Okano cho in Yokohama is a destination for sake lovers
The Kannai area near Yokohama is a destination for many craft beer lovers. There is the collection of several craft beer shops and breweries nestled among the Kannai Station area, American Antenna, Yokohama Brewery, Bay Brewing, and a slew of other new craft beer pubs.
The Okano intersection located about 5 minutes from Yokohama Satation west exit is developing into the sake triangle. The once quiet Okano cho area was best known for the many ramen shops. At the corner of the Okano-cho intersection is the popular Yoshimuraya ramen restaurant, it is common to see a long line of people waiting for the opportunity to enter the ramen shop. Weekends on particular the line will stretch around the corner of the street.
Besides the Yoshimura Ramen shop, there is a mixture of businesses and services. Many of the multi story buildings are home to nail salons and hair salons.
Now there is seems to be a renaissance to the Okano cho intersection. Okano cho is developing into a destination for sake lovers. There are soon to be three distinct options for sake all within a 1-2 minute walk from each other.
First to open in the Okano cho area is Ochoko, Okocho is located a narrow side street. There is limited foot traffic that passes by on the street. Therefore, it is a destination that local customers patronize or sake lovers have discovered from reading sake blogs and reviews. Ochoko is a standing sake bar that is at full capacity with about ten people. The sake selections rotate every 1-2 weeks. At any given time there are as many as 8-10 different sake to choose from. Nama sake is well represented among the selections. The food is homemade and is designed with matching the sake. The personalized style and size of Ochoko provide a feel of your neighborhood standing sake bar with a group of repeat customers.
Currently under construction is the new izakaya. This place is a different model for enjoying sake. They have a nice selection of well known sake. The prices for their 180ml servings of sake are charged at a price that is at cost. The izakaya prices their sake without profit. However, the shop charges an entry fee of approximately . The prices for their 180ml servings of sake are charged at a price that is at cost. The izakaya prices their sake without profit. However, the shop charges an entry fee of approximately ¥880. This may be a good option for the strong drinker than enjoys good sake selections with common but quality selections.
Finally, the Meishu center Yokohama is yet another sake option. Like Ochoko, The Meishu Center Yokohama is a standing sake bar. The prices are also affordable. What differentiates the Meishu Center Yokohama from the other two is the wide selection of over 100 different sake. It is more sake focused, and less emphasis on food. Also, the selections of sake (jizake) are from smaller craft style producers in the countryside of Japan. There are many varieties of sake to choose from: nama, nigori, genshus, yamahais, kimotos, koshu (aged sake) as well as the traditional refined sakes.
Okano cho is rapidly changing and it is exciting that the neighborhood that is so close to Yokohama Station is becoming a destination for sake lovers