For the Sake of It: 3 Sake Brewery Tours in and Around Tokyo

By Annika Hotta
Updated: February 26, 2024

If you want to further your sake expertise or try it for the first time, Japan is the place to do it. Each prefecture is likely to have its own variation, which can be further differentiated based on the yeast and polishing process. To learn the ins and outs of sake, we recommend trying out one of the three experiences below.  

Heading to the ancient capital? See our recommended sake brewery tours in Kyoto.

Sake 101

A woman holds a cup of sake

But before you go on a sake brewery tour, let’s get acquainted with the basics: what is sake? Sake is a fermented alcoholic drink made from rice, water, yeast and koji. Potential flavors range from sweet, melon-like to nutty, pumpkin-like tastes. No matter your preference, you’re likely to find a sake that’s right for you! 

For further reading, check out our beginner's guide to sake.

Why Take a Sake Tour?  

A photo of two women sake tasting

If you don’t have time to go out to Niigata or Hiroshima, two regions known for their exceptional sake, have no fear. You can go on sake brewery tours right in Tokyo.

A tour is the best way to take in all there is to know about sake with the help of an expert. It’s a chance for novices and enthusiasts alike to get an inside look at the production process and the people behind it. Plus, you can taste sake at its freshest.

Which Sake Experience is Right for Me?  

Below are three sake brewery tours, each offering a unique experience for people visiting or living in Japan with an interest in sake. Be sure to check out the duration, as some are complete day trips while others are under two hours.  

3 Sake Tours in and Around Tokyo

  1. Toshimaya Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour
  2. Ozawa Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour
  3. Yamane Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour

1. Toshimaya Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour

Looking to have your sake and eat it too? Try out a tour at Toshimaya Shuzo, one of the oldest breweries in Tokyo — operating since 1596!  

During the three-hour experience, guests can drink all the sake they like and be treated to several types of fermented snacks, such as sakekasu cheese. Selections include junmai sake, origarami sake, mirin, or sweet cooking sake, and their multi-award-winning sake, kinkon, which translates to “golden wedding anniversary.”  

A local guide will accompany you as you learn all about what goes into making sake — the guides speak English, so there is no need to worry about translation!  

Book a tour at Toshimaya Shuzo.  

2. Ozawa Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour 

A sake brewery tour at Ozawa Shuzo in Tokyo

If you’re craving a feast, look no further than the tour at Ozawa Shuzo, which offers a gourmet tofu lunch. Great news for all vegetarians and their meat-eating counterparts: the Mitake region is known for its tofu, so you’re sure to leave the table feeling satisfied.

After lunch, take a trip to the beer garden for drinks and Japanese snacks, including fish cakes and onigiri. This brewery offers up to seven different types of sake to try — perfect for sipping as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of this riverside location.  

And to commemorate the special occasion, Ozawa Shuzo even offers a complimentary sake cup to bring home!  

In total, this excursion will take around eight hours, including a stroll around Tama River and a temple, so it’s suited for those looking for a day trip without the need to plan out an itinerary. Additionally, the number of guests is between two and six, so this tour is best for those looking for a more private experience.  

Book a tour at Ozawa Shuzo.  

3. Yamane Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour 

A bottle of Yamane Shuzo sake

Wanting a break from Tokyo? Head to Yamane Shuzo in Saitama, the prefecture just north of Tokyo. 

This 1.5-hour-long experience offers a concise glimpse into ancient sake brewing techniques and the brewmasters themselves. Rental equipment will be provided so guests can get up close and personal with the timber fermentation tanks, each bubbling with fresh sake. Yamane Shuzo Brewery is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or to round out a day trip to Saitama prefecture.  

Like all sake tours listed here, the workers and guide speak English as well as Japanese, so you’ll be able to soak up all the history and information of sake brewing!  

Book a tour at Yamane Shuzo.

A Note on the Drinking Age of Japan  

A line of sake bottles in a Japanese restaurant

If you’re bringing along kids or are college-age yourself, please note that the drinking age in Japan is 20. Anyone younger than that must bring their own non-alcoholic drinks (sippy cup optional).  

Hungry for more? Browse more food experiences in Tokyo.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Annika Hotta
After studying abroad in Shiga prefecture in 2019, Annika moved to Japan in 2021. In her writing, she highlights the best dishes and places to eat in Japan for both the picky and the adventurous.
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