Best 9 All You Can Drink Places in Tokyo
Known as Nomihoudai, this one word describes a unique part of Japanese society . Roughly translated to All-you-can-drink, young people congregate in these establishments to talk with friends, snack on food and enjoy beverages for one price. While it sounds like the familiar all-you-can-eat buffets that are so popular, there is one very important difference. This is a cultural experience in Japan and not intended to be permission to binge drink.
The Japanese love to socialize. Food and drink are a necessary part of social interactions. Unlike the chaos that Nomihoudai would likely bring to the United States (that is until we got wasted a few too many times) this Japanese experience rarely ends up with mass intoxication. This is a matter of streamlining a business transaction and rules of civilized behavior are still in place. Establishments do vary a great deal so tourists and visitors to the area need should do some homework and not assume there is only one type of atmosphere offered. One recommendation is to seek out locations that are part of a hotel or well-organized food festival or tour. Some locations do take reservations and can be booked in advance.
Take a few minutes to see the different ways Nomihoudai is served and find one that best suits your situation. One quick reminder - “Drink Responsibly” has a much stronger meaning when one is in a foreign country. The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years old and ID is often required. Not all locations publish this information. Underage and non-alcoholic drinkers will often be charged at the same price as regular guests. Visiting Tokyo can be a wonderfully rich experience if you embrace the cultural aspect of Nomihoudai and do not confuse it with a party mentality.
1. Nihonshu Bar Shubo | 東池袋4-23-6, ドミー池袋 104, Toshima, 東京都 〒170-0013
6 Hours Limitless Japanese Sake Drinking in Ikebukuro
An event that seems unique to Ikebukuro, Limitless Drink happens Monday - Saturday from 5 to 11pm and takes place in this bustling area favored by tourists. Highly concentrated scenic stops and interesting nightlife make Ikebukuro a great place to spend the evening. Serving primarily sake, the event allows guests to sample many varieties of this Japanese beverage over a 6 hour period of time. Costing ¥3000 per person (roughly $30), participants can bring their own food or migrate to outside restaurants for dinner then come back for more socializing. This is most definitely about the people and enjoying company. Participation can be booked in advance through this online portal. Cancellations are possible if done at least 3 hours ahead of the start time. Refunds are not given for no-shows or late arrivals. Access is approximately a 10-minute walk from the JR Ikebukuro Station East Exit. Smoking is not permitted inside the building.
Nihonshu Bar Shubo |Address: 東池袋4-23-6,ドミー池袋 104, Toshima, 東京都 〒170-0013 Japan | Phone: +03-6912-6489 |Website: http://shubo.jp/
2. The Peak Bar and Lounge, Park Hyatt
Located on the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, this location frequently pops up on the list of great spots for Nomihoudai. More upscale and private than the first choice, the drinks and light canapes flow from 5 pm to 9 pm. Stunning views of Tokyo are visible from many seats and music is played by popular DJs. Cost for the evening is ¥4000 or $40USD. With a decor resembling a bamboo garden, the lounge has two distinct sets of clientele. Afternoons are dedicated to the concept of Japanese tea time. With an atrium roof, sunshine is abundant. Tea and desserts are served at mid-afternoon in much the way it has been served for centuries. As the sun sets, the mood changes and beer and wines begin to flow. Located in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo, this is a prime spot to enjoy Nomihoudai during a visit.
