The Best Places to Drink Wine in Tokyo

The Japanese people, known famously for embracing perfection in all its forms, have lovingly applied this penchant to their flourishing wine culture. Whether it’s high-end Burgundy (Tokyo has an unusually high concentration of high-end restaurants) you’re after or non-interventionist wine from the shirtless prophets of France’s Ardèche region, Tokyo is wine’s most dynamic modern mecca. While wines of all stripes are tucked into Tokyo’s drinking landscape, it’s natural wine that’s grabbed ahold of the city’s collective imagination and proliferated, making the backstreets of Roppongi and Ebisu among the best places to drink cult wines from Métras to Ganevat outside of Paris. —Anna Tyack

[Ed. note: For ease in navigating with locals and taxis, all addresses are included in Japanese at the end of each venue’s description.]

  • 1

    Ahiru Store

    Teruhiko Saito and his sister co-own Ahiru Store, one the best, geekiest, hard-to-find natural wine bars in Japan. The tucked-away space in Tomigaya boasts one large seated counter, a few standing barrels and a menu of exceptional charcuterie. It's almost always packed, so either book in advance or show up on the early side. (Ahiru Store: 渋谷区富ヶ谷1-19-4)    

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • French wine
    • Japanese wine
    • Italian wine
    • full menu
  • 2

    Bunon

    While many of Tokyo's most famous natural wine bars have borrowed from their Parisian brethren, Bunon represents a true Japanese appropriation of the concept, from the service to the food to the décor. Located on a back alley in Nishi-Azabu and inside a completely restored Japanese house, the space exhibits a calm not often associated with bar culture. Natural wines from all over Europe and an extensive list of sakes—many of which are available via a constantly rotating list of wines by the glass—are paired with excellent Japanese fare. (Bunon 葡呑: 港区西麻布4-2-14)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • natural wine
    • lots of sake
  • 3

    Kinasse

    Located in a concealed basement space in Hatagaya, Kinasse is home to Tokyo's most extensive collection of artisanal Japanese wine from the likes of Nora Kura, Coco Farm & Winery, Beau Paysage, Shion Winery, Domaine Takahiko, Yamazaki Winery, Soleil Winery, Hitomi Winery and many more. While the bar also features a small collection of indie Australian wines, Kinasse is really where you go to drink native wines that are virtually impossible to find outside of Tokyo. (Kinasse: 渋谷区幡ヶ谷1-3-1 幡ヶ谷ゴールデンセンター B1F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • Japanese wine
    • Australian wine
  • 4

    La Pioche

    In May 2013 Shinya Hayashi opened the doors to this terrific French bistro in Tokyo's business district. While a somewhat unlikely location for a natural wine bar, La Pioche has gained an instant following, thanks, in large part, to Shinya-san. An all-out Japanese Francophile, his wine list focuses on the wines of France (though it does venture into other parts of the world as well) with a particular emphasis on gamay from both Beaujolais and the Loire. In addition to the extensive wine list, the bar serves a constantly rotating menu of French-inspired chargrilled fish, meat and game, charcuterie and a wide variety of ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • French wine
    • full menu
  • 5

    Le Verre Volé à Tokyo

    After spending six years in France—including four years at the original Le Verre Volé—Ryotaro Miyauchi returned to his native Japan to open a Tokyo outpost of the famed Parisian wine bar. The spirit of the original—from the bistro chairs to provincial rusticity to traditional French bistro fare—are very much alive and well here. The bar gets packed in the evenings and reservations are a must on the weekends, but if you can't grab a seat bottles are also available for takeaway. (Le Verre Volé à Tokyo: 目黒区目黒4-10-7)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • French wine
    • craft beer
    • vintage wine
    • full menu
  • 6

    Shonzui

    Shonzui, which opened in 1993, is one of the original forbearers of the natural wine movement in Tokyo. Run by Shinsaku Katsuyama, one of Japan's most beloved wine personalities, the bar has not skipped a beat since opening. Like many of Tokyo's wine bars, Shonzui is not easy to find (it's located on the second floor of a modern office building) and, as such, remains a destination rather than a bar you're likely to wander into. Expect an enthusiastic mix of industry people, natural wine lovers, locals and Roppongi salarymen. (Shonzui 祥瑞: 港区六本木7-10-2 三河屋伊藤ビル 2F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • French wine
    • vintage wine
    • Japanese wine
    • full menu
  • 7

    Winestand Waltz

    Yasuhiro Ooyama, also known locally as the "wine professor," proudly serves a super eclectic selection of natural wines from Europe and Japan in this pocket-sized, standing-only Ebisu bar. Ooyama-san is jovial, passionate sommelier, eager to guide you through the extensive collection of wines, so don't hesitate to engage. While the food menu is limited, there are a few gems worth ordering if you're looking for a pre-dinner bite, like Ooyama's famous cake salé (savory French cake). (Winestand Waltz: 渋谷区恵比寿4-24-3 シマダビル 1F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • French wine
    • Japanese wine
    • Italian wine
    • bar food

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