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Sake (日本酒) is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. It is one of the most popular drinks in Japan and it can be found at most restaurants in the nation though the best place to find high quality sake is at a sake brewery.



Types of sake[edit]

The taste and mouthfeel of sake can greatly very depending on the level of alcohol and the steps put into the sake's production method. Below are some following terms that are often used to describe the quality and production method of sake.

  • Ginjo (吟醸), Sake where at least 40% of the rice's grain has been polished away in order to create a more desirable product.
  • Daiginjo (大吟醸), Sake where at least 50% of the rice's grain has been polished away in order to create a more desirable product. This is the highest quality Sake and bottles of Daijingo sake are the most common at sake competitions.
  • Junmai (純米), Sake with no additional alcohol added, many premium sake breweries usually don't add alcohol to their sake and take pride in the fact their alcohol comes naturally from the fermentation process.
  • Honjozo (本醸造), Sake with a small amount of additional alcohol added, this is done to enhance flavour and lower production costs.
  • Namazake (生酒), Sake that wasn't pasteurized, it is said to taste fresher but it lacks a long shelf-life. It's also sometimes called raw sake.


Map of Sake

Sake districts[edit]

Perhaps the best place to try high quality sake is in one of Japan's top three sake districts, each of these districts is home to a high number of breweries and other sake-related attractions like museums or sake-festivals. These three districts are;

  • 1 Fushimi in Southern Kyoto.
  • 2 Nada in Kobe. The district is roughly three kilometers long and is home to many brewieres which are open to visitors. The district also features a number of sake museums.
    • Sawa-no-Tsuru Museum (沢の鶴資料館). This museum is probably the best in the district, with an informative multi-level exhibit partly labelled in English, and a well-stocked gift shop Sawanotsuru Sake Museum (Q11553106) on Wikidata
    • Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (白鶴酒造資料館, hakutsuru shuzōshiryōkan). This museum is inside a former brewery, and features traditional tools, dioramas and English-language videos to explain the sake-making processes. At the end, you can sample some sake, which is non-pasteurized, presumably because it doesn't have to travel far from the factory. Write your name on a piece of paper provided by the guard and return that at the end. Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (Q11580624) on Wikidata
    • Hamafukutsuru-Ginjo Brewery and Shop (浜福鶴吟醸工房). Hamafukutsuru offers factory tours where one can view the production facilities, rather than just being a museum Hamafukutsuru Ginjō Kōbō (Q11558039) on Wikidata
    • Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Company. Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Memorial Hall is the only facility that exhibits "Sake brewing utensils of Nada" which are tangible cultural properties of Japan. It is a museum of Sake that tells you the secret of traditional sake brewing techniques of the Tanba region. You can also try tasting different kinds of sake here for free. There will be a guide to take you though the museum and present the history of a prestigious "Sake of Nada" brewer.
  • 3 Saijō in Higashihiroshima.


Stay safe[edit]