Welcome to the world of sake. If you are reading this pamphlet, you have likely already tasted sake or are keen to try it at least once. Japan boasts a proud 2,000-year history of sake brewing. Sake has long been the drink of choice among Japanese, and now, as Japanese food enjoys extraordinary popularity abroad, sake is increasingly exported. Sake is made primarily from rice to which komekoji (moulded rice)* and yeast is added to produce a brewed beverage with an alcohol content of 13-20%. Only the purest water sought throughout Japan is used in the production of sake. The numerous varietals of sake can be served either warm or cold. Japanese diners also enjoy sake as a complement to meals.
*Rice that has koji-kin mould (Aspergillus oryzae) growing on it will act like malt and convert further rice (starch) to sugar.

To help people around the world familiarise themselves with the world of sake, we present Sake A to Z. This information is provided not only to guide readers in the pleasures of sake, but also as an invitation to Japan, the birthplace of this wonderful elixir.

This pamphlet is a compilation of WSET○ Sake Seminar and Tasting that has held every year since 2003, with the cooperation of Wine & Spirit Education Trust. JAL has led and developed R the WSET○Sake Seminar and Tasting with sake breweries who participated. JAL as well as R the sake breweries wish sincerely to express gratitude to WSET○.

03 - 05

Sake in Context
Defining Sake/Sake on the Japanese Market /Sake Overseas

06 - 08

Sake Varietals
Assessing Quality
Sake -Tasting/Tasting Process
Key Points in Sake-Tasting/Constituents and Related Indices

09 - 11

12 - 15

Serving and Enjoying the Pleasures of Sake
Characteristics of Sake/How to Enjoy Sake Pairing Taste Characteristics and Cuisine/Storing Sake

16 - 17

Brewing Sake

18 - 21

Sake Ingredients
Rice/Water/Komekoji Moulded rice) ( /Brewing Alcohol

22 - 28

Sake Production
Fermentation/Brewing/Main Production Methods


History Reference Materials Other Resources

Editor : Kimiko MASUDA Published by : Japan Airlines International Co.,Ltd.
C Copyright : ○ 2007 Japan Airlines International Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved

Thanks to National Research Institute of Brewing Japan Sake Brewers Association SAKE WORLD, INC. John GAUNTNER Sake Service Institute KOKKI SHUZO Co.,Ltd. MASUDA SAKE COMPANY LTD. MIYASAKA BREWING COMPANY, LTD. Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd. SHATA SHUZO Co.,Ltd. JAL Academy Co.,Ltd. Special thanks to David WRIGLEY MW AIWS of Wine & Spirit Education Trust

Sake in Context
Defining Sake
The Liquor Tax Law in Japan defines and regulates sake as follows. Sake varieties are defined as alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of less than 22% made according to the following processes. a. Fermented and filtered alcoholic beverages made from rice, komekoji (moulded rice),* and water.
*Rice that has koji-kin mould (Aspergillus oryzae) growing on it will act like malt and convert further rice (starch) to sugar.

b. Fermented and filtered alcoholic beverages made from rice, komekoji (moulded rice), water, and sake lees or other substance authorized by Ministerial ordinance. (This ordinance stipulates that the total amount of other substance for use as primary ingredient be limited to no more than half the amount of rice [including komekoji] used in the product). c. Alcoholic beverages made by adding sake lees to sake and then filtering. Japan’s Liquor Tax Law strictly regulates the ingredients that may be used to produce sake, which must include rice, and stipulates that the final product must be filtered.

Sake on the Japanese Market
In a global comparison, the Japanese do not rank particularly high as alcohol consumers. In a 2003 comparison of per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages (100% alcohol content conversion), Japan came in 29th at 6.5 litres consumed, a figure roughly half that of Luxemburg, the country with the highest alcohol consumption per capita. The picture is similar with regard to liquor taxes. Some 1.53 trillion yen in liquor taxes were collected (excluding imports) in 2005, down 70 billion yen from the previous year. Liquor taxes break down by type of alcohol as indicated in Graph 1 below.

