What is ‘Atsukan’? What’s the Best Temperature?

Hot sake is growing in popularity

The style of enjoying hot sake is also spreading among young people. The taste will change surprisingly depending on how the sake is heated. As the number of people who are fascinated by hot sake increases, shops specializing in hot sake and people called hot sake professionals also appear. Hot sake is becoming more popular.

“Atsukan” is not a generic term for warmed sake …

When we say “hot sake”, it may often refer to warmed sake in general. Actually, in that case, you should call it “Kan” or “Kanshu”, and you can only call “Atsukan” for sake that has been heated to about 50 degrees.
Sake is called differently depending on the temperature at which it is heated. As shown below, it is divided into 6 stages from about 30 degrees to 55 degrees.

日向(ひなた)燗 Hinatakan :30 degrees
人肌(ひとはだ)燗 Hitohadakan :35 degrees
ぬる燗 Nurukan :40 degrees
上燗(じょうかん) Joukan :45 degrees
熱燗 Atsukan  : 50 degrees
飛び切り燗  Tobikirikan  :55 degrees

Enjoy the changes in temperature and taste of sake

One of the major reasons why hot sake of sake has become popular is that warming enhances the goodness of sake.
Generally, warming enhances the aroma, sweetness, sourness, and bitterness of sake. Sake, which has a particularly high acidity and contains a lot of amino acids, is recommended for hot sake.
Even sake of the same brand has a different suitable temperature. Try to compare it by changing the temperature little by little. You can definitely feel the change in taste.


If you have an interest in sake tour, or in order to enjoy your trip in Japan more, come and join our tour Kyoto Insider Sake Experience. You will have a chance to taste local sake in Kyoto and learn all the basics of sake to find your favourite bottle. Send us a message if you have any questions about the tour 🙂


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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

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  •   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

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  •   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

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  •   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!

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  •   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

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  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

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  •   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

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  •   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

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  •   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

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  •   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

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