Experience a great taste of travel and Japanese culinary tourism at Japan Week in Grand Central

Japan Week 2013 Pop Up Bar collage

Can’t get to Tokyo anytime soon? Head to Grand Central Station today instead for the last day of Japan Week, a public-private partnership that promotes Japanese culture, food and beverages to encourage tourism to Japan, and check out the Japanese pop-up bar staged in the train station’s Vanderbilt Hall. There you can enjoy 90 kinds of jizake, which is local sake (rice wine) that is painstakingly produced by small craft brewers and is prized across Japan. Sakes from 24 Japanese prefectures will be served.

Three sake sommeliers and sake samurai, who represent the highest levels of professional attainment, will be present to pour these time-honored beverages and answer questions like just how much rice husk is milled off to produce junmai.

To provide you with an opportunity to experience different regional flavors, the sakes will be sold in flights of five for $25. Tickets may be purchased online in advance on Japan Week’s website, japanweek.us, or Eventbrite at japanweek.us/pop-up-bar/, and at the door on the day of the event.

“The tachinomiya, or standing bar, has a long tradition in Japan, especially in large cities like Tokyo where it is common for business commuters to have a quick drink prior to boarding a train home,” said Yuki Tanaka, Executive Director, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). “New Yorkers will have an authentic taste of this phenomenon with a dazzling selection of fine sakes from various Japanese prefectures. We’re hoping that our American friends will be inspired to travel to Japan to enjoy the country’s many tachinomiya, as well as its local and regional foods and cultural attractions.”

Other highlights of Japan Week include the debut of “ekiben” bento boxes, which are normally sold at train stations and on railroads in Japan and showcase local and regional specialties, a rare geisha makeup demonstration by a master of the art, traditional musical performances and more.