Where to Drink in Ishikawa, Japan

Where to Drink in Ishikawa, Japan

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Kaikaro

Stroll between the chaya houses in the Higashi Chaya district to find this functioning teahouse, first built in 1820. Pay attention to the lattice-laced windows, red lacquered stairway and hanging scrolls decorated with dramatic ink paintings – all features of a typical chaya house. Stop by the glimmering Golden Tea Room where the sheen comes from the tatami mats woven with gold. Gather around a sunken hearth to pair cupfuls of matcha with sweet treats – pick between homemade kuzukiri (jellied kudzu starch) served with sheets of gold leaf; sweet azuki-bean soup; shiratama dumplings plumped from rice powder sprinkled with gold. Not a dairy drinker? Hold the milk; take your tipple laced with gold instead.

Come evening, Kaikaro is typically off-limits as it practices the custom of ichigensan okotowari, meaning “to refuse first-time customers”. That being said, check Kaikaro’s events calendar when you visit.

Address

1-14-8 Higashiyama, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa 920-0831


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Washu Bar Engawa

In addition to its cultural riches, Ishikawa is surrounded by snow-tipped mountains, a rugged coastline and neat rice paddies. Utilising these natural surrounds – chiefly the crystal-clear water that flows from the mountains to fields – the prefecture brews some of Japan’s highest quality sake. Try some of the best at Washu Bar Engawa in Kaga, where you’ll find a selection of sake brewed by the prefecture’s masters as well as an insight into sake’s origin. Sitting five, the wood-panelled, intimate bar – with a private room to accommodate four more – is led by award-winning sake sommelier Proprietor Yusuke Shimoki. Spare time? Take a day trip to the Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute, run by one of Japan’s master sake brewers.

Address

82 Ro Minamimachi Yamanakaonsen, Kaga City, Ishikawa 922-0129


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Oriental Brewing Higashiyama

Think of Japan’s go-to drink and what comes to mind? Matcha? Sake? Craft beer may be a less-likely answer, but over the last few years small-batch brewing has gained popular appeal, in many instances becoming locals’ poison of choice. Oriental Brewing was Kanazawa’s first brew pub – nip in to try its selection of beers. Yuzu-spiked pale ale, green tea stout and amber-infused lager often feature on the menu. Opt for tasters before you commit to a full pint, and line your stomach with the moreish spicy edamame beans.

Address

3-2-22 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0831