Visiting Sake Breweries Note -Sasaki Shuzo and Matsui Shuzo-

sake tasting

Visiting Breweries in Central Kyoto

As part of our efforts to increase the number of sake fans in Japan and abroad, Kyoto Sake Experience regularly organizes sake brewery tours for our staff to learn more about sake. In the past, we have visited sake breweries in Fushimi and also in Nada, Kobe.

This time, four staff members went to two nearby sake breweries in Kyoto City, Sasaki Shuzo and Matsui Shuzo. Kyoto is famous for its sake production, but in fact, except for Fushimi where there is a high number of breweries, there are only two breweries left in the center of Kyoto. By the way, there were more than 300 sake breweries in the Muromachi period, in the 14th century. These two breweries are Sasaki Shuzo, north of Nijo Castle, and Matsui Shuzo, east of the Kyoto Gosho and across the Kamo River.

Visiting Sasaki Sake Brewery

First, we went to Sasaki Sake Brewery. This brewery is also famous as the family home of actor Kuranosuke Sasaki.

The brewery was founded in 1893, which is relatively new in Kyoto, but it’s amazing that it has been in business for 128 years.

Sasaki Shuzo basically doesn’t offer tours of its brewery, but it does have a store where you can buy the sake it produces. There is a parking lot where you can park several cars, so you can also go there by car.
By the way, when we visited in December, they were in the midst of sake brewing and were selling freshly pressed sake lees.

They did not have cups for tasting due to the pandemic, so we decided to buy a few bottles of sake and do a tasting later.
As a side note, when I used the restroom in the store, I could see part of the brewery! It was a valuable experience to see the old atmosphere with a sense of history.

Visiting Matsui Sake Brewery

Leaving Sasaki Shuzo, we crossed the Kamo River to the east and went to Matsui Shuzo.

This brewery also has a parking lot where several cars can be parked, so it can be reached by car.

The Matsui Sake Brewery, founded in 1726, is an apartment building with a sake cellar, tasting room, and shopping space on the first floor. Even though it is on the first floor of an apartment building, there is a well, which is essential for a sake brewery, a cedar ball, and thick wooden beams inside, giving the brewery a very nice atmosphere. I found it very interesting as a new type of sake brewery, different from the usual old wooden breweries.

matsui brewery

This Matsui Sake Brewery also has a sake tasting area, so we ordered a set of three different kinds of sake to compare, excluding the driver.

We ordered three kinds of sake: Matsui Shuzo’s flagship “Kamikura”, “Fuji Chitose Shiboritate Nama Genshu”, and “Fuji Chitose Junmai Nigorizake”.

sake tasting

The Kamikura was a junmai-shu that showed the characteristics of Kyoto’s sake rice, “Shukyu”, and was delicious.

My personal favorite was Fuji Chitose’s freshly squeezed raw sake. One of the staff members liked the Nigori sake so much that he bought it later.

Visit Kyoto and Join Our Tour!

This time, we visited Sasaki Shuzo and Matsui Shuzo in the center of Kyoto.

Sasaki Shuzo offers traditional and orthodox sake, while Matsui Shuzo offers traditional sake as well as new age sake.
Matsui Sake Brewery, in particular, has a tasting space and offers tours of the brewery by reservation only (not available during Corona), making it a perfect choice for a sake tour.

sake tasting

If you go to a sake brewery and don’t know which sake to buy or drink, why not join the Kyoto Sake Experience’s Sake Tasting and Pairing Experience?

In this experience, you will learn the basics about sake and be able to compare different types of sake to learn the differences and enjoy them. You can then go on a sake brewery tour to enjoy sake even more!

Sasaki Shuzo Brewery
Open 10:00~17:00

(Except for Sunday, Holiday, Summer Holiday, End of Year and beginning of year.)

Matsui Shuzo Brewery
Shop : Open 9:00~18:00

Tasting Room : Open 11:00~18:00(Last order 17:00)


  1. sake brewery visit
  2. sake tasting

Our Sake Tour Reviews

  • star rating  Hashimoto-san showed me around in the old traditional Sake making district Fushimi and explained me a lot about the Sake making process. I could also visit a bar where I... read more

  • star rating  This is a must-do experience in Kyoto. The best part of the tour is that while there is tasting, there is also so much history and knowledge you acquire along... read more

    Crystal M
  • star rating  This is the must-do-tour in your life if you are interested in Japanese sake and culture. I am Japanese. And always I wonder about Japanese sake cuz I’ve never met... read more

  • star rating  Had a blast! Would absolutely recommend to people looking for a Sake Tasting experience in Kyoto (Kyoto Fushimi Sake District - the traditional Sake brewery district). Kotaro and the staff... read more

  • star rating  I recommend this tour for those that skeptical about sake. Our guide, Kotaro, was a great host and he was very professional and knowledgeable. We had a great evening and... read more

  • star rating  I booked this tour during their slow season and the beginning stages of Covid-19 so I ended up being the only person on the tour. It was fantastic! My guide... read more

  • star rating  Awesome tour! I'm not a sake drinker (always thought I hate it), but I couldn't leave Japan without tasting some of it, obviously and I'm so glad I joined this... read more

  • star rating  Kotaro and Mayo were very informative about the processes of making sake and the different types of sake. It was very interesting to do the tasting session and see how... read more

  • star rating  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... read more

  • star rating  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.... read more