Discover your favorite sake

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Tokyo-made sake tends to be rather moderate and compact without being too assertive. And yet each brand has distinct characteristics that identify it with the producing brewery. This local breed is best enjoyed during meals and provides the perfect complement to rich traditional Edo-style recipes. The liquor’s sharp dry flavor cleanses the palate of the aftertaste of sushi, tempura, kabayaki eel, dojo-nabe, and soba. Below are the types and characteristics of Tokyo-made sake, designed to serve as a guide and help you discover your favorite brand.

Map of Tokyo-made sake by type

Tokyo-made sake isn’t all the same—it ranges in type from full-bodied to smooth. Here are 27 examples of both illustrative brands and unique labels from each of Tokyo’s sake breweries, divided into four types to help you understand the charms of Tokyo-made sake. Follow this guide both to discover your favorite brand and to enjoy the differences between each type.

●Positioning map and write-up compiled with cooperation from theSake Service Institute( External link ) (Japanese)

The SSI administers exams and certification for Kikisake-shi (sake sommelier), the Sake Proficiency Test, and Shochu Kikisake-shi (shochu sommelier). It manages the website Sake Sennin providing useful information on sake and shochu, and organizes jizake festivals featuring local sake breeds from across Japan.

List of Tokyo-made sake by type

Below is a list of Tokyo-made sake by type, presented in the positioning map.

Strong aroma

This type is characterized by a sweet, fruity aroma and flavors ranging from simple to complex. The Daiginjo and Ginjo varieties fall under this type.

4Sawanoi
Soten

Features the fruity aroma of white peach and the scent of top-grade rice flour. The light, savory sake has a slightly dry aftertaste.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

BreweryOzawa Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate55%

7Tamajiman
Junmai Daiginjo Tama no Yorokobi

Features a somewhat complex aroma suggestive of Yubari melon and yogurt, and a smooth yet sharp flavor.

DesignationJunmai Daiginjo

BreweryIshikawa Brewery Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate50%

11Kasen
Junmai Ginjo

Blends a flowery, fruity aroma with a creamy scent. The refined taste is smooth and gentle.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

BreweryTamura Hanjuro

Rice polishing rate55%

19Kuwanomiyako
Tokusen Ginjo

Features the light and flowery aroma of fruit, and a delicately soft savor and sweetness.

DesignationGinjo

BreweryOzawa Shuzojo A

Rice polishing rate60%

21Junmai Ginjo Nama
Kuwanomiyako

生Has the flowery, well-rounded aroma illustrative of raw unprocessed sake, a clear sweetness and acidity, and a full body.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

BreweryOzawa Shuzojo A

Rice polishing rate60%

 

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Light and smooth

This type features a light and smooth flavor. The designations Nama and Low Alcohol Content fall under this type, as well as some Junmai, Daiginjo, Ginjo, Honjozo, and Futsu-shu varieties.

1Marushin Masamune
Ginjo Karakuchi

Features the crisp aroma of lychee, sprouts, and watercress. The smooth, simple flavor leaves a dry aftertaste.

DesignationGinjo

BreweryKoyama Brewery K.K.

Rice polishing rate60%

2Marushin Masamune
Junmai Ginjo

Features the fruity aroma of loquat, pear, and white peach. The smooth sake has a light, soft flavor.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

Brewerykoyama shuzo

Rice polishing rate60%

3Arakawa Monogatari

Features a simple and clean aroma. The sharp sake has a simple and dry flavor.

DesignationGinjo

BreweryKoyama Brewery K.K.s

Rice polishing rate60%

6Sawanoi
Junmai Okarakuchi

Features the light aroma of white rice, root vegetables, and fresh cream. The taste is dry with notes of acidity and bitterness.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryOzawa Shuzojo

Rice polishing rate65%

9Tamajiman
Josen Honjozo

Features the aroma of roasted soybean flour, nuts, and cottage cheese. The taste is simple and dry.

DesignationHonjozo

BreweryIshikawa Brewery Co., Ltd

Rice polishing rate65%

10Kasen
Tokubetsu Honjozo Maboroshi no Sake

Features the light aroma of rice and a slightly sharp flavor that is simple and dry.

