BYO in Japan

Planning to travel to Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto this year and wanting to dine in Michelin starred restaurants (or something similar in class even with no star) that allow BYO. However i’m not able to find much info online.

Any advice will be appreciated!


Haven’t had much experience in those cities, but dining in Niseko, Hokkaido this past week I’ve learned that most places do not typically allow BYOB, though will sometimes oblige if you ask specifically.

Others may have different experiences, but I don’t think BYO is commonly done anywhere in Japan.

It’s not common, but it’s done here and there. I generally don’t BYO in Japan, as I’m happy to drink sake most of the time. That said, I have done it many times, all over the country, but usually in restaurants where we or the people we are with have a relationship. One exception: if you are staying at any fine ryokan establishments, you can almost certainly drink your own bottle with your private dinner - just ask in advance, obviously.

I’ve done fine dining BYO in Japan (Tokyo and elsewhere); but always with locals who know the restaurant’s proprietors.

I have traveled a lot in Japan and eaten at many restaurants in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka. I have not ever seen BYO anywhere. Maybe, as Ermitño pointed out if you know someone. We have brought Sake in to a few places with the owners permission but these were planned dinners with 15-20 people not just casual dining. Most places have very reasonably priced and extensive Sake menus. Wine, on the other hand, is not usually that good on most menus outside of 3 star French or Italian places. We ate at a 3 star French restaurant in Kyoto in November and the wines were not memorable.

Typically those meals have been prearranged kaiseki dinners in a private room.

Thanks guys for the input!

I have done it many times not in a private room, including several times at yakitori counters, but, as I said, typically when we or our friends have a relationship.

Yes, my impression is there has to be a friendship involved. I’ve done this in Kien as well. Very nice. I generally prefer private rooms.

Lived there a long time, and nearly universally in tokyo it is ok. You need to ask well in advance (in Japanese most likely) and be prepared for 60-100 per bottle corkage. I guess it’s so expensive to encourage high end only.

The only Michelin place that I couldn’t off the top of my head was Robuchon. Sushi restaurants also prefer you bring champagne or white wine. Red wine can stain the Hinoki.

Kyoto is a little different, a few places didn’t allow me there, especially Kaiseki.

Also keep in mind many m* places isn’t just readily bookable. U are lucky if u get 1/2 of the places u want usually (this is with high end hotel concierge booking for you). (Unless u have relationship of course).

BYO is not common in Japan, but many places do allow it, even for newcomers.
Corkage in Japanese is ワイン持ち込み (wine mochikomi), and generally averages around 2500-3000 yen (22-28 USD) a bottle, with some higher-end places charging up to 10000 (90 USD) yen.

Adding to Mark’s comment as well: yes it is very difficult to get reservations to most if not all m* restos (and the 3*s have been booked out for months); however hotel concierges can be very valuable in getting bookings (and they can ask for corkage on your behalf as well).

Yes, I’ve brought to Kien as well, with Japanese friends and on my own, though I far prefer the counter there and in almost all cases - I get enough of private meals when staying at ryokan. I like to interact with staff and other diners, and practice my minimal language skills. Sometimes it’s difficult to get counter reservations until it’s made clear my husband speaks passable Japanese.

Quite frankly, few of my best dining experiences in Japan have been at the big star places. While always excellent meals, I generally feel those could be anywhere, not specifically Japan. There have been exceptions, of course, but I would advise those visiting Japan to seek out smaller, less highly touted restaurants that don’t have as much tourist traffic. Often being able to BYO (with advance permission) is just one of the perks.

I speak Japanese 日本語 so I can get a res at Kien but other friends who do not have had no luck. Did not know you can BYO wine there but then, when I’m in Japan, I mostly drink sake and they have a really nice sake list. I don’t usually carry any wine to Japan.

I did it at Birdland in Ginza - 4,000yen per bottle, which is 35 or so USD.

I think Sushi Inomata also allows it for 3,000yen.

From dinner at Kien around 14 months ago: the bottles and us. All except myself are Tokyo residents; one of whom is actually a fellow Wineberserker. I was in Tokyo with clients for a series of meetings. Fortunately, I was able to “escape” during the evenings.
Whisky & cigars after at Mixx Bar nearby.


On tabelog you can search by BYOB

Agree with a the posters above that BYO in Tokyo is very common. Prices range from 2-4000/bottle (occasionally more), but I have yet to find more than a very small handful of places in my 30 years here that will not allow it. If you would like to bring a specific bottle or host a wine dinner with your own wine, it is usually a very simple task to ask and get permission after agreeing to the corkage fee. Speaking Japanese is a big plus and asking very politely opens a lot of doors.