Ultimate Sake Tasting and Food Pairing

Welcome to the World of Sake

Do you have any idea “How the difference of sake rice affects the taste of sake?”

When choosing wine, people check which kind of grapes are used. However, when you choose sake, have you checked which sake rice is used?
We recently carefully compare different sake rice in our tasting and food pairing training. We will share our understanding of how the difference of sake rice affects the taste of sake.

Rice We Tasted

This time we had five kinds of rice including food rice ;
・Yamada Nishiki (山田錦)
Both the size of grain and starch are large so it is suitable for highly polished rice. Also known as king of sake rice.
・Gohyakumangoku (五百万石)
This is the second famous sake rice. The size of grain is small so it is not suitable for highly polished rice.
・Omachi (雄町)
 This is the oldest sake rice. It has been cultivated since Edo period.
・Iwai (祝)
Kyoto local sake rice. Only Breweries located in Kyoto can use this sake rice.
・Koshihikari (コシヒカリ)
 One of the most famous food rice in Japan.

For bottle selection, we set up two requirements so that we could see the difference among them clearly.

1. Category – Junmai, a pure rice sake
2. Usage of 100% of slected rice.

Sake Tasting

Yamada Nishiki: Rich and fruity.
Gohyakumangoku: Light and had strong flavor.
Oimachi: Rich and had strong flavor. We call the people who love its richness, “Omachist”.
Iwai: Light and fruity. It was very easy to drink though it polished to 80%. And the aftertaste was vey refreshing
Koshihikari: It has unique flavor. Some might find it to be too much rice flavored.

sake tasting

Food Pairing

・Yamada Nishiki
This is like an honor student. It goes well with pretty much any food. However, nothing interesting to discover.
・Gohyakumangoku
Tastes light and goes well with light flavor food such as sushi.
・Otomachi
Tastes rich and goes well with rich flavor food such as grilled chicken skewers.
・Iwai
Because of its refreshing taste, great to drink it after eating rich flavor food.
・Koshihikari
Since it’s got strong rice flavor, easier to drink with something weaken its taste.

Having food pairing can be divided into three methods

1. Focusing on Harmony
Those with similar elements are compatible with each other.
Example: Gohyakumangoku goes well with sushi. Omachi goes well with grilled chicken skewers. And Yamada Nishiki goes well with pretty much everything.

2. Focusing on Mariage
When you pair food with a totally different flavor from sake you are having, the combination could be a great surprise.
Example: Koshihikari and (dark) chocolate

3. Focusing on Reseting
When you have food with rich flavor, sake could totally refresh inside the mouth. It will increase your appetite.
Example: Iwai after eating grilled chicken skewers.

food pairing

Personally, I love Kyoto local sake rice “iwai”. So let’s say, I am not “Omachist” but “Iwaist”. It is always fun to discover which sake rice you like through sake tasting and food pairing.

When visiting Kyoto, you can’t miss a sake tour of Fushimi – so why not join us on a hunt for the area’s best sake, and best combination with food pairing session and find your favourite along the way?

BOOK NOW

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   So very glad I chose this tour. I had no knowledge of the creative process required for sake production. Kotaro painstakingly walked us through the entire “brewing” procedure and the differences among the many types of sake created with different rices, percentages of polishing, pasteurization...More

    thumb maggie44113
    3/14/2020
  •   The Sake experience in Kyoto gave us the perfect Chance to learn everything we wanted to know about Sake. Our Host Kotaro was very friendly, answering all of our questions. I liked the variety of Sakes we got to taste and especially the food-pairing was...More

    thumb Leonferdinandcorin
    3/11/2020
  •   Very informative tour and tasting. The guide, Kotaro, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable. The regular museum was closed (like most of Japan at the moment) but we still managed to visit another brewery instead. The tastings were great - very different styles of...More

    thumb GreenSandwich
    3/10/2020
  •   Highly informative tour with excellent explanations behind the different types of sake. Find out which you like and how to find it in a bottle shop!

    thumb jamesh202020
    3/09/2020
  •   We had a fantastic time during our insider sake experience tour. Kotaro was very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience very enjoyable for us. We learned the true way to enjoy sake both by itself and with food thanks to Kotaro. I would definitely...More

    thumb MrPedroB
    3/03/2020
  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

    thumb marcofP4557RC
    3/03/2020
  •   Kotaro was very knowledgeable and described the tour very well. He answered all of my questions and helped out a great deal with my understanding. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning about sake

    thumb Sampenna
    3/03/2020
  •   The tour included a visit to a brewery with our guide, Asahi, giving a very informed overview of how Sake is made. He was able to answer any questions we had and made it an easy process to understand. There were tastings of 3 Sakes...More

    thumb GharghurMark
    3/01/2020
  •   The many reviews saying how good this tour is are spot on: this is a very good tour. Kotaro is very knowledgeable, ready to answer questions from all, whether general, technical or historical. The info he provided, particularly with the food pairing (which was a...More

    thumb og646
    2/22/2020
  •   Totally awesome experience. Everything was made clear. Meeting point was easy to find - just a couple of hundred metres from the nearest train station. The tour itself was extremely informative and enjoyable. There was two tastings involved - one at the main Sake brewery...More

    thumb therealbogeyman
    2/19/2020

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