DesignationTokubetsu Honjozo

BreweryTamura Hanjuro

Rice polishing rate60%

14Kisho
Junmai Ginjo-shu

Features the refreshing aroma of green bamboo leaves, edible wild plants, and gourd. The smooth sake has a light, clean flavor.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

BreweryNozaki Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate50%

15Kisho Honjozo

Hints at the aroma of cotton candy, sakura mochi (rice cake with bean paste wrapped in pickled cherry leaf), and rice straw. The sharp sake with a dry aftertaste is illustrative of the Honjozo variety.

DesignationHonjozo

Brewery

Rice polishing rate

17Chiyozuru
Ginjo Karakuchi

Both flavor and aroma are extremely compact. The aftertaste is simple and clean.

DesignationGinjo

BreweryNakamura Shuzo, Inc.

Rice polishing rate60%

18Chiyozuru
Josen Honjozo

Features the aroma of rice ear, hinoki cypress, and dry herbs. The sharp sake has a simple, dry flavor.

DesignationHonjozo

BreweryNakamura Shuzo, Inc.

Rice polishing rate65%

22Kinkon
Junmai Ginjo

Features a subtle fruity aroma that is moderate and gentle. The juicy sake has a young, crisp flavor.

DesignationJunmai Ginjo

BreweryToshimaya Shuzo K.K.

Rice polishing rate55%

25Kozuru
Daiginjo Tanrei

Features an extremely clean and refreshing aroma. The slightly dry sake has a smooth, neutral flavor.

DesignationDaiginjo

BreweryNoguchi Shuzoten GMK

Rice polishing rate50%

26Junmai Karakuchi
Nakaya Kyubei

Features the aroma of Domyoji-ko rice cake powder and top-grade rice flour. The flavor is extremely light and sharp for a Junmai variety.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryNoguchi Shuzoten GMK

Rice polishing rate60%

27Kozuru
Honjozo

Features the aroma of chestnut skin, tofu skin, gourd, and turnip. The slightly sharp sake has a simple, crisp flavor.

DesignationHonjozo

BreweryNoguchi Shuzoten GMK

Rice polishing rate65%

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Full-bodied

This type features the full-bodied flavor of rice most illustrative of sake. The Junmai variety, particularly that with the designations Kimoto and Yamahai, fall under this type.

5Sawanoi
Kimoto Junmai Kiokejikomi Iroha

The pale yellow sake features the aroma of unmilled rice, hinoki cypress, and steamed chestnut. The taste is full-bodied and rich with an acetic accent.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryOzawa Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate65%

8Tamajiman
Tama no Yaesakura

Features the aroma of unmilled rice and rice ear. Blends a rounded sweetness and savor with a sharp acidity that pulls the flavor together.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryIshikawa Brewery Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate70%

12Kasen
Tokubetsu Junmai-shu Fuku Umare

Features the aroma of freshly pounded rice cake and cooked rice. The long savor and sweetness is followed by a light, dry aftertaste.

DesignationTokubetsu Junmai

BreweryTamura Hanjuro

Rice polishing rate60%

13Kisho
Junmai-shu

Features the aroma of steamed chestnut and freshly made koji fungus. The smooth sake is light and yet has a lingering savory aftertaste.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryNozaki Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Rice polishing rate60%

16Chiyozuru
Tokubetu Junmai Okutama

Features the aroma of peanuts and rice ear. The dry sake is acetic and bitter with a sweet accent.

DesignationTokubetsu Junmai

BreweryNakamura Shuzo, Inc.

Rice polishing rate15%

20Junmai-shu
Hachioji-jo

Features the well-rounded aroma of rice and rice koji fungus. The full-bodied sake has a broad savor.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryOzawa Shuzojo A

Rice polishing rate65%

23Kinkon
Junmai-shu

Features the complex aroma of starch syrup, nuts, and roasted unmilled rice. The mellow sake has a rich savor.

DesignationJunmai

BreweryToshimaya Shuzo K.K

Rice polishing rate65%

 

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Aged

Aging produces an extremely complex, unique flavor and aroma. The designations Koshu and Choki Jukusei-shu fall under this type.

24Kinkon
Kijo-shu

The deep amber sake features the aroma of brown sugar syrup, bitter chocolate, and dried fig with a superbly sweet, heavy flavor.

Designation-

BreweryToshimaya Shuzo K.K.

Rice polishing rate-

 

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