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Tanakaya

Not Rated.
TanakayaTanakaya
BA SCORE
98
world-class

18 Ratings
Ratings: 18
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 5.88%
[ Store ]

3-4-14 Mejiro, Toshima-ku
Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, 171-0031
Japan
phone: 03-3953-8888

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Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: RobBeer)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sharkboy
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of distantmantra
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I just saw that I hadn't reviewed this place yet, and since I stopped in again this week I thought I'd document my thoughts on this wonderful store.

Close to the Meijiro stop off the Yamanote line. You have to walk down some stairs that appear to lead to a narrow alley to find the entrance. Alternatively you can take an elevator from street level but it's not well marked (at least to my American eyes). The store is laid out for easy shopping, with all beer in coolers to the right of the entrance. Categorized by country, with the largest selection from Belgium, followed by USA and then maybe Japan (or maybe Germany).

There are some Belgian beers that I've only previously seen in one other place (Dranken Geers near Gent), also quite a few that you often see in the States. Notably I saw Westvleteren bricks earlier this year (not on my recent visit though), similar pricing to what was available in the USA.

If I lived in Tokyo I suspect I'd stop here often for the USA IPAs, they're pricy but it's nice that they're available. The Japanese beers (ji-biru means craft beer) would be fun to work through too.

Misc notes: Lots of glassware from all over the globe, good selection of sake and shochu and other drinks as well.

Photo of yuichituba
4.52/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

When I visited a couple years ago, the owner had 2 boxes of each Westy's (blonde, 8, & 12. ¥3000 for each bottle. This store was craaazy.

Ironically the beer buyer doesn't drink beer at all. This elderly Japanese man just reads up on tasting notes. He took a liking to me though, if you know what I mean.

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.26/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

After a year and a half in Korea I almost ejaculated when I entered this beautiful looking bottle shop. Been there twice in as many years now.

LOCATION: Just turn left out of Mejiro station and it's a few shops down.

SERVICE: A little on the cold side by Japanese standards but by no means unfriendly.

RANGE: The emphasis is clearly on Belgian beer but there's a whole fridge of American stuff. Like me, if you're after English and German styles you'll be disappointed though what little they have got is pretty good. For some reason Scottish beer is MASSIVELY overrepresented. The Brewdog selection alone takes up most of a shelf in the UK section. The Japanese selection is piss poor but then Japanese craft beer is a bit shit.

PRICES: For non-special beers about ¥585-685. JW Less cost ¥1,000 each, about £7.

OTHER: There were loads spirits and a great selection of beer glasses, too.

Photo of drgarage
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I went over here based on numerous recommendations during my first visit to Tokyo in late November. I won't do much to add to the texture of other reviewers, so I'll just note some of the ludicrous finds I had (none of which I managed to purchase -- low on time in a cash-only store in a society that hates American ATM cards!).

-- 375s of Cantillon Geuze, Kriek, and Rose, each 800 yen
-- Lost Abbey/Brewdog collab Lost Dog for 2000 yen
-- Brewdog/Mikkeller/Nogne Tokyo Black Horizon blend
-- HotD Bourbon Fred from the Wood 2012 (?!) for an outrageous 3500 yen
-- 50/50 BART 2011 for a totally reasonable (for Tokyo) 1800 yen

Just go. It's like no other bottle shop in the world.

Photo of shigg85
4.73/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Found this spirits shops here on BA and decided to check it out for myself. Very convenient location -- right outside the Mejiro exit off the Yamanote line in Tokyo. The look of the establishment can only be described as classy... classy to the very end. A great wine cellar, lots of Japanese sake, world spirits, and of course the bottled brews. I walked out with a Trappistes Wesvleteren 8 and a Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Good prices on all bottled beers I found, even the imports. The only negative aspect of the store was the service. The bubble wrap around my glass held up on the way home, but it was done pretty "tekito" as we say in Japanese (shoddy wrapping). Furthermore, they did not offer any kind of gift wrapping for bottled beers. They only have bags which they sell for $.75 that fit a bottle of wine. Also, my cashier woman was a bit sleepy looking and not very friendly to chat with... maybe hung over? Haha. I'm not sure. Regardless, I will definitely be hitting this place up at least monthly to buy my bottled beers and my glassware. Worth a visit if you're in or around Tokyo!

Photo of mdvatab
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Was fortunate to have an extra couple hours on my last evening in Tokyo during a recent business trip, and dropped by Tanakaya. Having read the comments on BA and other sites, I had been looking forward to this visit from the time I learned I'd be going to Tokyo last Fall.

