5 Best Sake Tours in Kyoto You Cannot Miss

kyoto fushimi canal

Why You Should Join a Sake Tour in Fushimi Kyoto

The Fushimi Sake District of Kyoto has prospered as a prominent area of sake brewing since the latter half of the 16th century, back when the area was a renowned castle town within Japan. Fushimi was originally written as “伏水”, which means ‘underground water’.

The area has good quality underground water which flows freely and has been loved by the people of Fushimi – as well as samurai, the nobility, and even the Emperor himself – over the centuries. In such a place, so significant in the history of Japan, Fushimi sake was born. Any attempt to understand Kyoto’s incredibly rich culture is best accompanied by a taste of Fushimi’s sake – something which will bring history a little closer.

Check Before You Book a Tour

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1 – Is Your Guide an Expert?

If you are joining a wine tasting tour, would you choose a general city tour guide to provide a specialized wine tasting experience? Doesn’t it make more sense to look for a wine expert if you want to really learn about wine? It works just the same way for sake. Tour guides with an expert knowledge of sake can provide you with a deeper understanding of what you are drinking, and show you how to enjoy it more fully.

2 – Is Your Guide Based in Kyoto?

If you participate in a sake tour run by a company with few connections in the Fushimi Sake District, they may not be able to provide you with a deep Fushimi experience.

3 – Does the Tour Have a Private Tasting Room?

If you take part in a sake tasting in a crowded izakaya or restaurant, it’s difficult to focus on the aroma and flavour of the sake. If the tour has a private tasting room, you can better appreciate the sake without any distractions.

4 – Sake Tours in Kyoto

What Kind of Sake Tour is Available in Kyoto?

Kyoto Insider Sake Experience

  • Tour Option : 3 hours (12300~13000 JPY) or 1.5 hours (9300 JPY)
  • Includes carefully selected sake tasting (10 types) and food for food pairing with sake
  • Sake expertise of guides: All guides are certified sake experts
  • Private sake tasting rooms: Two
  • Tours are available every day 
  • Specializes in sake tours
  • Only sake tour company based in the Fushimi Sake District, Kyoto

Arigato Food Tours

  • Tour Option : 3 hours (24300 JPY)
  • Includes sake tasting (several types) and lunch 
  • Sake expertise of guides: Unspecified
  • Private sake tasting rooms: No
  • General food tour operator
  • Based in Tokyo

WAK JAPAN

  • Tour Option : Fushimi Inari and Sake Brewery Tour (3.5 hours, 30800 yen)
  • Price for solo participation 61600 yenAmount of sake unspecified
  • Sake expertise of guides: Unspecified
  • Private sake tasting rooms: No
  • General tour operator
  • Based in Kyoto

Kampai Sake Tours

  • Tour Option : 3 hours (from 15000 JPY)
  • About 10 types of sake
  • Additional sake tasting (18 types) at your own cost 
  • Sake expertise of guides: Some (but not all) guides are certified sake experts
  • Private sake tasting rooms: No
  • Specializes in sake tours
  • Multiple locations
  • Based in Nishinomiya (near Kobe)

Magical Trip

  • Tour Option : 3 hours (12600 JPY)
  • Includes 22 kinds of sake
  • Sake expertise of guides: Unspecified
  • Private sake tasting rooms: No
  • Multiple locations
  • General tour operator
  • Based in Tokyo

* Many of the tours above include an 18-sake tasting flight at the Fushimi Sake Village, which is a great option if you want to drink a lot.

 For those wanting to learn how to truly appreciate sake, a smaller, more curated flight would be better.

5 – Kyoto Insider Sake Experience Tour Information

What to Expect on the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience

Kyoto Insider Sake Experience specializes only in sake tours in Kyoto and has partnerships with local sake breweries in the Fushimi Sake District. Sake tastes good even without knowing anything about it, but it tastes much better if you have a better understanding of sake varieties and the sake-making process.

Tour Information

Tour & Price : ◆ 3 hours – 12300-13000 JPY ◆ 1.5 hours – 9300 JPY *1.5 hour tour does not include brewery visit
Available Dates & Start Time : Every day starting at 10:00, 13:00, 15:00 Please see booking page for real-time availability.
Venue : Fushimi Sake District in south Kyoto – 13 min from JR Kyoto Station – 16 min from Gion-Shijo Station

Insider Sake Brewery Tour

  • You will visit a sake museum/brewery with an English-speaking guide and discover the history of sake and the Fushimi Sake District of Kyoto whilst touring the museum/brewery and come to understand the differences in flavour and smell and how these are produced.
  • You’ll focus on the secret methods of sake brewing which have been passed down for generations.
sake rice
sake making process

Sake Tasting with an Expert

  • All of the sake you will taste in the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience is carefully selected to help better understand the intricacies and depth of sake.
  • Through our expert-led tasting session you’ll get the chance to learn the unique characteristics of different varieties of sake.
  • You will also discover which type you most prefer and how to identify your favourites on menus and bottle labels.
  • Your guide will help you notice the difference in taste between ‘junmai’ sake (which has no added alcohol or sugar) and alcohol-added sake, and will also explain the effects of rice polishing on aroma and flavour. Pure rice sake, refined sake, cloudy sake, aged sake – we’ll help you discover the distinguishing characteristics of each type.
  • You will get a ‘cheat sheet’ on the tour, which will help you to remember what you have learned and will enable you to choose the sake you want in restaurants and liquor stores.
sake tasting

Food Pairing

  • Many participants express surprise at how much food can elevate the sake – discover how the taste of sake can completely change when paired with different dishes.
  • We hope that the food pairing section of our tour will also allow you to find out a little about Japan’s food culture, as well as sake.

How to Reserve Sake Tour in Kyoto?

If you would like to join the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience, simply book from our official website. First choose a date that you want to join then the online booking system will show you any available tours.  Next select the tour time and number of people then continue to submit booking details.Once payment is completed, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive it, please contact us here.

We are Sharing What We Love

Here at the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience we are always pursuing the best way to help more people learn the basics of sake, and to become fans of sake. We also value having a good relationship with local shops and sake breweries in the Fushimi area.

We believe the most important thing for tour hosts is to love the local area more than anyone else and to use their insider knowledge to provide their guests with the best possible experience.

Eventually, the love you have is transmitted to the guests who visit the area. We hope that our love for sake and Fushimi will help to create more opportunities for people to become fans of Fushimi as well as sake from Kyoto.

Thank you for reading and we hope you have a wonderful sake experience in Kyoto!

Photo credit @archela

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Who wrote this article?

We are the only sake tour company based in Kyoto Fushimi Sake Capital.

Good and strong relationship with local breweries and insiders allow us to provide you deeper sake experience.
Our guides are International Kikisake-shi, specialists of sake who can show how to enjoy sake according to personal preference, market condition, culture, and tradition. For any inquiries, please contact us :)

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