The Peak Bar and Lounge |Address: PARK HYATT TOKYO 41st floor, 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 163-1055 | Phone: +81 3 5323 3461 |Website: https://restaurants.tokyo.park.hyatt.co.jp/en/plb.html
3. KURAND SAKE MARKET Shibuya Shop | Matsumoto Bldg. 3F, 2-9-10 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about this company and its policies. Although it has plans to someday become a shop that specializes in Sake, the official website adamantly states that off-premise alcohol is not available. Reservations are accepted online. Kurand is actually a franchise of several All-you-can-drink locations through Tokyo. Each one specializes in Sake and has a reported 100 different varieties. Hours of operation are typically 5 pm to 11 pm except on Saturdays and Sundays when the hours are 12pm to 4pm. Seating is limited to less than 50 people so reservations for groups are recommended. Cost per person is ¥3000 (about $30 USD). Light snacks are available but unlike establishments in the states, customers are encouraged to bring food for themselves and their friends. Each KURAND location is set in a busy part of the city which allows customers to visit other restaurants and bars as well as return to this one. Social time is the product and the franchise supports that with abundant food and drink.
Kurand Sake Market |Address: 3F Matsumoto Building, 2-9-10 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 50-0043 | Phone: +03-6455-0277 |Website: https://kurand.jp/en/sakemarket/shibuya/
4. Kainomi | First Ueno Bldg. 2F, 1-19-16 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
This is a popular location according to bloggers, but the only online information seems to be through a reservation service (Gurunavi, Inc.), the listing describes the location as a Japanese style Pub. It refers to an All-you-can-drink menu which has a large selection of fresh seafood, side dishes and desserts as well as drinks. The menu is a la carte and there is no listing for drink service except as part of the restaurant. Hours of operation are 4 pm to 11:30 pm on weekdays with slightly shorter hours on weekends. The estimated cost of the meal is ¥5000 or $50 American. Children are strongly discouraged and this is a non-smoking environment. WiFi is available and Japanese may be the only language spoken. Some bloggers report a very casual atmosphere and a separate All-you-can-drink option on weeknights. Cost for this option is said to be ¥3500 ($35 USD). Sake is the specialty drink of the house with approximately 45 different varieties available.
Kainomi |Address: 1-19-16 Yotsuya | 2F Daiichi Ueno Bldg., Yotsuya, Shinjuku 160-0004, Tokyo Prefecture | Phone: +81 3-5341-4567 |Website: https://www.lifeart-navi.com/rest/kainomi.html?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral
5. Sheraton Miyako Hotel: Late Afternoon Tea (Cafe California)
Located on the ground floor of the hotel, this larger spot which has been inspired by the California Coast, offers a special all-you-can-eat and drink option during the summer months. An open-air barbeque is set up on the patio and foods and drinks flow from 6 pm to 8 pm. Children are permitted in this family-oriented version of nomihoudai. The menu is typical Japanese fare with pork belly, sausages, seafood, and authentic side dishes and desserts. Soft drinks are available for the underage crowd and beer and sparkling wines for the adults. Cost is ¥8300 for adults and $4000 for children under 12. The experience offers a large selection of Japanese delicacies and drinks that may not be offered at other locations.
Cafe California (Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo) |Address: Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo, 1F, 1-1-50 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo | Phone: +81-3-3447-3111 |Website: https://www.miyakohotels.ne.jp/tokyo/english/index.html/
6. Jelly Jelly Cafe, Shibuya
A new twist to the concept of a gaming cafe, there are no computers in these shops. Based on a concept similar to a Rabbit or Owl Cafe, this franchise has several locations in Tokyo. Most are small (about 30 seats) but they all offer a world of board games. The entry fee includes one drink (more can be purchased) but the concept here is to meet up with others who like to play board games and spend a few hours in their company. Food is not served but it can be brought in. Bringing your own drinks, however, is prohibited. While the operating hours may vary slightly from location to location, hours tend to be 1 pm to 11 pm on most days. Reservations for groups are recommended. Hours are broken into two time periods of 5 hours each. School-age children are allowed during daytime hours but not at night. Night time hours are specific to adults and a wider selection of drinks may be available. Costs vary between ¥1500 and ¥2000 and include one drink. These are great for those who may prefer a more focused social activity.
