Sake Ichi
Bars & Clubs
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Monday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Wednesday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Thursday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Friday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Saturday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Sunday
5:00 PM - 12:30 AM
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About
Thank you for your visit. As of now, to provide same service to the all our customers, we cannot accept the people who do not speak Japanese on the weekend. Our wish is that all our guests enjoy drinking Sake equally at Sake Ichi. We welcome your visit on weekdays. Once we improved such a situation we will inform it. We would appreciate your understanding.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Pontocho
Though small by comparison, Pontocho is one of Kyoto's most spirited and memorable neighborhoods. A narrow street straddling the Kamogawa River, it is Kyoto's busiest nightlife spot. When darkness falls, Pontocho's many signs and lanterns bolt to life, making the area glow with invitations to passers-by to come inside and pull up a chair. Its restaurants and bars sprawl onto the riverbank, providing a friendly atmosphere and delicious food. Verandas are always filled with people young and old crowding tables, biting into hot yakitori or sipping cold beers. It is a culinary heart of Kyoto as much as one of its most laid-back, clamorous, and entertaining evening hotspots. Pontocho has more of an amiable vibrancy to it than an elegant one, attracting newcomers, local veterans, and everyone in between, in casual attire like sneakers and jeans.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
32 reviews
Excellent
25
Very good
1
Average
0
Poor
1
Terrible
5

arunningperson
Dallas, TX8 contributions
Oct 2016 • Friends
Great place to try out a variety of sake. The people working there were great and helped describe the various types of sake (which is split much like wine) available and served us excellent selections with our requested sake taste profile. The lady had a good grasp of English and experience was fun!

It can be a little hard to find. But people nearby were able to help us find it.
Written October 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

nritson
St. Neots, UK36 contributions
Oct 2016 • Solo
I wanted to try sake whilst in Japan and this place had good reviews. I couldn't have been happier as they have 150 to choose from. Haruyo was extremely helpful and spoke excellent English and was able to advise me which sake to taste based on my preferences, and also which food would go well. I can highly recommend the smoked pickles with cheese. Overall a great night, my favourite bar in the 10 days I have been in Japan.
Written October 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elze U
23 contributions
Jul 2016 • Couples
We have no knowledge of sake but wanted to try various sorts. This was the ideal place for that. The sake menu is Japanese only but the vet friendly staff will help you choosing from the many available sakes. We had a perfect start of an evening in Kyoto here.

The place is at the Main Street as indicated on tripadvisor. Just look for the sake lamp and the ant and grasshopper logo. Enjoy!
Written July 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

matthewdJ643LQ
2 contributions
Sep 2017
Sake Ichi claims that they cannot accept non-Japanese speakers on weekends. However, I am fluent in Japanese, and was refused service on Saturday, even though I was speaking Japanese. The owner told justified it by saying that he has the right to choose his customers. Also, when I went, despite their claims that no one working could speak English, one of their staff who was present had previously spoken to me in fluent English.

写真の看板と違って、週末は日本語が話せる外国人でも断っています。「俺お客さんを選ぶ権利ある」と言われました。最悪です。
Written September 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anniejeweltan
Singapore, Singapore887 contributions
Dec 2018 • Friends
Read half of the reviews about this place were bad. English speaking waitress has attitude, unfriendly to non-Japanese, etc...it’s true!
While they have lots of sake, and the waitress speaks English so she could explain but rudely, it is not worth the while to visit. There are many sake bars around just not known because they don’t speak English.
The place is very small and patrons are allowed to smoke in door. So it’s over whelming with the strong cigarette smoke and smell. Even for a avid sake drinker myself, I will not revisit. Why pay to be put down?
Written December 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gabriella B
Cambridge10 contributions
Jan 2017 • Couples
Based on the great reviews found here, my boyfriend and I were excited to try the sake and food here. We stopped in twice on a Thursday night. First around 9pm. We noticed a sign on the door saying that "non-Japanese speakers could not be served on the weekends" but figured Thursday would still be ok. However, upon entering we were told that there were "no seats available". Fine, so we went around the corner for a drink and came back maybe 30 min later to see that a party of four people was just walking out the door and a table in the back was empty. We entered again hoping to have better luck but were again turned away for the same reason. I hope they really were just fully booked, but couldn't help feel like it was because we are not Japanese.
Written January 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brandon
Tokyo, Japan1 contribution
Nov 2019 • Friends
Happened to walk by on a Friday night with a pair of Japanese friends. One popped in to confirm if there was room. There was, but then my friend was questioned if she had any foreigners with her. She answered yes, but that I was fluent in Japanese so their wouldn't be any communication issues. They said they were refusing entry to all non-Japanese patrons and there would be no exception. It immediately singled me out as a burden to the rest of the group, an outsider who's mere presence limited access. My friends, of course did not feel this way, and we're quite shocked that such a place could legally operate with such an openly racist agenda in the heart of Kyoto. But how could I not feel guilty at being the source for refusal of entry.

Kyoto is a city that is renowned for its omotenashi, an extreme level of hospitality that is largely unmatched in the rest of the world. What a shame that the disgusting Sake壱, a shop that can't even muster basic human decency, is able to operate in the midst that.

Fortunately we found a lovely alternative, Shu-bar right around the corner. A better selection and a much better atmosphere.
Written November 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mai M
2 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
I visited there on Friday evening with a Japanese friend and an American friend who speaks japanese fluently and lives here. They had a plenty of space but asked me if there are any foreigners with me. I told them he speaks japanese fluently and lives here but they didn't care about it. They said that they don't know where to "draw a line" if they accept "those kind of foreigner". I mean I didn't really understand why they need to "draw a line" it's very very racist. I tried to argue with them but at the same time I felt very ashamed and upset as a Japanese that how they treat us without even having us. I cannot believe that there is this kind of racist place
still exists in the center of Kyoto downtown. Japan is known as very polite and friendly country however I was very disappointed...

After we were refused, we found a very friendly sake bar called Shu-bar around the corner. I recommend everyone not to bother to go there and come to this friendly place instead.

金曜日の夜に日本在住の日本語が流暢なアメリカ人を入れた3人でお店に伺いました。カウンターが空いてますと言われましたがそのあと外国人がいるか聞かれ、いると答えたらお断りされました。日本語を喋れる旨を伝えましたがどこで線を引けばいい?のかが難しいとよくわからない説明をされ、(線引きをする理由も差別でしかありませんが) 追い返されました。日本人としてとても恥ずかしくまた憤りを感じました。
日本は、特に京都は、おもてなし大国と呼ばれていますが、このような店がまだあるのだと凄く悲しくなりました。
Written November 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

FeloniosMonk
Canonsburg, PA99 contributions
May 2016 • Couples
This bar is a little hard to find but very worth it if you're in to sake. The TripAd isor address is accurate.

There's probably about 100 varieties on offer - much more than anywhere else I've seen in Kyoto.

The staff is welcoming and one of them speaks English well enough to have a real conversation and discuss what you might like/dislike - which really made a huge difference in our experience.

Try it out - I guarantee you'll leave with a a new appreciation of sake.
Written May 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

eberger45
San Francisco, CA13 contributions
May 2016 • Couples
My wife and I were looking for a local place to try sake, ideally recommended by a local who knew a thing or two. Turns out this place was just the ticket. They had loads of bottles to try based on what your preferences were, all at a reasonable price per glass. Highly recommend this place.
Written May 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Sake Ichi (Kyoto) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Sake Ichi

Sake Ichi is open:
  • Wed - Mon 5:00 PM - 12:30 AM


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