Foreigner-Friendly Sake Breweries to Visit Nearby Tokyo
Where to Enjoy Japan's National Beverage
A trip to Japan would be incomplete without sampling some sake. But to many foreigners interested in Japan, sake can seem mysterious and impossible to understand. With labels written in kanji and an array of classifications dependent on things like rice polishing, pasteurization, and the addition of distilled alcohol to the final product – it can be difficult to know where to start.
The best way to improve your understanding of sake is to visit one of the many breweries operating in Japan today. Here’s a guide to four sake breweries nearby Tokyo that offer tours and other services in English.
Tonoike Sake Brewery (Tonoike Shuzouten)
The Tonoike family has been brewing sake in Tochigi Prefecture since 1829, and Tonoike Sake Brewery’s current brewery location was founded in 1937. Using soft water from Nikko mountain snowmelt and carefully selected rice varieties, this brewery specializes in using traditional techniques to create their award-winning, smooth-tasting sake varieties. In addition to the brewery, visitors can also tour the sake museum on site and visit the tasting room for sake samples.
About 2.5 hours north of Tokyo, the town of Mashiko is well-known for producing beautiful, distinctive pottery. After touring the brewery, why not visit the ceramics museum or spend some time hunting for treasures at one of the many pottery shops in the area?
Shimazaki Sake Brewery (Shimazaki Shuzo)
About 2.5 hours north of Tokyo, I recommend stopping in nearby Utsunomiya for gyoza, cocktails, and jazz music to make a day trip of visiting this brewery.
Watanabesahei Sake Brewery (Watanabesahei Shouten)
Katayama Sake Brewery (Katayama Shuzou)
Did this article pique your interest in sake tourism?
Sake Voyage, a collaboration by these four family-run sake breweries nearby Tokyo, have put together a selection of premium sake experiences aimed at foreign travelers including tours, tastings, dinners, and traditional craft experiences. Visit the website to learn more and book today.
Sake Brewery in Mashiko
- Tonoike Sake Brewery (外池酒造店) – Tonoike Sake Brewery Tours
Sake Brewery in Nasu-Karasuyama
- Shimazaki Sake Brewery (島崎酒造) – Shimazaki Sake Brewery Tours
Sake Breweries in Nikko
Allison moved from the US to Utsunomiya with her husband in 2019. As an avid reader and enthusiastic home cook, her idea of “be prepared” is to never leave home without a book & snack. She is always up for an adventure and likes to explore Japan’s “off the beaten path” destinations and sample local foods.