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Sake Breweries in Japan you should check out!

One of the staples of Japanese drinking culture is Sake! If you haven’t heard of Sake before, don’t worry, by the end of this article, you will be an expert in the types of Sake and different breweries in Japan!

What is Japanese Sake?

Sake Breweries in Japan What is Japanese Sake 1

So what is Sake? Japanese Sake, also known as Nihonshu (日本酒) is a type of alcohol that is unique to Japan. The primary ingredients used to make Sake are rice, rice malt and water. Sake is said to have originated in the Jomon – Yayoi period therefore has a long and extensive history.

Sake Breweries in Japan What is Japanese Sake 2

The alcohol content of Sake can vary, however it averages around the 15% mark making it fairly strong, but light enough to sip and enjoy at a reasonable pace. There are certain brands that can push their way up to the 20% mark, however under the Liquor Tax law, in order to be classified as Sake, the alcohol content cannot exceed 22%.

Sake Breweries in Japan What is Japanese Sake 3

How do you drink it? Different Sakes can be enjoyed in different ways. It is quite common for certain types of sake to be heated up slightly (this is known as Atsukan 熱燗). Other sakes are preferred cold over ice.

So now you have the fundamentals of Sake sorted, lets have a look at which breweries you can visit and drink Sake!

Asahi Sake Brewery [Niigata]

Sake Breweries in Japan Asahi Sake Brewery
Credit: Travel to Tohoku

Founded in 1830, Asahi Shuzo has been a running brewery for nearly 200 years. They pride themselves on the use of water from underground veins and delicious rice.

The brewery tour at Asahi includes a 60-minute tour of the production process which can happen on certain seasons, but also have a 20 minute tour that is held year round. On this tour, you will visit three different storage buildings, the Momiji, Hotaru and Inaho warehouses, as well as an overview of the sake brewing process and history.

They also offer an online brewery tour in case you are unable to visit the brewery itself.

Address:  880-1 Asahi, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata 949-5494

Opening times: Guide time –  1. 11:00 2. 12:00 3. 13:00 4. 14:00

Contact: TEL- 0258-41-3777

Cost: Free

Buko Shuzo Sake Brewery [Saitama]

Sake Breweries in Japan Buko Shuzo Sake Brewery
Credit: Buko Shuzo

This Sake brewery is based in Chichibu City where it is said to be the perfect place for Sake brewing due to the good quality of water. This brewery is set in a beautiful natural environment with a history that spans more than 260 years.

It is worth noting that this brewery is not open for tours currently due to the Coronavirus, however is absolutely recommended to visit due to its location and the Sake tasting experience. There is a short tour option where you are able to see into production rooms and observe sake-making processes.

Address: 368-0046 21-27 Miyagi-cho, Chichibu-shi, Saitama

Opening times: 8:00 – 17:30, Open on Sundays

Contact: TEL – 0494220046

Cost: ¥1000 ¥1999

Ozawa Sake Brewery Sawanoi [Tokyo]

Sake Breweries in Japan Ozawa Sake Brewery Sawanoi
Credit: Ozawa Brewery

If you find yourself in Tokyo, an interesting Sake brewery to visit is the Ozawa Sake Brewery Sawanoi. In this brewery, sake is made from water that springs up from a cave that is dug up from the bedrock.

Throughout the tour, you are able to see into the well of the brewery and the warehouse in which the Sake is made. At the end of your tour, this brewery also allows you to try their Kiki sake.

Address: 2-770 Sawai, Ome-shi, Tokyo

Opening times: General tours are available 4 times a day (11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00)

Contact: TEL – 0428-78-8215

Cost: Free

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum [Kyoto]

Sake Breweries in Japan Laurel Crown Okura Memorial Hall
Credit: 663highland

Located in Fushimi, Kyoto, this brewery is based in one of the leading Sake places in all of Japan. The brewery was built in 1906 to produce Daiginjo-class sake using old-fashioned tools such as koshiki and koji lids.

