Nakano, Japan

Vowz

Drinkslinger is an unlikely vocation for a Buddhist monk, but at this Tokyo bar the enlightenment is served in a martini glass

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Long ago, Buddhist temples were a gathering place for people to drink and socialize, as well as a place to hear sermons and homilies from Buddhist priests.

As time wore on, this tradition died out, but one Buddhist monk by the name of Yoshinobu Fujioka has decided to bring it back to life by opening up Vowz, a bar in Yotsuya that is run by the young Fujioka and an older blind monk by the name of Gugan Taiguchi. 

You might think that a bar run by Buddhist monks to be a pretty strict atmosphere, but the bar is surprisingly relaxed. Even more surprising, the monks also make a pretty good drink as well. You can choose from many specialty drinks such as “Perfect Bliss”, “Infinite Hell” and “Enslavement to Love and Lusts", and locals say they also make a mean White Russian.

Taiguchi is often found doing sermons in the bar, and his words and advice are met with an attentive audience. At an actual temple, patrons are respectful and stick around even if they're bored; at Vowz, however, the vibe of the bar is so relaxed that if someone is bored, they can just walk out with no worries of disrespect. However, this rarely happens.

  • Hours
    Open Mon-Sat, 7pm-1am/late, closed Sun & holidays
  • Website
  • Address
    2F AG Bldg, Arakicho 6-42, Yotsuya 3-chome, Nakano, Japan
  • Cost
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Map/Directions
From exit 4 walk east along Shinjuku-dori. Turn left at the Mizuho bank (before the Sunkus convienence store) down the street with many little restaurants and bar. Vowz is at the end of the street.
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