Taste The Spirit Of Japan! 5 Must-Visit Historical Sake Breweries In Country

On your next trip to Japan, hop on a sake brewery tour for a top-shelf experience!


Japan loves it’s sake! Sake or Nihonshu (as Japanese calls it) is made in family-run breweries that run through generations. Making sake is a time-honoured tradition here––a craft that blends alcohol with ancient brewery techniques. In these premium breweries, the artisans use their magic to ferment rice into a beverage bursting with flavours! With only four basic ingredients – rice, kōji (rice mould), water and yeast, a unique flavoured sake is made. A tour of a sake brewery is a sensory journey and a pass to experience top-notch craftsmanship. Here, you’ll witness various stages of sake-making—right from the washing and polishing of rice to the delicate fermentation process. And of course, no sake brewery tour is complete without a tasting! So, on your next trip to Japan, make sure to witness this extraordinary ancient craft and to savour a beverage that’s as unique as the land it comes from. In this article, we have brought to you some of the best historical breweries across Japan.  


Ishikawa Brewery, Kyoto 

Ishikawa brewery

This brewery in Kyoto has been producing sake for more than 150 years. Their signature sake ‘Tamajiman’, is made from pure mineral water, and carefully sourced ingredients all locally. In addition to sake, Ishikawa Brewery also produces different beers and a ‘Tokyo Blues’ collection––a series of drinks inspired by the blues music genre. Here, tour their Kura buildings that are inspired from old Japanese architecture, built during the 19th and 20th century and appreciate their best brew under a special keyaki tree. This ancient property is also registered as a National heritage site and offers an authentic feel of Tokyo’s rich spirit-making industry. You can reach Ishikawa Brewery by a 110-minute train ride from Haneda airport and a 150-minute train ride from Narita airport.


Fujioka Sake Brewery, Kyoto

Fujioka brewery

With a rich and dramatic history, Fujioka Sake Brewery has been making sake for over 100 years in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. Here, the sake is made using underground water from the wells of Fushimi and homegrown rice from nearby prefectures. Sake aficionados from around the country flock to this property to taste its offerings. On the tour here, you can delve into traditional spirit making and get to know about various types of sake they sell. During tastings, do try their newly-launched ‘Aozora’ and if you like it take it as a souvenir!


Suehiro Sake Brewery, Fukushima

Suehiro Sake brewery

This family-owned brewery that started in the mid 1800s is a major attraction for travellers in Fukushima. Suehiro’s sake has won many accolades locally and internationally. They produce their drinks using the traditional ‘Yamahai’ (slow open fermentation) technique. Alongside sake,  the brewery catalogue also offers sparkling sake and a sake bath extract. During your visit to Suehiro, do try their most premium range of sake including Daiginjo Genzai and Daiginjo swords. At the brewery’s café, you must try their sake-infused pound cake and sake jelly. The brewery also houses a small concert hall and museum of cameras for visitors.


Sawanoi Sake Brewery, Tokyo

  Sawanoi Sake Brewery


Sawanoi Sake Brewery is the oldest brewery in Tokyo as it has been brewing for over 300 years. (Now that’s ancient!) Founded in 1702, the sake in this brewery is made using fresh spring water from Chichibu rocks. With spectacular views of mountains and the Mitake valley in Okutama, this property features restaurants, souvenir shops and an art museum for guests. On the brewery tour, which is generally open to all, you can explore the whole facility and watch the spring water flow through the rock formations, and of course, taste-test their sake!


Kankiku Brewery, Chiba      

Kanikiku brewery

Kankiku Brewery makes a wide range of alcohol including 21 types of sake, 5 different shochu (Japanese traditional hard liquor) using traditional methods for 130 years now. To skip the city hussle, tour their brewery located along the coastline of Chiba. Kankiku offers an array of flavourful and relatively fresh sake products. This brewery offers tours of the main production line for visitors during the major sake-making periods in November and March and rest of the facilities tour is available through-out the year. During the tour,  you can try their range of sake including Souno Kangiku, Matsuo pride and their craft beer Kujukuri Ocean. As soon as the tour ends, make sure to pop by the on-site restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal with a perfect glass of brew!

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