The origin of the word "kaku-uchi" has various theories. In the old days, the word was used to mean drinking sake in a square wooden cup, but over time it has changed to refer to drinking standing in a corner of a liquor store as a drinking space.

Kaku-uchi (corner drinking) has recently become a common sight throughout Japan, but it is said to have originated in the coal mining and factory areas of Kitakyushu. It is said that liquor stores were places where late-night workers could have a drink on their way home from work regardless of the time of day or night. They may have toasted to their fatigue on the spot with their friends.

The kaku-uchi I stopped by the other day on my trip was a renovated space that had been used by a liquor store as a warehouse. The sake bottles were beautifully lit up, and when ordering, you exchanged your order for a card with a hundred poems written on it.

"The opening time is the time it takes for the surrounding bars to open, that's why they call it the "0th party," the proprietress said with a laugh, handing us a discount ticket that could be used at the liquor store.

A casual stopover at a kaku-uchi. It is one of the pleasures of traveling. Kitakyushu City is the home of kaku-uchi, so be sure to search for one on Google Maps.

Chiyonosono Sake Brewery
Wakamatsu Showroom