Graph 1  Liquor Taxes by Category─FY2004 and FY2005
Whiskeys 28.7 billion yen (1.8%) Liqueurs 60.8 billion yen (3.8%) Other 38.8 billion yen (2.4%)

Sake 95.0 billion yen (5.9%) Shochu 226.9 billion yen (14.2%)
Beer 844.0 billion yen (52.8%) 2004 2005 Sparkling liquor 305.3 billion yen (19.1%)

Whiskeys 27.7 billion yen(1.8%) Liqueurs 63.5 billion yen(4.2%)

Other 93.4 billion yen(6.1%)

Sake 91.8 billion yen(6.0%) Shochu 227.0 billion yen (14.8%)
Sparkling liquor 225.9 billion yen (14.8%) Beer 800.4 billion yen(52.3%) 2005

Sake accounts for 6.0% of the liquor taxes collected overall. The 91.8 billion yen in tax for 2005 represents a drop of 3.2 billion yen (-3.4%) from the 95 billion yen collected the previous year.

Sake in Context 4

In terms of volume sold (consumption), the 9.02 million kilolitres (9.04 million kl the previous year) of alcoholic beverages moved in 2005 represents a drop of 20,000 kilolitres from 2004. The breakdown of sales volume (consumption) by category is presented below.

Graph 2 Sake Sales (Consumption) Volume by Category─ FY2004 and FY2005

Powdered liquor and other miscellaneous liquors 0.23 million kl (2.6%) Other 0.46 million kl (5.1%) Whiskeys 0.1 million kl (1.1%) Liqueurs 0.69 million kl (7.7%)

Sake 0.75 million kl (8.2%) Shochu 0.98 million kl (10.9%)
Sparkling liquor 2.21 million kl (24.5%) 2004 Beer 3.62 million kl (40.0%)

Powdered liquor and other miscellaneous liquors 0.9 million kl (10.0%) Other 0.48 million kl (5.3%) Whiskeys 0.09 million kl (1.0%)

Liqueurs 0.74 million kl (8.2%)

Sake 0.72 million kl (8.0%)


Beer 3.41 million kl (37.8%)

Shochu 1.0 million kl (11.1%)

Sparkling liquor 1.68 million kl (18.6%)

Sales (consumption) of sake totalled 0.72 million kilolitres in 2005, down 30,000kl (or - 4.0%) from the 0.75 million kilolitres in sales the previous year. Despite this drop, sake accounts for 8.0% of overall sales (consumption) for all alcoholic beverages in 2005.

Sake Overseas
As yet, only about 1% of the sake produced in Japan is exported abroad, though this figure has continuously increased over the past several years. Export volumes have exhibited 6-8% growth since 2002, reaching 10,000kl in 2006. Total export values enjoyed greater than 10% year-on-year growth over this same time period, coming in at 6.1 billion yen in 2006. As Graph 3 illustrates, half of all exports from Japan are destined for the US and Taiwan.

Graph 3 Sake Export Volume Country Share in 2006

Others 24%) ( the US (32%) Germany 3%) ( the UK (3%) China (4%) Canada (5%) Hong Kong (9%) Taiwan (20%) 2006

5 Sake in Context

Sake Varietals
Sake Varietals
Sake falls into several different categories, and the following are special denominations specified by the Japanese government. Products that satisfy the various requirements for special denominations are labelled as such.

Table 1 Special Denominations for Sake
Denomination Ingredients
Rice, komekoji (moulded rice), and brewing alcohol Rice, komekoji (moulded rice), and brewing alcohol Rice and komekoji (moulded rice) Rice and komekoji (moulded rice) Rice and komekoji (moulded rice) Rice and komekoji (moulded rice) Rice, komekoji (moulded rice), and brewing alcohol Rice, komekoji (moulded rice), and brewing alcohol

Milling rate
Up to 60% Up to 50% ─ Up to 60% Up to 50% Up to 60% or special process Up to 70% Up to 60% or special process

% of komekoji

Other features
Ginjo-tsukuri method, characteristic flavor, and color clarity Ginjo-tsukuri method, characteristic flavor, and high color clarity
Good flavor and color clarity

Ginjo-shu Daiginjo-shu Junmai-shu Junmai-Ginjo-shu Junmai-Daiginjo-shu Tokubetsu-Junmai-shu Honjozo-shu

15% and over

Ginjo-tsukuri method, characteristic flavor, and color clarity Ginjo-tsukuri method, characteristic flavor, and high color clarity
Good flavor and high color clarity Good flavor and color clarity Good flavor and high color clarity

Ginjo-tsukuri generally refers to the process of using highly polished rice and fermenting the sake at cold temperatures to create a characteristic fragrance. Special denominations account for approximately a quarter of all domestic taxed shipments and break down specifically as illustrated in Chart 1 below.
Chart 1



This chart has been created by sake educator John Gauntner, . Copyright (C) 2006, all rights reserved.