After walking straight out of Mejiro Station, hang a left on the street that runs in front of the station. Pass Zoka coffee shop on the left, and you will find Tanakaya on the same (left) side of the street a few shops down. Tanakaya is located in a basement shop.

The interior of store is literally that of a liquor/wine/beer cellar. I'd say 1/2 of the store is wine, 1/4 of the store is liquor and 1/4 of the store is beer. The beer is stored behind 8 or so wooden-framed glass doors, and is kept at perfect cellar temperature. 12oz, 11.2oz, and other smaller format bottles are on the top shelves behind each door. Larger format bottles are laid down on their sides. Because the labels on the bigger bottles can be hard to read, and the shelf tags are all in Japanese, it may be necessary to pull out the bottles one at a time to read the labels. The store is well-lit (but no bright lighting) and very clean.

After running through the selection, and having several "Holy Crap!" moments, I ran back to the door to grab a basket. The selection in this place is NUTS! They definitely don't have the biggest selection I've ever seen, but that was fine. The buyer obviously knows what he's doing, and has very carefully selected what he's going to stock.

I was wondering what, exactly I'd find here. Kate? Westy 12? Stormaktsporter? Blabaer? When I asked the beer manager whether they had any of these, he said "they'd sold out". ("So they had these at some point?!?!?", I thought.) While they didn't have these, I was floored at what they did have. Many hard-to-find Belgian, German, British, and American brews. I wound up grabbing as many as I thought I could fit into my luggage-- some awesome finds I'd never seen anywhere in the States.

I give the place 5's across the board. The staff was extremely helpful. The beer manager even went back and grabbed one more bottle of one of the items that appeared to be sold-out. The clerks wrote the names of the brands on the receipt for me, and also gave me directions to where I was headed from Mejiro Station.

My only reservation is with regard to pricing. Most of the beers are imported, the Yen is strong, and I was buying with US dollars that I'd exchanged into Yen. While this is not the fault of the store, be prepared to spend 10,000 to 20,000 Yen (~$130-$260). With only a few bottles, I hit the middle of this range.

Needless to day, I hope I'm back in Tokyo again in another year or two. And when I am, I'll definitely be hitting Tanakaya. Very highly recommended!

Photo of Jonathan604
4.2/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

This place is crazy. I could easily have spent $1000 here. They have an amazing collection of US beers I can’t even find in Canada...

The beer ’fridge’ is a work of art, all wooden. Japanese beer selection was a little weak, but they had some good ones like Isseki Nicho and a few Baird seasonals.

Lots of rare Brewdog, Mikkeller, and Nogne O. Hair of the Dog, Dogfish, Stone. Russian River. Expensive, but about what it would cost me in Canada. If you’re in Tokyo and love alcohol of any kind it’s worth a visit or two!

Photo of msabin
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by Tanakaya the other day on the way out of Tokyo to Saitama and was pleasantly surprised,

All the department stores I`d been to had no craft beer at all, except for maybe the occasional Ginga Kogen White or Pale. In terms of selection, this place was a Godsend. They had a large number of US brews I can`t get in my home state (Russian River, Hair of the Dog, Green Flash, Boulevard, Maui) as well as a decent number of beers from the UK, Belgium, and Germany. Plus, multiple Cantillon 375 ml bottles for about 875 yen (can`t beat that)! The Japanese selection was also pretty good. Found some Minoh stuff I wasn`t able to get on tap at their bar, plus plenty of Baird, Daisen G, Ise Kadoya, and a few smaller brands. What really impressed me was that all the beer was kept in some form of a cooler. I can`t recall any bottles sitting out in the open. Oh, they also have a nice range of brewery-specific glassware at really good prices.

They also have an exceptional Scotch selection spanning several walls. Rounding out the other alcohols is a decent selection of shochu, sake, and a separate room for wine.

The only thing I was disappointed with was their small selection of Japanese whiskey. It was pretty much only 6-8 different bottles of rare Ichiro`s Malt brand. While it`s awesome they had such a rare selection, at the same time I was more in the market for something under 9,000 plus yen.

The prices were pretty reasonable for Japan and I ended up feeling like I got a pretty good deal, given the higher prices of craft beer in this country.

Overall, I will definitely be making a trip back here before I leave. With good prices, a great selection, and a nice atmosphere why wouldn`t I?

Photo of basica
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%

Easily accessible from Mejiro JR station; turn left and walk for a minute and it a basement shop just beside the MacDonalds.

A beer shop with a nice ambience to aid selection to start with. Next is the amazing selection of over 400 international beers including some rare beers. Staff were also friendly and they know their beers!

Some of the notable beers I bought included the Hair of the Dog Cherry Adam, La Trappe Quadrupel Oak Aged, Lion Stout.

