Pure Heaven: Enjoying Sake in Japan

Education, Fun &..., Japan | 22 Oct 2012

 

Sake

Sake

Sake

Sake

 

Want to enjoy your visit to Japan? While you’re here, be sure to try some top-quality sake with some friends and good food—sushi, or yakitori are high on my list.

Can you find good sake back home? Probably, but most of the sake available at your local liquor shop isn’t worth drinking. You could order a bottle online and enjoy it that way, but the absolute best way to imbibe high-quality sake is to come to Japan and drink it…at its source!

 

Where to drink

Sake goes well with a lot of Japanese food. Here are a few that I recommend.

 

Sushi & Sashimi

Sashimi

Sashimi

Sushi is good, but sashimi (a plate of raw fish) is even better. Give it a try!

 

Yakitori

Yakitori

Yakitori

Grilled chicken and vegetables. Excellent.

 

Robatayaki

Robatayaki

Robatayaki

Like yakitori, but with a wider selection. The food is usually laid out in bamboo baskets, and grilled right in front of you. My favorite restaurant in Japan is a small robatayaki place on Komachi Dori in Kamakura called Utsuki. Wonderful!

Grilled asparagus

Grilled asparagus

 

Deep-fried fish

Deep-fried fish

Grilled mushroom

Grilled mushroom

Typical robatayaki shop

Typical robatayaki shop

Tempura

Deep fried vegetables and seafood. It goes great with sake.

 

Izakaya

These are fairly inexpensive restaurant/bars that Japanese businessmen frequent. The menu is diverse, and the sake is cheap.

A typical Izakaya menu

A typical Izakaya menu

 

What to drink

My two favorites are Kubota Manju and Hakkaisan. The first one is hard to find and expensive. The second is available just about anywhere and moderately priced. You can drink sake cold, at room temperature, or heated. Heated is good in the winter, but the quality of the sake will be low. But it still tastes great!

Kubota Manju

Kubota Manju

Hakkaisan

Hakkaisan

Sake-World.com’s John Gautner’s Picks

John Gaunter

John Gaunter

 

John is recognized as THE sake expert and runs Sake-World.com. He lived in Kamakura for many years, so knows what he’s talking about. Here is a list of his recommendations.

Choosing your cup

Part of the pleasure drinking sake in Japan is the variety of small cups (called o-cho-ko). They come in all colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Try as many as you can. Each o-cho-ko brings a different sake experience along with it.

Sake cup

Sake cup

 

How to drink

Japanese pour sake for each other. It’s an intimate way to drink, and a great way to cement a relationship! Enjoy!

Pouring sake

Pouring sake

 

Ukiyoe-Geisha and sake add

Ukiyoe-Geisha and sake add

Ukiyoe-Serving sake

Ukiyoe-Serving sake

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About Me!

Born on Long Island, New York in 1958, Larry Knipfing has spent the last 30+ years of his life living in Japan, and loving every minute of it! Kamakura, and now Yokohama both in Kanagawa Prefecture, have been his home for almost twenty years, and are the perfect places to be: hilly, situated on the water, and with amazing histories.

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