Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center

Learn about Sakagura tourism in Shinbashi

By Eline Teunissen    - 3 min read

What better way to learn about a culture than through its traditional liquors? Flavours, ingredients and brewing techniques give a unique insight into a country’s history.

The Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center opened its doors to the public in Nishi-Shinbashi, Tokyo in 2016. It welcomes visitors to try different types and flavours of traditional Japanese alcohols like sake, shochu and awamori made from rice, potato, barley, etc.

The center features a small museum that has showcases with different sake and shochu on display. Tastefully and seasonally decorated, the room has plenty of visuals to attract the eye. The ceiling features a large wooden barrel similar to one used in a sake brewery and the showcases are decorated with hydrangeas for the summer season. Above the entrance of the center is a ‘sugidama’ (cedar ball). These were traditionally hung outside of breweries and when the color changed from green to brown, the village would know the sake was ready to be drunk. To this day, it is recognized as the traditional symbol of sake breweries.

The center offers over 100 different types of sake and shochu to learn about, taste and buy. The beverages are on a 3 to 4 week rotation so different breweries from across Japan are constantly featured. To taste them, you can pick a cup (from ¥100) or a tasting set (3 alcohols for ¥300-500; 5 for ¥500). There is no food served with the drinks but the flyers that are available at the center have information on food pairings and the staff are more than happy to give recommendations.

Saké tasting set
Saké tasting set

As well as alcoholic sake, they also serve different flavours of amazake - a sweet, non-alcoholic drink made from fermented rice, perfect for those who don’t drink alcohol.

The center always has English-speaking staff and their flyers, booklets and displays are all in English too. There are two screens on either side of the room that show the process of making sake and shochu through informative and fun videos. The best part is the virtual reality glasses. It’s a unique immersive way to experience the brewing process up close. The virtual tour lasts about 10 minutes and features stunning visuals.

Virtual reality glasses for an amazing brewery tour
Virtual reality glasses for an amazing brewery tour

In addition to the museum, the center hosts different events throughout the year, such as media gatherings, brewery events and seminars. If you are with a large group, it is possible to book a 30 minute seminar.

Saké: learning, tasting and having fun! (Photo: Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center)
Saké: learning, tasting and having fun! (Photo: Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center)

If you’re interested in learning more about sake and shochu, they host a bi-weekly podcast that highlights all the ins and outs of the sake world. The show is brought to you by experts in the field.

The Sake & Shochu Information Center truly provides a unique experience for those with even a passing interest in Japanese alcoholic beverages.

Getting there

A few minutes walk from either Toranomon station on the Ginza line or Uchisaiwaicho station on the Toei Mita line.

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Eline Teunissen

Eline Teunissen @eline.teunissen

Currently a marketing intern at Japan Travel but in my free time i'm a self proclaimed ramen connoisseur, flexitarian and film photography fan 

Join the discussion

Kim B a month ago
Living in Niigata, I've visited quite a few breweries. It's fascinating getting to learn all the "behind the scenes" stuff!