Kuwabara Shoten, Selling Everything from Japanese Sake to Art


PhotographyTohru Yuasa

In Gotanda, a combination bar-and-liquor store infused with art, called Kuwabara Shoten has opened. The family representative, Kosuke Kuwabara, is also an active curator of contemporary art. He and his family, who originally managed a sake brewery, have transformed this location into a place where art can be enjoyed together with Japanese sake.

Kuwabara has been involved with numerous art festivals such as the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial and the Setouchi Triennale. Building on these experiences, he has assembled delicious nuggets and art encountered in various places he has visited. Within this modest space, he not only offers about 20 different kinds of craft beer and over 150 types of Japanese sake, but also the very best processed goods such as juice, furikake (seasonings to sprinkle on rice), and canned goods from different regions. Intriguingly, photographs and paintings line the walls in an assuming way to sharing space with sake and bar snacks. Some belong to Kuwabara’s personal collection, but anything with a price tag can be purchased on the spot.

The snacks that can be savored in this bar-and-liquor store combo are made entirely of ingredients sourced in Japan, ranging from north to south. This includes Kaikyo Salmon from Tsugaru in the north, and toasted cheese with oil-packed sardines, using sardines from Kagoshima in the south. Of course, the staff will propose combinations for Japanese sake, and casual questions are always welcome here. It’s acceptable to get pleasantly tipsy at the bar, or to purchase sake and snacks for later. Perhaps you’ll even encounter some art that sways your heart.

Kuwabara Shoten

2-29-2 Nishi-Gotanda Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo


Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Closed: Sundays, holidays