Sake reveals the true heart.

—Japanese Proverb

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sake  /sɑˈkɛ/

Sake is usually categorized as either sweet or dry, much like wines are generally divided into red or white. But the types of sake (nihonshu in Japanese) don't stop there, as Japan's rice wine offers a wide variety of flavors, types and characteristics that vary by region. From refined junmai daiginjo—sake made entirely from highly polished rice—to down-to-earth local jizake, freshly brewed or carefully aged, every bottle is a discovery.

Find your favorite types of sake, learn which kinds are best served hot or cold and get tips from true connoisseurs when visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.

tokyo

Tokyo

Sake Tasting Tours

Japan's capital is a wonderful place to start your sake journey, with a wide range of tastings and tours for all budgets. Tokyo is surrounded by dozens of historic breweries, and is home to bars where you can sample hundreds of rice wines from across the country. Head out to the countryside for sake-themed day trips, and experience a side of Japan visitors often miss.

100 Types of Sake All-You-Can-Drink Tasting at a Local Bar in Ikebukuro

100 Types of Sake All-You-Can-Drink Tasting at a Local Bar in Ikebukuro

★★★★★ (5.00)

Dive into Sake with more than 100 types to try! Bring your own snacks and have fun with no time limit and free re-entry. Pick up something tasty at the station before you arrive.

JPY 3,240  
(approx. USD 30.00)

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<VELTRA Original> Historic Kawagoe and Retro Saitama Sake Tasting Tour from Tokyo
VELTRA Original

Historic Kawagoe and Retro Saitama Sake Tasting Tour from Tokyo

Journey out from Tokyo to the quiet suburbs of Saitama. Experience Japanese culture with visits to Kawagoe, Gyoda, and Kumagaya while viewing historical architecture and tasting local sake!

From JPY 8,798  
(approx. USD 83.00)

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<VELTRA Original> Kawagoe Sake Tasting and Bonsai Museum Tour from Tokyo
VELTRA Original

Kawagoe Sake Tasting and Bonsai Museum Tour from Tokyo

Go off the beaten path to experience Japanese culture through sake tasting and bonsai. Only an hour away from Tokyo, stroll the retro streets of Kawagoe with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide!

From JPY 5,885  
(approx. USD 55.00)

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<VELTRA Original> Bellovisto Bar Drinks and Appetizers on the 40th Floor of Cerulean Tower Hotel
VELTRA Original

Bellovisto Bar Drinks and Appetizers on the 40th Floor of Cerulean Tower Hotel

★★★★★ (5.00)

Spend a luxurious evening with fine appetizers, delightful drinks, and a panoramic view of Tokyo from the 40th floor of the Cerulean Tower. You will be serenaded with a live piano performance too.

From JPY 9,500  
(approx. USD 89.00)

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Sake Tasting with 100 Different Kinds of Local Sake at a Bar in Ueno

Sake Tasting with 100 Different Kinds of Local Sake at a Bar in Ueno

★★★★★ (5.00)

Dive into Sake with more than 100 types to try! Bring your own snacks and have fun with no time limit and free re-entry. Located right by the Ueno Station, don't wait, book today.

From JPY 2,160  
(approx. USD 20.00)

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Private Mt.Fuji Viewing, Sake Brewery, and Whisky Distillery Tour from Tokyo

Private Mt.Fuji Viewing, Sake Brewery, and Whisky Distillery Tour from Tokyo

Cruise through the panoramic roads leading to Mt.Fuji from Tokyo. Tour around to see wonderful views of the surrounding lakes and forests before stopping by a whisky distillery and sake brewery.

From JPY 9,556  
(approx. USD 90.00)

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fuji

Mt. Fuji

Sake Tasting Tours

While Mt. Fuji doesn't usually conjure images of breweries, the sparklingly clean water from the Five Lakes make this an ideal spot to create top-quality sake. Sip the light rice wines while admiring Japan's most iconic mountain, and perhaps round out your trip with a stop at the famous Hakushu or Kirin whisky distilleries!

Private Mt.Fuji Viewing, Sake Brewery, and Whisky Distillery Tour from Tokyo

Private Mt.Fuji Viewing, Sake Brewery, and Whisky Distillery Tour from Tokyo

Cruise through the panoramic roads leading to Mt.Fuji from Tokyo. Tour around to see wonderful views of the surrounding lakes and forests before stopping by a whisky distillery and sake brewery.

