Uehara 1-32-15, Shibuya-ku, 155-0066 Tokyo
Tel. 03-5454-3715
Open: 17:00 - 22:00 (Saturdays till 22:30)
Sundays and holidays closed

Sasagin - Izakana for demanding people

"Sasagin" is a well-known izakaya in Yoyogi-uehara area for its comfortable atmosphere, intelligent selection of sake and fancy tidbits. I lived in Yoyogi-uehara till some years ago and frequented Sasagin with friends and family. Even now I visit Sasagin from time to time to enjoy among others its tidbits and relishes.

Each izakaya has its target group. Sasagin apparently targets rich gourmets. Sasagin is not located in an entertainment district, but in a dimly lit narrow alley next to an elevated railroad. However, Yoyogi-uehara is in a rich residential area and not much far from business centers of Shinjuku and Shibuya. Therefore, wealthy local residents and businessmen are the main part of its guests and they are well experienced connoisseurs of sake and food.

In order to cover all demanding requests from guests, Sasagin offers first of all a vast variety of sake. More than 60 labels of carefully selected sake are listed on the menu. My favorite labels Kirakucho and Yamazuru are also included. However, the stock of sake is not limited to the enlisted labels. Therefore, it is advisable to ask a service staff to recommend sake which best fits to your taste. You are likely to make a pleasant discovery.

The vast variety of food menu is more impressive. In addition to the standard dishes, it offers numerous daily specialties. For example, on the day of my visit, there were 20 different sashimi dishes, 19 grilled or panned dishes, 19 cooked or steamed dishes, 5 fried dishes, 35 marinated dishes and 8 others. So many relishes suitable for sake are waiting for your order. Especially the abundance of "aemono" (*) dishes is characteristic for Sasagin. You will find that unusual combinations of ingredients and dressing sometimes create miraculous delicacy and fit perfectly to sake.

(*)"Aemono" is a sort of salad dish where ingredients are carefully mixed with dressing. There are several types of traditional dressing. However, at Sasagin dressings are mostly new creations.

Yanagawa of pike conger roe

The assortment of daily specialties varies frequently, dependent on the available ingredients. Therefore, even if you find a delicious dish on one day, there is no guarantee that you can find it again on the following day. On the other hand, you have a pleasure to find something new. I am always impressed by their inexhaustible idea.

While the menu items of the izakaya such as Daini-Chikara-Shuzo and Sasashin are traditional, those of Sasagin are innovative and rich in imagination and in some cases influenced by foreign cuisine.

Scallop and pea with grated radish and mayonaise dressing

Marinated mackerel and leak with yuzu zest and pepper dressing

Green pepper grilled and marinated

Tempura with shrimp and corn

Rockfish boiled in thick and sweet soy based sauce

Fried eggplant with miso sauce

Fig cooked in white wine with sesami sauce

Rice balls with salmon roe

Cooked rice with sticky tofu skin sauce

We usually share a dish and order two to three dishes each - if we are three everyone can taste six to 10 dishes. Each of us drinks a mug of beer and two to three glasses of sake. The average expense amounts to be around 5,000 yen. For most young people this is too expensive and each too is too small. Therefore, the rating of Sasagin at various restaurants review sites is not so high. However, I believe that such a rating is the evidence of good quality of Sasagin, because I always see Sasagin filled up with guests. I recommend you to reserve seats before you visit Sasagin. Otherwise you won't find any seat for you.