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