7 Sake Varietals

Ginjo-shu 吟醸酒
Sake made using white rice that has been milled to retain 60% or less of the grain. It also contains komekoji (moulded rice) and water, and may contain all of these ingredients plus brewing alcohol. Characterized by a fruity, somewhat floral bouquet, this sake has a clear, crisp flavour. When the rice has been polished down to 50% or less, the sake is called

Junmai-shu 純米酒
Sake made only from white rice, komekoji (moulded rice), and water. It tends to have a mellow bouquet and a rich, smooth flavour.

Honjozo-shu 本醸造酒
Sake made using white rice that has been milled to retain 70% or less of the grain, along with komekoji (moulded rice), brewing alcohol, and water. It is known for its mild, unobtrusive bouquet, and a crisp taste. Sake varieties are also distinguished by brewing method.

Namazake 生酒
Sake that is not heated for pasteurization after the moromi* has been pressed. It is characterized by a light, fresh flavour.
* Moromi refers to the soft mash mixture of fermented brewage ingredients contained in the liquid brewed to create sake.

Sake is generally heated for pasteurization (the process called hi-ire) twice before being sold. Namazake is never pasteurized. Nama-chozo shu is bottled sake pasteurized only once after reaching the maturation stage. Nama-zume shu is bottled sake pasteurized once before reaching maturation stage. All three sake varieties have a fresh flavour and are best served cooled.

Hi-ire pasteurization process C ○ Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.

Bottling C ○ Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.

Figure 1 Varietal Differences According to Hi-Ire Process (Heating for Pasteurization)
General Sake Fermentation Pressing Filtration

Fermentation Pressing Filtration

Nama-chozo shu
(Live storage Sake)

Nama-zume shu
(Live bottled Sake)

Fermentation Pressing Filtration

Fermentation Pressing Filtration

(Heating for Pasteurization)

(Heating for Pasteurization)

Storage Filtration

Nama storage

Nama storage

Storage Filtration

(Heating for Pasteurization)

(Heating for Pasteurization)





Genshu 原酒
Sake with a higher alcohol content that comes from pressing but not diluting with added water. It has a deep, rich flavour and an alcohol content ranging from 17% to 20%.

Koshu (Aged sake) 古酒
Sake that has been aged for two or three years, or for five years or more. It has a sherry-like bouquet, with a bouquet that includes spices and nuts.

Taruzake (Cask sake) 樽酒
Sake that is aged in casks and thus takes on the fragrance of the wood from which the cask is made.

Nigorizake にごり酒
A milky white sake whose colour derives from only lightly filtering the mash through a coarse cloth.

Sparkling sake 発泡酒
Carbonated sake, with a feel in the mouth reminiscent of champagne.
Sake Varietals 8

Assessing Quality
Made primarily from rice, sake in fact contains some 700 constituents created in the sophisticated, advanced processes by which it is produced. There are easily more than 5,000 brands of sake, offering countless different tastes. Learning to identify these differences greatly enhances the pleasure of the sake experience. Judging sake by taste is a technique for objectively analysing and evaluating the flavours and characteristics of a particular sake, then conveying the result in easy descriptions. Determining whether the sake is good or bad is a multi-sensory personal experience requiring the senses of sight, smell and taste. The four main elements that make up the taste of sake are sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and umami. Tasting also involves an additional nine major components, among these, temperature, aroma, mouth feel, balance and finish. Sake tasting begins with committing to memory the colour, taste, and aroma of favourite sakes. The ability to identify each taste element and describe these to a third party requires all five senses, as well as the proper vocabulary and phrases at one’s disposal. For example, comparing the aroma of sake to plants, fruits and grains allows for extremely nuanced turns of phrase. Sake tasting necessarily begins with the eye before moving on to the nose and finally the mouth. It is important that one proceeds in this order to avoid compromising one’s sensitivity to the fragrance, which occurs when the sake is swallowed immediately. Reaching the sipping stage, the sake is rolled over the tongue to slowly savour the subtle flavours. Allowing the sake to linger on the tongue, rather than swallowing it down at once, greatly enhances one’s ability to identify various taste elements. Beginners may initially find it difficult to identify and assess sake characteristics by taste. Rest assured that a more refined sake palate develops with practice. One must first identify the characteristics and elements of favourite sakes, which will gradually take shape and provide sake lovers with a personal system.