In the brewery tour, you are able to see how the molomi is fermented using the original methods. If you time your tour right, you may also witness the rice preparation and steaming

Address: 247 Minamihamacho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8660

Opening times: 9:30AM – 4:30PM

Contact: 075-623-2056

Cost: Over 20 years old: 600 yen (tax included), 13 years old ~ 19 years old: 100 yen (tax included), 12 years old and under: Free If you are 13 years old or older, souvenir is included

Takasago Sake Brewery [Hokkaido]

Sake Breweries in Japan Takasago Sake Brewery

The Takasago Sake brewery is located in an area which is rich in its water source. The sake produced here is known for its storage process which uses long-term low-temperature aging deep in snow that has fallen. Even without refrigeration, over the cold nights in Hokkaido, the temperatures fall well below freezing, allowing this sake to turn crisp and fresh.

In the tour, you will become familiar with the sake brewery process and are able to see the storage areas up close!

Address: 17 Miyashita-dori, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido 070-0030,

Opening times: Tour starts at 10:00 or 15:00

Contact: TEL – 0166-23-2251

Cost: –

Toshimaya Sake Brewery [Tokyo]

Sake Breweries in Japan Toshimaya Sake Brewery
Credit: Toshimaya Sake Brewery

Here is a unique one. Toshimaya Sake Brewery provides a tour set at night! Toshimaya is the oldest sake store in Tokyo which opened in 1596. It is well known for its sake called Shirozake which is a sweet rice liqueur and has been cited in many novels and traditional Japanese plays.

During the evening sake brewery tour, you are able to listen to the sound of sake fermenting and taste 4-6 kinds of sake. They also hold events and workshops!

Address: 189-0003 Tokyo, Higashimurayama, Kumegawacho, 3 Chome−14−10

Opening times: 9AM – 5PM, Weekends 1PM – 5PM

Contact: 042-391-0601

Cost: [Day] ¥999] – [Night] ¥999

Suehiro Sake Brewery [Fukushima]

Sake Breweries in Japan Suehiro Sake Brewery

Founded in 1850, this sake brewery opened up during the Edo period. For 150 years this brewery has been making high quality sake and it is said that the brewery resembles an environment that feels as if you have stepped back in time to the Edo period.

Interestingly, the area in which the tanks that are used to brew the sake, are cooled using circulated underground water. Even during the hotter summer periods, it can feel quite chilly in this tour, so it is recommended to wear something warm even in the summer. During the tour you will be introduced to the history of sake brewing while being able to see different types of sake rice.

Address: 12-38 Nisshinmachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0861

Opening times: 10AM – 3PM, Closed Wednesday

Contact: TEL – 0242-27-0002

Cost: Free

Final Thoughts

Sake Breweries in Japan Final Thoughts

So there we have it, hopefully now you are feeling like a Sake master, with all the knowledge of the best sake breweries and the sake brewing process of Japan. Each of these breweries offer a slightly different experience, so see how many you can visit on your travels!

We host our own bar tours regularly as well! We take you to all kinds of unique and underground locations around Tokyo, with anywhere between five to fifteen international guests! We’ve also lived in Japan for years and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have, ranging from history, and culture to society and nightlife! Come join us for a great night!

Stay tuned for more information about Japan travel, Japanese culture, moving to Japan, living in Japan and more.

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We’re your local friend in Japan, helping you explore, experience and enjoy the ins and outs of Japan! When we first arrived in Tokyo, we all found this city to be overwhelming, not sure where to begin. During the years that we have lived here in Japan, we have discovered and visited countless famous tourist attractions as well as unique underground places. We are now proud to say that we are experts of Japan and would love to share the knowledge with all of you!

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FLIP GUIDE TEAM

Hey friend!

Just like you, we are foreigners from all around the world.

When we first arrived in Tokyo, we all found this city to be overwhelming, not sure where to begin.

During the years that we have lived here in Japan, we have discovered and visited countless famous tourist attractions as well as unique and underground places.

We are now proud to say that we are experts of Japan and would love to share the knowledge with all of you!

 

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