JELLY JELLY CAFE SHIBUYA |Address: Shin Tokyo Building 202, 10-2 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0042 | Phone: +03-6809-0574 |Website: https://jellyjellycafe.com/en
7. Animal Cafes (Variety)
Like the Jelly Jelly Cafe listed, this is a different type of bottomless drink shop when compared to others. More for those who are not fond of the nightclub atmosphere, these options are meant to offer relaxation rather than excitement. Dozens of Animal or Pet Cafes dot the neighborhoods of Tokyo. Some are single drink operations but others are all you can drink situations. Most limit participation to 60-90 minutes but some have programs which are open to longer stays. Playrooms can be simple open rooms or adjacent to nice restaurants with viewing areas. Some locations specialize in more exotic animals such as reptiles, aquariums and otters but the most common themes are cats or rabbits. These locations are great for individuals who want an all-you-can-drink experience during daytime hours. Some do sell craft beers and alcoholic beverages, particularly those who limit the participation of young children. Cost can be considerably cheaper than for nighttime experiences. Animalcafes.com is the most comprehensive listing of these animal petting locations. Unlike some of the individual websites, Animalcafes.com is always in English, regularly updates its information and can be searched by animal type and location. The diversity in these locations makes it impossible to recommended just one.
8. Rokkon | Nissin Bldg. B1, 1-8-27 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
A more pricey option than some of these options, Rokkon is a Japanese-style pub and restaurant specializing in upscale authentic cuisine and rare Sake. Only open in the evening (5-11pm), its reservation website advertises both an all-you-can-drink menu and an all-you-can-eat menu. The business accepts all major credit cards and seems to allow smoking although many restaurants do not. Private rooms are available and small children are welcome. Some listings refer to this as a banquet style dinner while others list it as an a la carte menu. One thing to be sure of, the dishes seem to be more traditional than in some restaurants. It runs the gamut from tongue, edible horse meat, and dried fish roe (eggs) to roast beef and ice cream. Sake is the beverage of choice. Expected cost estimates run from ¥5500 to ¥10,000 ($90 USD). Reservations are available. Seating capacity is 110.
Rokkon 品川 六献 |Address: 1-8-27, Kounan, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-0075 | Phone: +81-3-3472-6002 |Website: https://gurunavi.com/en/gc6m233/rst/#restaurantdetail
9. Tonbe/ Tonnie/ Tonnye Akihabara
Found under several different spellings, this Akihabara location is in a particularly popular tourist destination within Tokyo itself. Counter seating and table seating are available. Seating at the counter allows you to see your food while it is being prepared. Table seating is limited to 36 persons. The All-you-can-eat menu starts at ¥2800 and goes up from there. The menu includes traditional cuts of beef and pork with side dishes of rice, kimchi, edamame, and allows a 2-hour window of drinking time. The drink only menu is ¥2000. If you are looking for a more upscale meal, other a la carte options are available. Hours are listed as open year round from 6 pm to 1 am. Coupons and special events are announced on the website. Overall a moderately priced experience for those who can live with the 2 hour drinking time limit.
Tonbe |Address: 1, Kandamatsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0023 | Phone: +81-3-3255-4553 |Website: https://tonbe.gorp.jp/
Tips for New Nomihoudai Participants
With experience come knowledge and at times it is best to learn from others. Here are a few tips to take with you on your trip to Tokyo.
Water- Drink lots of WATER. The general rule for enjoying a 6-hour all-you-can-drink experience is to have a GLASS of water for every shot of Sake. Water not only fills you up but dilutes your blood alcohol levels.
Drinking Age- The drinking age in Japan is 20 years old. An ID is required and generally, minors are not permitted in these shops. Keep ID with you at all times.
Know the law - Japanese Law that is. Take a brief look at five laws that could get visitors in trouble in Japan. This site is to a good summary of five laws that need to be followed to avoid being unnecessarily detained.
Ask before Smoking - Some of these shops list smoking as an option however, Japanese law prohibits smoking in public. Reading the fine print implies that smoking with eCigarettes is what is meant when it states “smoking allowed.” To be safe, ask before lighting up.