In most countries, trains are simply a convenient way to get around, to flatten quarters, or—if you’re a movie villain—to rid yourself of enemies. For the Japanese, however, they are a national point of pride, even inspiring social subsets of various types of “train nerds” (ranging from tori-tetsu, who like to take photos of trains, to oto-tetsu, who enjoy recording the sounds of trains). To call Kiha a “train-themed sake bar” may be an understatement; it’s more like a stationary train car that serves sake.
Down to the handrails, benches, and luggage racks, the upstairs at Kiha recreates the nostalgic experience of sitting on an early version of Tokyo’s subway cars—but with even more drinking. In keeping with period details, the bar serves two things: kappu-zake (sake in a glass with a pull-off top) and canned food, both typical items eaten on trains in the days before bento boxes.
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