Sometimes, booking an Airbnb experience is exactly what you need to discover the cultural fabric of the city. Meraj Shah takes a look.


Most travellers believe they find the best experiences through impromptu encounters. And yes, if you’ve got the time and the gusto to explore and find your own way, then by all means consider this the best option. But if you want to rely on an Airbnb experience to give you a real taste of a city’s cultural landscape, it may become one of the most memorable experiences ever.


Take this for example. Christopher Pellegrini is a born-again Japanese who has spent most of the millennium in Tokyo and has even authored the first English book on shochu—the most popular alcohol consumed in Japan. He’s also a contributor to the “Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails,” and the world’s only dual-certified (Japan and US) shōchū expert. he’s a great find on Airbnb Experiences because it is an incredibly authentic experience that would be near-impossible to orchestrate organically. 


Airbnb Japan


When you book the Sake Shochu Showdown with Chris (₹4,596 per person), you will meet him at HAVESPI Shinjuku, a cosy bar hiding on an upper floor within the Shinjuku shopping district, where he will dispense his expertise in sochu (a Japanese spirit) and sake (a brewed rice drink). Spread over three floors that stock in different kinds of alcohol, this speakeasy pub will require you   to pay a cover charge, following which, you can help yourself to whatever you like. Chris urges you to pour yourself whatever you like from the bottles neatly stacked at the bar on each floor. The bar imposes no cap, but you, as the responsible adult you are, must do so yourself.

What You’ll Do
Learn about sake (a brewed rice drink) and shochu (a Japanese spirit) while tasting a diverse range of both traditional beverages. Some 53 ingredients can be used in the production of shochu, each one adding its own unique flavour and aroma to the distilled liquor. As you explore these differences, he’ll describe shochu’s history, production process, and cultural relevance. Following that, you’ll do an equally deep dive into sake.






Tokyo Bars To Visit

Akaboshi to Kumagai: Excellent saké bar with great food in Azabu-Juban; ask for Hiromi and tell her that Christopher sent you if she’s there. She’ll take care of you.

Shochu Zanmai: All-you-can-drink shochu bar in Ikebukuro