From JPY 9,556  
(approx. USD 90.00)

Book Now
kyoto

Kyoto

Sake Tasting Tours

Japan's ancient capital boasts 40 sake breweries, most located in the Fushimi district nearby the magical rows of torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Enjoy tastings while strolling along Kyoto's retro streets, or learn about the process of making this iconic beverage on tours of the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum.

Sake Tasting Experience at a Traditional Sake Brewery in Kyoto

Sake Tasting Experience at a Traditional Sake Brewery in Kyoto

Tour the Horino Memorial Museum or Matsui Brewery, then sample a few glasses of delicious rice wine. Discover the taste of top-quality sake in Kyoto with a friendly guide!

You can choose to visit the Horino Memorial Museum, a former sake brewery which used to produce one of the highest quality sake brands in Japan, or the Matsui Shuzo Brewery, a modern-style sake brewery. Enjoy a tour (in English) of the traditional townhouse architecture or brewery facilities, then sample a few glasses of several different kinds of sake at the cafe corner in the storehouse. A great way to start off your evening.

JPY 6,048  
(approx. USD 56.00)

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Sake Tasting and Fushimi Inari Shrine Morning Tour in Kyoto

Sake Tasting and Fushimi Inari Shrine Morning Tour in Kyoto

Offer up a prayer to the god of rice and protector of warriors, Inari Okami. Visit his brilliant main shrine before being touring a sake museum and sampling their delicious rice wines!

Follow your expert guide and visit Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine famous for its endless tunnels of torii gates. Painted a brilliant and fiery red, they seem to beckon you to a sacred dimension. It is believed that the great spirit of Inari Okami inhabits this place. Check out the myriad of fox statues that populate this otherworldly locale.

Japan's national beverage (sake) cannot be created without rice, so your final destination will be the Gekkeikan Okura Kinen Kan, a sake museum and brewery. Sample a vast variety of Japanese rice-wine to find your favorite!

JPY 8,900  
(approx. USD 84.00)

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Fushimi Inari Temple Visit and Sake Tasting Private Tour in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Temple Visit and Sake Tasting Private Tour in Kyoto

Spend the morning exploring often overlooked jewels of southern Kyoto! Explore the thousands of orange torii gates of the famous Inari Shrine, before enjoying a flavorful sake-tasting tour.

Start your morning off with a guided tour of Fushimi Inari, the most famous Shinto shrine dedicated to the goddess of rice and agriculture. Travel through paths lined by over 40,000 torii gates as you ascend the trails up the sacred Mount Inari, and look down over Kyoto from 230 meters up!

After the morning hike, visitors will have an in-depth introduction to everything sake! First up will be a sake brewery, where guests can sample several types of local sake. After the brewery, visitors will go to a specialty shop that has over 80 different kinds of bottled rice-wine available.

JPY 11,448  
(approx. USD 108.00)

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Nishiki Market Crash Course and Sushi Making Tour in Kyoto

Nishiki Market Crash Course and Sushi Making Tour in Kyoto

★★★★★ (4.67)

Get hands-on experience with Japanese cuisine, and explore the shops of the local market to find all the ingredients you need for a delicious lunch. Learn to make sushi and sample sake at a brewery!

The tour starts at Nishiki Market (known as "Kyoto's Kitchen"), the most lively market in the city. Here you will purchase the ingredients for your sushi-making lesson later that day, assisted by your local guide.

After walking through the market, head to an old sake brewery, where the sake-making process is explained and guests can sample several types of sake. Next stop is a machiya, a traditional townhouse, where a professional chef will teach you how to make sushi rolls.

JPY 12,528  
(approx. USD 118.00)

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One Day Nara Premium Tour with Lunch and Sake Tasting from Kyoto

One Day Nara Premium Tour with Lunch and Sake Tasting from Kyoto

Visit majestic Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, where you can meet Shinto priests or priestesses. Enjoy a lovely lunch, time to explore the town and a sake tasting too!

JPY 33,000  
(approx. USD 310.00)

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osaka

Osaka

Sake Tasting Tours

Osaka is known as the 'Nation's Kitchen', so it is no surprise that good sake is a high priority in this food-obsessed city. Check out day trips to the well-known Nada breweries, or join a local to explore the many watering holes and sake experiences around town.

Kobe Sightseeing and Nada Sake Brewery Walking Tour from Osaka

Kobe Sightseeing and Nada Sake Brewery Walking Tour from Osaka

★★★★☆ (4.00)

Head for Kobe to see the city highlights, and out to Nada, where Japanese sake is lovingly brewed by masters of the craft on a full day tour.

From high rises to gentle parks, Kobe is home to a huge variety of wonderful spots, and your guide is out to show them off! After a buffet lunch, head out to Nada, where Japanese sake is carefully brewed, and enjoy both a tour and tasting.

