brew regular beer. Craft beer, most of the time, has a stronger flavor because it has a more refined recipe compared to the regular beer that is usually mass-produced in factories. So, if you are into stronger and more flavorful beer, you should definitely try some craft beer in Japan. Below are some of the breweries you may visit while in Kyoto.

Some Craft Beer Breweries in Kyoto to Visit

Bungalow

“Bungalow” has a great array of quality craft beers from all over Japan. There are 10 regular beers available on tap. You can also partner your craft beer with delicious dishes like the freshly baked bread from their amazing food menu to complete your experience.

Beer House Craftsman

If you are looking for more beer choices, Beer House Craftsman has the largest collection of craft beers in Kyoto. There are 25 on tap available here - you’ll definitely find the beer that suits your palate best.

Kyoto Brewing Company

For a more relaxed beer experience, try out some of the fresh craft beers available in Kyoto Brewing Company. There are 6 beers on tap that you can choose from and then enjoy your drink in the outside sitting area or finish your glass inside. 

Heart of Drinking Culture in Japan

Japanese Sake

If you are interested in traditional Japanese cuisine, you have to try the famous Japanese sake in Japan itself. Sake - or nihonshu as it’s called in Japan - is fermented rice wine known for its distinct and special taste. This traditional liquor has been in Japan for ages and it is considered the heart of the Japanese drinking culture. Through the years, there are already different variations of Japanese sake and they have gained popularity in other countries as well. So, on your next Japan visit, do not waste the opportunity to taste this traditional drink in the place where it originated. 

Recommended Sake Bars in Kyoto

There are many sake bars and restaurants that serve sake in Kyoto. Here a few of these bars wherein you can give yourself a nice sake experience:

Takahashi

Your go-to place for affordable sake should be Takahashi. The place is small with less than 15 available seats. It is great for a group of friends or families to enjoy sake in a quiet, peaceful, yet beautiful place.

Yoramu

We’ve mentioned Yoramu before in our Kyoto Nightlife article (linked at the end!), but it’s not a list about sake without it! If you’re not too familiar with sake, it’s a great option as the kind owner will walk you through your experience!

Suiba Shijo Kawaramachi

This standing bar also offers affordable but quality sake. There is also an array of side dishes that you can choose from like sashimi and dumplings to partner with your sake. As its guests would always say, Suiba is “cheap, delicious, and trendy”.

Sakana-to O-sake Gotoshi

Partner your sake with delicious sushi in Sakana-to O-sake Gotoshi. This is a small sushi and sake bar that you can visit for a satisfying sushi-sake escapade. 

Some Popular Bars in Kyoto

Atlantis

The best bar to visit in summer is Atlantis wherein you can enjoy a nice cocktail, like their mojitos, on the famous Kamogawa riverside. Atlantis is most favored by young people because of its laid back atmosphere. However, just a heads up that when summer is over, the outdoor chairs and tables aren’t set up, so make sure to visit in summer for the full experience.

Calvador

Visit this top bar in Japan where you can find the world’s largest collection of calvados. Calvador is pretty small in size but it is massive when it comes to its wide array of liquor, not just calvados but also some other amazing options. This place is perfect for people who want to have a great drinking experience. 

Stopover to the Other Bars in Town

Aside from those famous bars, there are many bars out there that are worth your visit. Check out a few of them:

Beer Komachi

Try out some amazing local and international craft beers in one of the best craft beer bars in Kyoto - Beer Komachi. It is certainly a place to visit for craft beer tasting because most on the drink menu are craft beers and only a few other liquors. You can also expect a warm and friendly atmosphere in the bar which makes most tourists really comfortable.

Bar K6

Your Kyoto bar hopping will never be complete without stepping into the mother of all bars in Kyoto - Bar K6. This place is extraordinary because of its enormous collection of sakes that reaches up to 1,200 varieties. It also features lots ofScottish whiskey and even food like pizza and many more. 

Fishbowl

Speaking of varieties, you might also want to check out Fishbowl. It is a popular bar especially for tourists because of its great assortment of drinks - almost anything you could want -  and English-speaking staff. Aside from cocktails, they have a wide range of food as well to keep your stomach satisfied.

Take Part in the Drinking Culture

Tourist spots and establishments are mostly closed at night in Kyoto. So, in order to maximize your stay, why don’t you experience the hype nightlife in Kyoto and take part in the amazing drinking culture of Japan. There are so many bars, pubs, and izakayas in Kyoto that can provide you with a great selection of craft beers, sakes, and other liquors partnered with delicious side dishes and snacks. 

Also check out our article on Kyoto Nightlife for more!

Kyoto Nightlife: Sing, Drink, Dance and Enjoy your Evening while in Japan

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