Whisky may not be originally from Japan, but recent years saw the world taking notice of whisky bottles coming out of the country. Japanese whisky brands Suntory and Nikka, etc., have now joined the ranks of its Scottish counterparts in terms of quality ratings and popularity. Both distilleries have earned international accolades and have emerged as consistent contenders in any curated list of best whiskies in the world. Its international fanbase is indeed growing, and somehow its limited distribution overseas makes these drinks all the more exciting. Thus, any discerning whisky fan visiting Tokyo will probably make it a point to sample as much Japanese whisky as he can. If that person happens to be you, here are 10 best bars in the city to get your hands on these Japan-style liquid gold.

Nikka Blender’s Bar

Located on the basement floor of Nikka’s HQ in Tokyo, Nikka Blender’s Bar is like a company museum and a bar where you could find Nikka’s full range of whiskies and geek out on the details. The bartender, who is, of course a whisky expert, will help you understand the nuances of each bottle, and if you want to do some bartending yourself, you can create your own blended whisky out of five single malts and one grain whisky. This limited edition set costs ¥3,000, and if you’re not done yet after six shots worth of hard liquor, there’s the Taketsuru 21 year – the 2010 recipient of the World’s Best Blended Whisky by World Whiskies Awards.

Address: B1F Nikka Whiskey HQ Building 5-4-31 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: http://nikkabar.wixsite.com/nikka (Japanese only)

Apollo

Apollo is a jazz bar hideaway in Ginza. Its basement floor location is a nice place to retreat to if Tokyo’s bustling atmosphere starts to take a toll on you. Find yourself a corner to savor your drink. The Japanese whisky line-up is very respectable especially if your preference leans towards Suntory spirits.

Address: B1F, 8-2-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130102/13160143/ (Japanese only)

Bar Tsurukame

Bar Tsurukame has in its collection some of the best aged Japanese whiskies – the Yamazaki 12, Hibiki 17, and the Taketsuru 21, and it’s all a whisky afficionado could ask for. The bar’s dark wood and leather interiors help build the kind of mood you’d want to be in to enjoy such fine drinks. With no entrance fee and table charge, this place is one of the most reasonably priced bars to go thirsty for Japanese whisky.

Address: 1-12-11 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo

Price: ¥2,000 ~ ¥2,999

Website: http://bartsurukame.web.fc2.com (Japanese only)

Hibiya Bar Whisky S & Hibiya Bar Whisky S II

Same as Nikka, Suntory operates a showcase bar for its products. They have two branches where one features the Yamazaki (Hibiya Bar Whisky S), while the other highlights the Hakushu varieties (Hibiya Bar Whisky S II). However, guests can actually find Suntory’s full line-up in both branches so to help you decide which branch to visit – Go to Whisky S if you’re interested to try blending your own whisky concoction, and head straight to Whisky S II if you’d rather try Hakushu highballs prepared by very capable whisky experts.

Address:

(Hibiya Bar Whisky S) B1F Kaneko Building 3-3-9 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
(Hibiya Bar Whisky SII) 8F Noco Building 5-6-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website:
(Hibiya Bar Whisky S) http://www.hibiya-bar.com/whisky-s
(Hibiya Bar Whisky SII) http://www.hibiya-bar.com/whisky-s2

Brilliant

Keio Plaza Hotel’s Brilliant Bar indeed offers something brilliant to its whisky-loving guests aside from its very respectable homegrown whisky collection. Their “keep a bottle” service is a customer friendly gesture wherein they give their guests the option to store their unfinished bottle until the next visit. It is a perfect set-up especially for frequent visitors and those having an extended stay in the city.

Address: 2F Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo 2-2-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: http://www.keioplaza.com/restaurants/main_bar.html

Bar Yoshu Hakubutsukan

Bar Yoshu Hakubutsukan in Ginza is one of Tokyo’s hidden gems. When translated into English, the bar’s name means Museum of Liquor, and as soon as you step inside, you’d certainly agree that this establishment was aptly named. Its tiny space is overwhelmingly cluttered with over 3000 fine bottles of various liquors and spirits, Japanese whisky included. It is an homage to alcohol that you’d most likely be tempted to try different things – though you already know where that could lead you.

The owner-bartender is a champion of numerous bartending competitions.

Address: 3F Tokyo Nakajima Building 6-9-13 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo

Price: ¥4,000 ~ ¥4,999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13007783/ (Japanese only)

Old Imperial Bar

The timeless elegance of Old Imperial Bar makes it one of the top places in the city to indulge in a luxurious Japanese whisky drink. Located at Tokyo’s most iconic Imperial Hotel, this establishment breathes nostalgia with its old-style glamour evident in its use of lights, furniture, and décor. Its corridors are adorned with photos of notable personalities who had visited the hotel over the years, and consistent to its penchant for the classics, this is the bar to relish a glass of vintage whisky like the Hibiki 30 or the Taketsuru 25. Needless to say, such rarities come with a hefty price tag. Splurging in a place like this, however, is warranted.

Address: 2F Tokyo Imperial Hotel 1-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/tokyo/restaurant/old_imperialbar/index.html

Peter: The Bar

The Peninsula Hotel’s Peter: The Bar is another luxurious hotel bar to sip a Hibiki 30. It is a place to go extravagant with your drinks as it has in its collection some very rare bottles, and on top of that, its own Suntory-crafted whisky to boot. The atmosphere though is worlds away from its next-door neighbor Old Imperial Bar. This one is chic, trendy, and more representative of the Tokyo of today.

Address: 24F The Peninsula Tokyo 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda, Tokyo

Price: ¥15,000 ~ ¥19,999

Website: http://tokyo.peninsula.com/en/fine-dining/peter-lounge-bar

Royal Bar

The last, but not the least of the hotel bars featured in this list is another lounge nestled within the vicinity of the Imperial Palace grounds. Royal Bar is Tokyo Palace Hotel’s main bar, and as its name implies, expect nothing else but the finest experience here. The interiors and ambiance are the epitome of class. The service is as expected, exceptional. The bar menu reflects the refinement of taste. This couldn’t have been made more obvious by Royal Bar’s house exclusives. For Japanese whisky, they have two Owner’s Cask drinks: a 1996 Suntory Yamazaki and a 2000 Suntory Hakushu.

Address: 1F Tokyo Palace Hotel 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo

Price: ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,999

Website: http://en.palacehoteltokyo.com/restaurant/royal-bar/

Bar Urushi

To some, the discovery of an inconspicuous bar with a superb drink line-up is a thrilling experience in itself. Bar Urushi is one of these off-the-grid locations to boast about, and the fact that it has a very reputable local whisky selection more than doubles the attractiveness of going out of your way just to find this bar. You can start your journey at Ebisu station, walk towards Ebisu Shrine, and from there, be on the lookout for this 2nd-floor space.

Address: 2F Uchida Building1 Chome-12-9 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Price: ¥5,000 ~ ¥5,999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1303/A130302/13133838/ (Japanese only)

All price information in this article is as of January 2017.

Thumbnail image is from Flickr.