Prices were a little on the pricey side but not so by Japan's standards; I would love to have such a beer store in Singapore.

Photo of TylerTallen
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

Located just a minute's walk away from Mejiro Station on the famous Yamanote line, Tanakaya is every bit worth going out of your way for. One of (if not the single) best selections of craft beer I've come across in Japan, it is sure to carry something you'd enjoy drinking.

The beer selection is loosely organized by cooler into country/region, with the States, UK, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, and of course Japan well represented. They must work with most of the primary craft-beer importers in Japan, so if it makes it to the Land of the Rising Sun, then it's probably made it's way to Tanakaya. It wouldn't be uncommon to find things not normally imported, either, so be sure to keep a look out. Perhaps they personally import a select few offerings, or know someone who does it for them, but that is just speculation. Absolutely check out the regularly updated Japanese craft cooler to the side, as seasonals make the rounds. Baird seasonals, Shiga Kogen, Daisen G-biru, Isekadoya, Hitachino Nest, and quite a few others are all well represented.

The prices are pretty standard, considering Japan. Not particularly good, although you do get your value buys here and there. It doesn't feel like I pay too much more for Stone or many Belgians than I would in Chicago, so that's pretty good to me.

One huge plus is that they will ship from the store for you. If you're traveling or simply don't want to lug around your beer haul on the trains, etc, then a pretty reasonable fee will allow you to Takkyubin (courier) it to your house or place of lodging.

Overall, one of the best liquor stores I've been to in Japan. I would much prefer to give them my business, than the huge department stores that get most of higher-end liquor sales. Staff is always ready to help, and will be significantly more knowledgeable than the aforementioned department stores.

Side note: the single best selection of Scotch and whiskey I've come across in Japan, loaded with special and limited releases.

Photo of jeranbrews
4.55/5  rDev -0.9%

This place is less than two min. from Mejiro station on the Tokyo Yamanote loop line. And I'll tell you right away it's worth the trip.

You walk up to the 1st floor entrance that's hard to miss and work your way down the stairs to a warm cedar themed cellar. The numerous whiskey and wine bottles might make you think, "oh it's just another booze shop." But don't worry. Walk around the corner and your eyes will be treated to a wall of 400 plus beers.

There are about 8 lockers full of 50+ beers each. Each organized roughly by country of origin. Expect brews from all along the U.S. West coast (extremely hard to find in Japan), The UK, Germany, Austria, Holland, and of course about 100+ Belgians.

After I picked my jaw off the ground my only problem was choosing.

It's also worth noting that for the amazing selection the prices were very reasonable. Most beers I saw for 5-20% less than other places. Prices ranged from about 250 yen for a well known import like Guinness to around 800 yen for hard to find barley wines and imperial stouts.

I will without a doubt keep going back here as long as I live in Tokyo.

*Note payment is cash only $

Photo of Naerhu
5/5  rDev +8.9%

This place, not to easy to find, is your place to go for craft beer in Tokyo. I have never seen anything like it. Its the shop equivalent to Popeeye. The also have bourbon, wine, rum, you name it, they may have the best selection in Tokyo (okay maybe not for wine).

Price are super cheap for Japan(tho not as cheap as the stuff you can find in the US). I do not know how they do it.

There is an amazing selection of Stone Brewing, JW Lees, Dogfishhead, several avery and more. also best selection of Belgians I have ever seen. The take amazing care of their beers, putting them in appropriately lighted and conditioned cabinets.

There selection of Japanese craft is decent, though its a shame that the way these are displayed, in an ice chest, makes it difficult to see what they have.

Photo of toweringpoo
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

I'd been meaning to check this place out since I'd heard about it almost 2 months ago. I finally went today...

It. Was. Awesome.

When I saw that row of of coolers filled to the brim with beers I never thought I'd see in Japan, I couldn't wipe the smile from my face. It was like Christmas morning when I was 8 (I got my first bike that year. My reaction today was only slightly more restrained in comparison)
I wonder if the employees at this place are used to foreigners coming in there and smiling stupidly as they gaze at what surely must be Tokyo's beer promised land.

Anyway, on to the specifics.
The place itself is super accessible which is nice. 2 minutes from Mejiro station on the Yamanote Line. It's in the basement. The store itself is really nice, you can tell they're doing good business. Everything is wood, very high class feel.
There are about 6 or 7 (can't remember exactly) wood-trimmed coolers with beers (roughly) divided by region. North America, England, Germany, and of course Belgium are very well represented. There's also an open supermarket style cooler(not sure what else to call it) filled with Japanese micros; from which I grabbed beers from Hitachino, Shiga Kogen, and Harvestmoon. Reviews to follow.

