The Wonders of Sake

The Wonders of Sake

Drink in the culture of Japan’s national drink.

Japanese rice wine, also known as sake or nihonshu, is fermented from rice that’s been polished to remove the bran. It has been brewed for hundreds of years meaning there are plenty of varieties and cultural traditions that go along with its consumption.

The distinctive aromas of sake vary depending on the region they come from, the kind of rice used to make it and the distilling process employed by the sake brewers themselves. Because of its versatility there are many ways to enhance the enjoyment of your Japan experience with sake.

Drink in the culture of Japan’s national drink.

Discovering the Essence of Sake
When you first take part in a sake-tasting, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised by its versatile flavors – sweet, dry, mild, bold – there is a type of sake suited to everyone’s personal preference. Also like wine, Japanese people will select the sake best suited to the meal they are about to enjoy.

Discovering the Essence of Sake

When you first take part in a sake-tasting, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised by its versatile flavors – sweet, dry, mild, bold – there is a type of sake suited to everyone’s personal preference. Also like wine, Japanese people will select the sake best suited to the meal they are about to enjoy.

Hot sake is ideal for the chilly winter season…

Cold sake goes very well with sashimi, sushi and other traditional Japanese foods. It can also be paired with more Western fare, especially Italian or French cuisine. Hot sake is ideal for the chilly winter season, with Japanese people enjoying what is called “Yukimi Zake” (sake with snow watching). In the spring “Hanami Zake” (sake enjoyed under the cherry blossoms) is also a very popular tradition.

Sake is definitely not only about the particular taste, but also finding the sake that best complements your surroundings and the scenery there. It is most definitely an experiential drink and you should make the process of selecting your sake as important as its actual consumption!

Finding Your Perfect Sake

Now that you’ve got the concept of Sake, how do you find your favorites from among the thousands of sake on offer? Perhaps the best place to start is a nearby liquor shop that has a good selection of sake. Sometimes these stores will have dedicated in-house sake sommeliers, but even the shop owners themselves will have good recommendations for you. If you want to wing it, try picking sake by regions that you know or just trust your instincts and choose by an unusual label or an appealing bottle design.

If you are traveling outside of the city often you can find many locally manufactured sake…

Whatever your selection process, the sake you choose may bring you an interesting encounter. If you are traveling outside of the city often you can find many locally manufactured sake. This is often a great pathway to discovering something of the local culture as well.

After taking the tour, you’ll want to pick up some souvenirs of the visit to take home with you. Of course you can purchase bottles of the brewery’s sake, but additionally, cosmetic products and cakes made from sake are popular souvenirs.

Meet the Master at the Sakagura (Sake Brewery)

At first glance, producing sake would appear to be very simple; you only need three ingredients – rice, water and koji, which is malt extract made from rice. However the purity of the water is at the core of ‘good’ sake brewing. Each sake ‘master’ brings their own unique approach to the distilling, but in all of them there is an unseen appreciation and respect for nature that is essential to the process.

If you are interested in going beyond and learning more, we recommend joining a sake brewery tour, one of our favorites being the Katayama Shuzo brewery in Nikko where you can experience the real process of making sake during the winter months.

Meet the Master at the Sakagura (Sake Brewery)

After taking the tour, you’ll want to pick up some souvenirs of the visit to take home with you. Of course you can purchase bottles of the brewery’s sake, but additionally, cosmetic products and cakes made from sake are popular souvenirs.

Facility Name
Katayama Sake Brewing
Address
Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Segawa 146-2
Phone
0288210039
Business hours
8-18
Regular holiday
open everday
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Katayama Sake Brewing

    Liquor Store
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Segawa 146-2
cntlog