“Ultimate guide to drinking in Japan.”
– The Japan Times
“From sampling traditional awamori on Okinawa to roaming the legendary Susukino district in Sapporo, Drinking Japan is filled with a staggering amount of information … (&) incredibly complete histories.”
“There are many things to love about Japan, but its exceptional bars and drinking culture are among the things at the top of my list. Anyone with the same yen (heh) for Tokyo-and-beyond bars should check out “Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan’s Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments.”
– Los Angeles Times
“It is in Bunting’s travelogue approach wherein we find Drinking Japan‘s greatest strengths. We journey with him from one bar to another, listening in on conversations with bartenders who proudly report on the provenance and aging of their prized liquors. We vicariously drink through Japan while nestled comfortably on a couch at home. Bunting does a fantastic job of putting each bar in context.”
– LA Weekly
“Drinking Japan reads like a travel book — not a touring handbook, mind you, but a travel book, replete with anecdotes and impressions, which not only gives the reader a better idea of what they might be getting into, but also allows Bunting to establish a voice. And that voice is one that will make most readers feel like having a beer, or a whisky, or a glass of wine, or shochu, or awamori, or sake, or even makkori, with the man.”
– Japan Eats
“Drinking Japan should be required reading for anyone interested in looking beyond big-name brands and immersing themselves in Japan’s rich and varied Bacchanalian tradition.”
– Justin McCurry, Japan correspondent for The Guardian and Observer, in Acumen magazine.
“Best book on Japanese booze I’ve ever seen, and a really great selection of bars.”
–Nick Coldicott, leading Tokyo-based drinks writer on Twitter.
- Silver at the Gourmand Book Awards, a global book prize
- Silver at 16th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards
- Finalist at the 2012 Indie Book Awards
For the latest media coverage and prize news go here.
“Drinking Japan” is an award-winning guide to Japanese bars and alcoholic drinks published by Tuttle Publishing. This site has been set up to offer readers extra information and updates on the book.
My research for ”Drinking Japan” took more than a year and a half and took me all over the country. It is the first wide-ranging survey in English of the history and culture of Japanese alcohol, with detailed coverage not only of the well-known rice brew sake but of much less explored traditions like shochu, awamori, beer, wine, and Japanese whisky.
First and foremost, ”Drinking Japan” is a practical guide, offering richly illustrated reviews of my favorite 122 bars. The reviews are written with the newly arrived visitor to Japan in mind, with detailed price guides, language help, advice on food and drink choices, and maps and directions to get you to the bars. But the reviews try to go a little further than that, featuring interviews with bartenders and background information on the drinks I tried at their establishments that I hope deepens the insights offered by the detailed introductions at the start of each chapter.
There is a long chapter on the history of sake and the contemporary sake world, and the first extensive descriptions in an English-language book of Japan’s indigenous spirits, shochu and awamori. Whole chapters are devoted to Japan’s whisky, craft beer and wine industries, offering insights that have until now not been available to readers in English.
Drinkingjapan.com will offer updates on the guide, information about changes to bars (please contact me at drinkingjapan @ gmail.com if you have an update), and more detailed referencing to the sources I used in writing the guide that I hope will be of use to other researchers.
Drinkingjapan.com is a sister site to Nonjatta.com, the most comprehensive source on Japanese single-malt whisky for English speakers.