Belgians aren't so rare in Japan so I steered clear of them this time and focused on hoppy and big beers I've been missing sooo much. Stone, Dogfish Head, Speakeasy, Green Flash, and others. (mostly west coast, I'm noticing as write this. however, midwest and east coast were pretty well represented as well.)

Prices were as expected for Japan. Expensive. But as we all know, sacrifices must be made.

If you're a beer lover in the tokyo area, go. Go now.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%

Tanakaya is totally, thoroughly awesome. The only comparable selection I've seen in Japan to date was at Mugishu-tei in Sapporo, and that was a bar, not a bottle shop. Especially exciting to me is their spectacular selection of American craft beer: AleSmith, Stone, Southampton, Dogfish Head, Avery, Great Divide, Full Sail, Bear Republic, North Coast, and several others I can't remember are all represented. Among them, many (most?) are what might be called extreme beer-barleywines, IPAs and double IPAs, imperial stouts, wood-aged ales, and the like. These aren't necessarily my favorite styles, but it's always thrilling to find them in Japan because they're so rare here.

They also have a cooler full of Japanese craft beer that seemed small at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it was easily the most comprehensive selection of ji-beer I've ever seen: Baird, Minoh, Iwatekura, Kiuchi, Echigo, Hakusekikan, Swan Lake, Coedo, Yo-Ho, and the list goes on. Even Kyushu is represented with Hideji Beer! I picked up a Harvest Moon Yuzu Ale and a Sankt Gallen El Diablo Barleywine, mostly for the bizarre, opaque violet spire it comes in. I also got an adorable hand-painted ceramic Hitachino Nest cup (their glassware selection is great, too).

And of course, Tanakaya's European selection is fantastic as well. Their assortment of Belgians would be enough to keep any monk-loving yeast-freak happily drunk for months, and their German shelves are stocked with the crème de la crème of Pilseners, Bocks, Doppelbocks, Hefeweizens, Weizenbocks, and Altbiers. The UK section is somewhat small, but I can't call it disappointing thanks to their lineup of barrel-aged J.W. Lee's Harvest Ales, which had me seriously geeking out (these are exceptionally rare in Japan).

Recently there has been some debate in the Beer Advocate Asia group forum as to whether Tanakaya or Tobu is the best beer store in Tokyo. I went to Tobu, too, and having been to both stores, I can't believe this debate ever took place. Tanakaya is absolutely, positively, hands-down, no-doubt-about-it the better beer store. I can't say for sure, but it is probably the best in Japan. Definitely worth a visit, whether you live in Japan or you're just visiting.

Photo of nouseforotacon
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%

Mejiro is located between Takadanobaba and Ikebukuro on the JR Yamanote line. It took me 25 minutes to get there from Shinagawa station.

This store was well worth the trip, I assure you! They have quite the selection of imports - I was seriously impressed. A very nice selection of Belgians, Germans, English, and even American micros are housed in the back case. Larger, mostly corked bottles, are in an open case on the floor in the back and contain around 15-20 varities alone.

Sam Adams Triple Bock for around 750yen ($6.33), good selection of Rogues for around $3/bottle, a few Anchor varities, four from Unibroue, even Rochefort 8 for $5 and 10 for less than $7. AS Rauchbier Marzen + Weizen and some Samuel Smith to name a couple of others.

1/2 point deduction for a fairly weak selection of Japanese crafts in comparison, also - service was just average. I purchased 8 bottles and they were all thrown into one flimsy plastic bag. Not much care, although the glasses I purchased were individually wrapped. Scrapped my receipt, so I can't do an individual tally, but for 8 brews (3 Japanese), two glasses (Fin du Monde + Orval), and a Grimbergen opener - my total came to about 4,900yen ($41.36).

If you're in Tokyo, do yourself a favor and check this one out. Kanpai!

P.S. Closed on Wednesdays, also only open till 9pm.

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

Directions: Take the JR Yamanote line to Mejiro Station. When you exit the station you will be facing Mejiro Dori (Ave.). Turn left and walk less than one block. Tanakaya is well marked in English on your left.

This store is pretty good sized. Most of the store is devoted to liquors and sakes, but in the back is a large selection of imported beers, including many from Belgium (including several lambics and saisons, for example). On the left side of the store is the comparatively smaller selection of Japanese beer. The standards are here (Asahi, Kirin, Yebisu, etc.), but there is also a small but good selection of Ji-Biru (Japanese microbrews). On my visit they apologized to me that they were out of both Yona Yona and Ginga Kogen, but told me that they would have it tomorrow.

This is a pretty easy to find store, and has a decent selection of beer. The store also sells some food items.

Tanakaya in Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, Japan
98 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.