JPY 14,500  
(approx. USD 135.00)

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Private Local Food and Drinking Evening Tour of Osaka (English-Speaking Guide)

Private Local Food and Drinking Evening Tour of Osaka (English-Speaking Guide)

Visit two of Osaka's best drinking areas while eating and drinking like the locals. Experience a standing bar and try some delicious local cuisine, accompanied by an English-speaking guide.

After sundown, the bars and izakayas in Tenma liven up with after work salary men and office ladies. Join the crowd of locals with a cup of sake or beer while savoring some local dishes at an open bar.

After a few bites, head over to Kyobashi on a train to experience a standing bar and more food. Discover Osaka through their unique food, drinking culture and history all on this night time walking tour.

JPY 10,800  
(approx. USD 101.00)

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Nighttime Sake Tasting and Sashimi Dinner in Osaka

Nighttime Sake Tasting and Sashimi Dinner in Osaka

Hop on the train to explore Japanese pubs, bars, and izakayas with your local sake-loving guide! Taste a wide variety of Japanese sake while savoring a gourmet sashimi dinner in Osaka.

JPY 9,500  
(approx. USD 88.00)

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fukuoka

Fukuoka

Sake Tasting Tours

Kyushu's capital city is often associated with shochu, a fiery spirit made from potatos or barley, but Fukuoka's sake breweries are not to be missed. Get to know the local rice wines at fun informal tasting sessions, or join a tour to check out sakagura outside of Fukuoka.

Fukuoka Sake Tasting Experience with Snacks

Fukuoka Sake Tasting Experience with Snacks

Savor the distinct blend of flavors of Japan's iconic drink on an authentic sake tasting experience in Fukuoka. In just an hour, sample 5 of the finest Japanese rice wines from the Kyushu region.

JPY 3,240  
(approx. USD 30.00)

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nagano

Nagano

Sake Tasting Tours

One of Japan's few landlocked prefectures, Nagano's high mountains provide clear streams and an ideal cool climate for sake production. Combine a day trip to visit the hot springs-loving snow monkeys with tastings at one of 80 historic breweries, and taste the clean mountain air in every sip.

Full Day Nagano Tour with Snow Monkey Park Ticket and Sake Tasting

Full Day Nagano Tour with Snow Monkey Park Ticket and Sake Tasting

Take a scenic walk to visit cute monkeys known to bathe in the hot spring before heading over to the historical Zenkoji Temple. Sample some sake in a local brewery for a memorable time in Nagano.

JPY 15,500  
(approx. USD 145.00)

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sendai

Sendai

Sake Tasting Tours

Part of the northern Tohoku area, Sendai is right in the heart of rice country. The long cold winters, delicious local rice and crystal clear water make Miyagi prefecture a mecca for sake brewers. Come discover why the rice wines produced in this charming rural area are a constant favorite of sake-lovers across Japan!

Sake Night Out in Sendai with English-Speaking Guide

Sake Night Out in Sendai with English-Speaking Guide

Experience Sendai's nightlife like a local. Visit an izakaya pub, sample 3 kinds of sake and make new friends. The Tohoku area is famous for its delicious brews, so don't miss out!

JPY 5,000  
(approx. USD 47.00)

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Tips

Whether you are a sake beginner or are already familiar with the world of nihonshu, check out our tips to make the most of your brewery visits and tastings.

How to Taste Sake

Much like a regular wine tasting, you will want to focus on three things while sampling sake: color, aroma and palate.

Color

Before taking a sip, observe the color and sheen of your sake. Traditional tasting cups are often white with blue circles on the bottom, to help you see the color more clearly.

Aroma

Next, inhale the aroma of the rice wine. Is it floral, fruity or sharp? Does it fade quickly, or is it quite fragrant?

Palate

Finally, the fun part! Sip the sake and let the flavor wash over your palate. You may be surprised to find that the taste is far more complex then you would have guessed from the aroma.

Manners

🍶 Take a sip.

There is a reason sake is known as 'rice wine'—make sure to sip your drink, rather than taking a shot.

🍶 Don't pour it out.

Even if you aren't a fan of the tipple you are sampling, don't pour it out. At a brewery you are likely to be served by the craftsmen, so you don't want to insult their hard work!

🍶 Hold the cup.

If someone is pouring sake for you, it is a nice gesture to hold the cup up so it is easier for them to pour.

🍶 Don't ask for seconds.

Unless you plan on buying a bottle, asking for a second taste of a particular sake (if it is not offered) may come across as rude.