When it comes to alcohol, many are content to simply associate Japan with the sake and major beer labels they enjoy when they go out for sushi, but the country is actually home to a variety of flavorful alcoholic beverages. Aside from sake, spirits such as shochu and Japanese whisky are gaining an international reputation, the country is currently experiencing a growth in craft beer. So for anyone making a trip to Japan and hoping to bring back a souvenir, it can't be recommended enough to search out a bottle or set that is more representative of more unique flavors in Japan. One surprising, but convenient place you can go to get those that might surprise you: the Isetan department store in Shinjuku.

As many foods and flavored snacks released year-round will tell you, Japan has a great fondness for seasonal and regional ingredients in their food. Alcohol is no different. Even if you may not be a big fan of sake, you might be surprised to find yourself enjoying it when you try out variations that make use of ingredients such as yuzu, cherry blossom, mandarin oranges, or even wasabi! To explore the effort and attention to traditional regional ingredients and flavors, YouTube KemushiChan visited the Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki prefecture.

There's no better time than Spring to try out a beer that uses Japanese cherry blossoms.

At Isetan, you can find beer and sake that makes use of local regional ingredients.

Such as rice that is actually used to make soba--giving you sake a hint of noodle flavor!

Located in downtown Shinjuku, the Isetan Department Store may look unassuming from the outside, but just one quick trip to the basement will let you find the sui no za (refined seat) shop of a variety of Japanese beer and spirits from all over the country, each carrying flavors distinct to and celebrated by their region. As an added bonus, it's located nearby a fabulous selection of bento lunch boxes.

You can check out the video below, as well as access information for this emporium of Japanese alcohol and food.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.

Sponsored by:
How to get Craft Beer in Japan // Hitachino Nest Beer
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