Tasting Process
1.Look Pour the sake into the kikichoko (special sake tasting cup). Look at the colour and check for foreign substances to assess the cloudiness. Kikichoko are designed specifically to make it easier to observe the different shades and colour clarity of a particular sake. 2.Smell Keeping the kikichoko as still as possible, bring the sake to your nose and inhale the aroma in small sniffs. Identify the aromatic characteristics with close attenuwadachi-ka, the initial fragrance when the sake aroma is inhaled. 3.Taste Take a small amount of the sake into the mouth, paying close attention to the initial impression the sake leaves on the tip of the tongue. Next, concentrate on the fragrance while exhaling through the nose. The aroma experienced at this time is called fukumi-ka, the fragrance and flavour when drinking a few drops of sake. Slowly roll the sake over the tongue to experience its sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and umami. As the sake moves over the tongue, concentrate on the sensations throughout the entire mouth, as well as on the tongue. This step allows for the discovery of a great many more taste characteristics than initially imagined. Finally, swallow the sake, allowing it to slide down the throat to check the finish. Devout sake tasters spit the sake out without swallowing to assess the sake’s aftertaste, its harmony of tastes, and pleasant or unpleasant finish.
Kikichoko C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

tion to the strength, breadth, and continuity/endurance of the aroma. The aroma experienced at this time is called

Key Points in Sake-Tasting
Sake is meant to be pure pleasure, so the best way to assess sake is to drink and taste it. Experts/sommeliers take these sake-tasting steps to evaluate individual sakes from various perspectives. The key elements used to assess the quality of sake are listed below. Colour Colour is assessed for its depth and clarity. The interior of the kikichoko cup is lined with concentric blue circles to help tasters gauge the colour and clarity of the sake. Aroma Sake has certain identifiable fragrances. Namazake imparts a fresh aroma; ginjo-shu a fruity or a mature, well-mellowed aroma. In either case, the aroma of the sake is assessed for its intensity and degree of harmony. Taste : Body Taste is described as either full-bodied or clean. Sakes with higher alcohol content, sugar content, acidity, and amino acids will fall toward the full-bodied end of the scale, while those with less of these elements will taste cleaner. Taste : Sweet/Dry Taste is also described as sweet or dry. Sake contains 4-7% sugar content. Sakes on the higher end of this scale will have a sweeter taste and those on the lower end a drier taste. Sake, however, also contains acidity in the 0.05-0.15% range, which offsets the sweetness imparted by the sugar. Sakes with identical sugar content will therefore vary in taste depending on their acidity. Taste : Purity The final aspect of taste is purity versus zatsumi (off-flavour). Large amounts of amino acids tend to introduce zatsumi as the sake matures.
Assessing Quality 10

Figure 2 Sake Constituents and Taste Characteristics

Sugar content

Organic Alcohol content acids

Amino acids

Sugar content

Organic acids

Alcohol content

Amino acids

Dry Faint

Clean sake taste

Sweet Intense

  Zatsumi (off-flavour)
Full-bodied sake taste

Constituents and Related Indices
Alcohol Content
This index, expressed in degrees, indicates how many millilitres of alcohol are contained in 100 millilitres of sake.

Nihonshu-do (Sake Meter Value)
Nihonshu-do provides an easy numerical indication of the degree of sweetness or dryness of sake (positive +] [ values for increasingly dry and negative –] [ values for increasingly sweet). The Nihonshu-do provides numerical values that indicate the specific gravity of sakes and, when combined with alcohol content, it allows for calculations of the extract content (mostly sugar content) in the sake. Sakes with low Nihonshu-do are generally sweet sakes with a high extract content. On the contrary, sakes with high Nihonshu-do are generally dry sakes with low extract content. Sakes with a negative –) ( Nihonshu-do have a higher sugar content, making them sweeter. Conversely, sakes with a positive +) ( Nihonshu-do are drier. However, alcohol content changes specific gravity, which makes this element another important factor in judging the quality of sake. Moreover, the acid content in sake tends to mask its sweetness, which is what indicates the acidity or dryness of the sake. It is therefore difficult to classify a sake as sweet or dry based on Nihonshu-do alone.

Acidity indicates the amount of lactic, succinate, malic, and other organic acids contained in the sake. Acidity affects how sweet or dry the sake tastes, as well as the fullness of the body. Higher degrees of acidity produce drier, more full-bodied sakes.

Amino acid degree
Amino acid degree indicates the amount of glutamic and other amino acids contained in the sake. Amino acid degree affects the breadth, richness and other aspects of taste. Higher amino acid degree delivers a more fullbodied, rich-tasting (greater umami) sake, with lower amino acid degree imparting a cleaner, mellower taste.

