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Essential boutiques, plus the best book, music and souvenir stores
Discover Japan’s endless diversity with our in-depth guide
May 25, Harajuku
May 24, Shimokitazawa
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An excellent place to start any expedition into the world of Japanese saké, Yoyogi-Uehara's Sasagin more than merits a special trip. Overseen by an Anglophone sommelier with an immaculately trimmed 'tache, this long-running izakaya comes armed with a well-chosen selection of nihonshu, housed in glass refrigerators just behind the counter. English-language drink menus make life easier for newcomers, and the staff are eager to provide recommendations (which on Time Out's most recent visit included a memorable unpasteurised namazake from Aichi). The daily food specials are only available in Japanese and may take longer to decipher, but dishes like vinegared mackerel and pear with mullet roe, and watercress and shiso dressed with pureed tofu, amply reward the effort. The menu also stretches to sashimi and tempura, and you won't want to leave without trying the ochazuke (rice with tea and trimmings).