This bar is going to close on July 14th 2017
Ieji is the sake bar located in Monzennakacho (Monnaka), which is the east side of Tokyo. You can try various truly delicious sake from Tohoku Region, carefully picked by the manager. The manager takes great care of bottles to serve in fresh flavor and provides those sake at a reasonable price (only 300 yen for a small glass). This is the best place to try various delicious sake to find your favorite flavor.
Tohoku, the region in northern Japan, is one of the greatest producers of rice and the source of high-quality, clear, pure water. With delicious rice and water, many sake breweries have developed in the Tohoku area from a long time ago. At Ieji, they provide over 30 kinds of sake from Tohoku Region at all times.
What is unique at Ieji, the sake bar focused on Tohoku Region?
Ieji opened in March 2017, as the only Tohoku region specialized sake bar in Tokyo. The manager is from Aomori Prefecture, which is one of the six prefectures in Tohoku Region, and enthusiastic about sake from Tohoku Region.
“Sake is produced in different parts of Japan, in fact, most parts of Japan, but I like sake from Tohoku the best. I feel the taste of rice stands out the most and has the most distinct flavor comparing to sake from other regions. When I thought about opening a sake bar, I needed enough varieties of delicious sake labels, and I was definite that Tohoku could be the only region to fulfill my requirements.“ The manager Mr. Tsugawa told us.
Tohoku Region is the area which got devastated damages from the 2011 Tohoku great earthquake and tsunami. Even though himself did not get damages directly, he heard lots of stories from his friends and acquaintances. Mr. Tsugawa said, “I wanted to do something for Tohoku Region, my birthplace. Through providing delicious sake from Tohoku in Tokyo, I wish the number of people who like sake from Tohoku increase, and that should be taking part of assisting reconstruction.” Not only his preferences in the flavor of sake, but he had a will for reconstructing Tohoku Region, his hometown.
How does the manager pick sake?
Sake bottles in Ieji keep changing all the time to serve fresh sake except one representative label from each Prefecture. They open a new bottle when a bottle gets empty. Customers can encounter different labels each time they visit, available sake changes every day and over 30 kinds are available from each prefecture in Tohoku Region, some of them are very rare to find in Tokyo. The manager carefully picks the sake, and also he trusts the recommendations from local liquor stores in each prefecture. “They are the specialists of local sake breweries. The quality of sake labels they recommend is promising.”
The temperature of sake is carefully controlled in the refrigerator. To provide delicious sake, the manager keeps the sake in the cool environment all the time. He told us that managing temperature is the most important factor to keep the fresh flavor. The sake bottles exported to abroad are usually limited brands which do not require severe temperature management. This is same for sake from different regions people find in Tokyo. Sending sake bottles with such management takes a lot of work. The manager told us, “if you want to try various kinds of fresh sake, you definitely should come to Japan. And because flavor of sake varies so much depending on the label, the only way to find your favorite sake is by tasting different kinds.”
To let customers try different sake, Ieji offers sake at ¥300 per one small glass or ¥500 per large glass. The price is same for all the sake.
Also, Ieji has their original matrix and icon to describe the flavor of sake.
The top is “thick”, right is “bitter”, the bottom is “light”, and left is “umami”. You can find the same icon on the menu, so remember the icon to find similar and/or different tastes. This helps customers to discover their favorite flavor.
Latest sake labels served at the bar is informed through their Facebook and Instagram feed.
Ieji has got plenty of delicious food which goes well with Japanese sake
They offer not only delicious and various sake but also over 30 kinds of dishes considered carefully to pair with Japanese sake. Some of them are local food from Tohoku, such as “Shiso Miso Sandwich”, which puts chestnut miso from Miyagi Prefecture between Shiso, Japanese herb, leaves.
The manager recommended us “Namerou Set”. Namerou is a Japanese food which mixes chopped fish (usually) and herbs altogether. Namerou is usually made with horse mackerel, but their three Namerou are made with and mackerel, yellowtail, and pumpkin+edamame.
The grilled chicken is also recommended. This juicy and tasty chicken is from Iwate Prefecture.
The manager is very friendly and very passionate about Japanese sake. He tells us stories behind each bottle and provides deep knowledge about the taste. There is an English speaking staff on weekends, too! Monzennakacho is an area which has developed since long time ago, and there are lots of attractions such as Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine and Fukagawa Fudoson Temple. There is food strolls every 1st, 15th, and 28th and the area get lively. Why don’t you visit Ieji to taste the real delicious Japanese sake?
Ieji – Sake and local dish from Tohoku –
Address: Monzennakacho1-14-6 1F, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan