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.

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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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  •   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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