There is an essay written by Shōtarō Ikenami “Would like to have something delicious while strolling”. The word “Always want to drink lots more variety of sake while traveling in Japan” is my word referring his essay and one of my objectives of traveling Japan.
Of course, one of the reasons is labels I could bring back to Taiwan are few, so I have to drink more in Japan. Article introduces the my very personal way to meet and drink a variery of nice sake in Japan.
Nightcap in hotel
No matter how much I had drunk during the daytime, I would almost bring one more label attracted me, some sashimi and fried dishes back to the hotel. I love to enjoy them in a relaxing mood and appreciate the change of taste every hour.
And, I always choose the one that I can’t bring back to Taiwan. That is Namazake. “If I can’t bring it back, then drink it.”
Small volume glass／Food pairing
Speaking of having more various labels, the first place comes to mind might be Izakaya, where stocks lots kind of sake at a proper temperature. Izakaya tells us the best temperature by each label and what kind of dishes to pair with.
Most of the Izakaya offer 180ml per labels, and 2-3 glasses are the limit of most people. It is a pity, but we can only try another day. However, there are more and more Izakaya offer small volume glass (60~120ml), and even 30ml glass, 3 glasses for one combination. This is what a good luck for Japan traveling lovers.
Besides, some of the sake specialty stores offer various types of sake flights, so that the customer can figure out what their interests are, and shorten the time to select. Telling the different taste of sake is the quite exciting experience.
I myself like a store called “ABURA CHO” so much, which is located in Fushimi, Kyoto. When I visit Kyoto, I definitely go there for couples of sake flights, and pair with some nibbles. That always satisfies my a craving!
↑はせがわ酒店in Omotesando hills, Tokyo, Japan
↑ “Abura Cho” in Fushimi, Kyoto, Japan
This is the fastest way to know different series of a single brewery and different grades of a single series. If you meet a special tour guide, it can be more wonderful!
Severe winter a few years ago, I had stayed one night in Asahikawa on purpose during my Hokkaido trip, so that I could visit the 3 nearby breweries: Takasago, Otokoyama, and Taisetsu no Kura (closed on 30/12/2012) at once. Furthermore, I luckily hit the annual opening day of Otokoyama Shuzo and I could taste the day-limited sake with the joyful atmosphere such as Omatsuri. That was such an unforgettable experience.
↑ The label I tried at Otokoyama Shuzo
All you can drink sake bar
These days, there are more new “All-you-can-drink sake bar” opening in Japan and got the high evaluation. In last March, I bought some foods at a convenience store and went to the “KURAND SAKE MARKET” Ikebukuro branch. Hundreds of labels of sake offered in the store are divided into several categories: house sake, seasonal sake, daily sake, KURAND limited, for the beginner, non-filtered namazake, fruit liqueur etc. The system is very unique, customers serve by themselves. That is why it’s possible to try as many labels as they can with small quantity. I was satisfied with 40~50 labels in a night unexpectedly.
↑ Lots of office-worker brought various gourmets to get a drink here. We could also feel the joyful atmosphere.
Taking participated in sake exhibitions
As a sake lover, attending to at least one local sake exhibition in Japan is absolute.
I can try not only various sake from different breweries but also talk with brewers directly. This is a quite informative opportunity to learn more about sake. Same in last March, we bounded to Niigata for the two-day event, “Niigata sake no Jin”. Somehow we ate delightfully there. Wasn’t that a sake exhibition? How come there are so many delicious foods?! I will introduce it in my next article.
How does everyone get knowledge of sake during your trip? If you guys have any other way, it’d be welcomed to share with me!