My friend Hitomi has taken us to some wonderful places in Tokyo, but this one will always be a particular favourite. This bar is nothing sort of astonishing.
Tucked away within the shiny surfaces of Ginza, stepping out of the lift really does feel like you've travelling somehow further. The entire interior was brought in from Akita, and the reconstruction of the traditional house (apparently 120 years old) is amazing.
Specialties from Akita are on offer, including the kiritanpo hotpot. The food and sake, while great, isn't the highlight though. It's the twice-nightly namahage show that we're all here for.
Namahage is a being from folklore, with origins that aren't super clear. They pop up in the Akita Region during a New Year's Eve ritual. They wear capes made of rope and heavy wooden masks, and carry long-handled knives. Their job is to sniff out badly behaved children and 'crybabies'.
Around 7pm and 9pm, the show begins. Lights flicker and the demons appear. While this all sounds maybe a little silly, with the low lights, the wooden floor and the banging of the long knives on the ground... things get intense. There's even a sign at the door letting parents know they can make requests if there's any behaviour they're looking to have corrected...
And, of course, after the show there are fun photo ops.