You can’t go to Japan and not taste their Sake! Sake Tasting, in my opinion, is an interesting activity that you should do while in Kyoto!

I mean seriously, even if you don’t drink, I would suggest you do visit a Sake museum and distillery and understand how they do it; a bit about it! An important thing I learnt here was that the taste of Sake depends on the taste of the pure ground water; better the water, better is the Sake!

For tasting Sake, we visited the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum in the outskirts of Kyoto. This is run by the popular Gekkeikan Sake Company, Ltd which has been selling Sake all over the world. I totally recommend visiting this place to understand the entire process of manufacturing Sake. It will also be a good idea to buy Sake here to take back home.

Note – This is not a promotional post. You can visit any of the Sake Museums/distillery in the area. This is where we did the tasting after hearing a lot of good reviews about them.

PIN to read later – Sake Tasting at Gekkeikan!

How to reach Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum?

Since we had our JR Pass, we took the JR Nara line to Momoyama Station from Kyoto Station. It is a 20-minute walk from Momoyama Station to the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. You can also take the Kintetsu Line from Kyoto and get down at Momoyama-Goryomae Station which is less than a 10-minute walk!

The Sake Tasting and Museum Tour

There is no audio or instructor led tour inside Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. Everything is written in English and Japanese and I thought that was very self-explanatory. They have a beautiful courtyard from where we started.

The Courtyard at Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

This is also where the pure Sakamizu is – The Fushimi water wells up and is used in the Sake making. This is available to taste.

Sakamizu -The Famous Fushimi water ‘welling’ up!

From here we enter the exhibition rooms where they have displayed over 400 Sake brewing tools. The museum also has staged replicas of the process involved along with several exhibits that speak of the past!

Display of Exhibits

Once you are out in the lobby, they have 2 Sakes (dry and semi dry) and one Plum Wine for tasting.

3 Sake Products – Retro Bottle Ginjoshu, Tama-no-Izumi, Daiginjio and Plum Wine

Like most Sake Museums and Distilleries, Gekkeikan also has its shop right after the tasting area where we can purchase Sake at a slightly discounted price. Here, they sell Sake snacks and chocolates as well.

Gekkeikan has a lot of their staff scattered around to assist the visitors. This was very helpful as we could pick the right gifts to take back home.

At about 400 Yen per person, this activity is worth your time. You will also get a free tiny plastic sake bottle (with some local Gekkeikan Sake) to carry back with you as a parting gift!

Tip – Buy the Semi Dry Sake and the Plum Wine. They tasted good and unique!


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  1. The distillery looks really beautiful. I have heard so much about the Japanese sake but never really understood it. So, made from pure ground water and the better the water, the better the sake? Got it. Learnt a thing or two from this post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Okay, all these days I was planning for a teppanaki treat. But Sake looks more intriguing! Gotta do this 😀

  3. Very interesting! I have tried Sake once before but I feel like doing a tour would make it a much better experience.

  4. I love the idea of sake tasting. I have done tea ceremony before so might add try this next time I travel to Japan.

  5. I can’t wait to visit Japan one day, and I will definitely try some sake! I’ve tried rice wine in Korea, and I imagine it tastes pretty similar?

  6. The Sake distillery and museum sounds really interesting. It is so wonderful to have these cultural experiences – there is often a lot more to the drinking process than you think. I really enjoyed our tequila distillery tour in Mexico and a Sake tour in Japan is now firmly on my list 🙂

  7. I love Japanese cuisine but I am still getting used to sake. Tasting sake in Japan must be an awesome experience. I hope I get to do this someday.

  8. This is a must to-do thing for me when I go Japan. I have always been a huge fan and enthusiast of the Japanese culture and I have been saving up for my trip there eventually and tasting sake is on the top of my list to do the moment I get there!

  9. I must admit I’m not a fan of Japanese food, and therefore I had never even heard of Sake before.
    However, this is very curious! I would love to see how they make it and how different (or similar) it can be from European wine / liquor.

  10. I had plenty of sake when I was in Japan but never did a formal tasting. That sounds like a great idea to learn more about it and find out which ones are the best or at least which ones you like the best.

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