The following article was originally published in Issue 10 of inCiderJapan magazine.
Tokyo’s first legitimate cider bar, Cidernaut, opened to great fanfare in March of this year. One month later, however, as the coronavirus pandemic scare escalated into a nationwide state of emergency being declared, Cidernaut, like many other bars and restaurants across Japan, was forced to close their doors until June.
It is a small miracle that their new business survived and Tokyo’s cider community should be thankful. Located in Shibuya’s Kamiyamacho, just a ten minute walk from Shibuya Station, Cidernaut is exactly what the area needs.
Their concept is simple: to provide a cozy place where customers can come and relax, enjoy a variety of food and drinks, and comfortably engage in conversation. With tables and counterspace for 35 seats, there’s plenty of room to do so.
Cidernaut boasts 12 taps with the majority of them dedicated to cider, the rest to beer. The ratio is usually 8:4, depending on what’s available on the market, as they serve both domestic and imported kinds. Prices are based on the drink, which come in three sizes, but they average 890 yen for half, 1190 yen for medium, and 1450 yen for a pint. If you’re not sure what you want, samples are also available.
The food is straightforward, their house specialty is a range of bagel sandwiches (pictured below), a set with chips and salad costs 1000 yen, but they also offer dishes such as prosciutto, apple, and cream cheese with drizzled honey (950 yen), chicken and chips (950 yen), buffalo wings (820 yen), and nachos (870 yen). Being a huge bagel fan, we absolutely loved the fact that Cidernaut’s homemade – yes, homemade! – bagels are deliciously thick and chewy and really need to be bitten into!
Cidernaut is managed by Hikaru Takeda and Shogen Wada, and the story of how they came together and decided to work together is an endearing one.
Takeda previously worked for a small IT company but was then one day abruptly thrust into the bar and restaurant business. After a short spell of putting in long and grueling hours, creating menus, and learning how to run things, Takeda left Japan to fulfil a dream of living abroad.
He headed off to England, first in London, where he was captivated by the city’s social culture, one he wondered if he could somehow bring back to or recreate in Japan. It was also in England, in Canterbury where Takeda lived for a year, that he discovered his love for cider.
“There was a pub in town that made their own ciders and they were incredibly delicious,” says Takeda. “I was already drinking cider on a daily basis, but I remember being absolutely shocked when I had my first cider there. I began to wish that there was a place in Japan where I could drink ciders like theirs, and that was a defining moment that put me on my current path.”
Another defining moment would be when Takeda returned to Japan and found out that a junior colleague he had met in London happened to work in a pub. That someone, of course, was Wada. Takeda approached him about plans to open a cider pub, and the rest is history.
Cidernaut is a cleverly cool portmanteau of the two words “cider” and “astronaut”. They chose the name because Takeda and Wada see themselves as explorers and pioneers wanting to lead people to cider. They certainly have the passion and motivation and we wish them the best success. We also highly recommend you visit Cidernaut on your next trip to Shibuya.
Cidernaut is a great place where you can compare various ciders from all over the world on your own or with friends, even new ones you can easily make at the bar. Both Takeda and Wada are incredibly friendly and love to talk and share information, so make sure you do.
And while you’re relishing those ciders, don’t forget to try one of their bagel sandwiches, worth the stop alone! Takeda says he was inspired by a bagel he had while in England and was determined to recreate the experience in Japan. Makes us wonder, could there be a Bagelnaut in the future?
Cidernaut’s hours of operation:
Open everyday: 12:00~23:30
〒155-0047 Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Kamiyama-cho 16-4