Table 2 Constituents in Sake -FY2005 (Nationwide totals)

Sake varietal
Number of samples Alcohol content Average value Average value Average value Average value

315 15.8 4.0 1.4 1.4

262 15.4 3.4 1.5 1.8

236 15.4 3.7 1.3 1.5

Other 399 15.3 2.7 1.2 1.3

Acidity Amino acid degree

Source: Ingredients in Marketed Alcoholic Beverages: Fiscal Year 2005, National Tax Agency JAPAN


Assessing Quality

Serving and Enjoying the Pleasures of Sake
Characteristics of Sake
Sake is a sophisticated drink with a vast array of noteworthy characteristics.

Characteristics Determining Quality, and Origin of Distinguishing Properties
● Much

of the variety in fragrance and taste found in the sake brewed

today originates in the differences between methods of production (the differences between ginjo-shu and honjozo-shu, for example).
● Flavour, ● By

fragrance and other elements of quality change easily.

skilfully manipulating micro-organisms, sake brewers produce

desired by-products that create a variety of aromatic constituents.

The Proper Setting
● Sake

has the greatest range of ideal drinking temperatures of any alco-

holic beverage. (It should be noted that sake is most commonly drunk warm.)
● Sake

is also a great complement to almost any meal. In very few

instances does sake accentuate the negative aspects of the food. (These negatives may include the fishy smell of seafood, the harshness contained in vegetables, and the distinctive smell and taste of fermented foods, for example).

Aroma and Taste Characteristics
● Sake

may not offer as much variety of aroma and taste as other types

of alcoholic beverages, but it is characterised by a deep, nuanced taste and complex aroma with many subtle undertones.
● Sweetness

and umami are the most basic of the elements that make

up the taste of sake.

Aged Sake
● Certain

sakes are better when aged, while others should be enjoyed

just after bottling.
● The

aroma and taste of sake that has been aged over a long period of

time is entirely different than that of freshly bottled sake. Most sake reaches peak quality when aged from six to twelve months. This period of maturation also releases the unique properties of each sake.

How to Enjoy Sake
Sake is exceptional among alcoholic beverages in that it can be enjoyed either hot or cold. It may be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature. This unique versatility gives sake a wider drinking range than other liquors, from 5 oC (41oF) to 55oC (131oF). The custom of drinking kan-zake, or warmed sake, became commonplace at the end of the 17th century and continues to be popular in Japan today. Sake’s unique versatility with regard to serving temperature makes this a matter of personal preference, though most Japanese find that sake tastes best close to body temperature (35- 40oC or 95 -104oF) or slightly higher (45-50oC or 113 -122oF). Before serving, the sake is poured into a ceramic tokkuri flask or a chirori pot (designed specifically for heating sake) and warmed to the precise temperature desired. Sake may be served in glassware, as well as traditional cups made of ceramic, porcelain or lacquer. The diversity of shapes and materials serves to enrich the experience of the various sake varietals. Selecting the perfect cup for the specific temperature at which the sake will be served is an additional pleasure that enhances the experience of the sake itself. The pleasures of drinking sake are derived from the wide range of tastes and ways in which it can be served. Choices are made from among the many possibilities to suit the season and the cuisine with which it is paired. Sake’s many flavours make it an ideal base for cocktails, as well. Sake complements cuisines from all over the world and all manner of ingredients and cooking styles. In Japan, it is served at French, Italian and other restaurants offering Western cuisine. Sake brings out the flavour of the food, while at the same time also tempering the strong aromas of beef and seafood. It can be used as a preparation or seasoning in both Japanese and Western cooking, as well.
13 Serving and Enjoying the Pleasures of Sake

Pairing Taste Characteristics and Cuisine
Sake exhibits four taste elements-sweetness/dryness, saltiness, acidity, and bitterness-as well as umami. The recent scientific discovery that the entire human tongue is capable of sensing these five elements is further proof that sake should be allowed to sit on top of the tongue to fully experience all aspects of its flavour. Pairing it with food further enhances this experience. Sake is best enjoyed by sipping it slowly during a good meal.

Table 3 Effect of Sake Constituents on Food  

1 2 3 4 5 6

Water Alcohol

In addition to prolonging the taste experience, the water in sake dilutes the aroma and taste of salt, umami content and spices in food. In addition to blending in most animal and vegetable fats and oils, the alcohol in sake also helps soften protein compounds. Acetic acid works on fat and proteins, breaking down and bringing out the umami content of these ingredients. In addition to buffering salt content and mellowing its sharpness, the acetic acid in sake also works to kill off unwanted bacteria in foods. In addition to cleansing the palate to allow for purer food tastes, the sugar in sake also softens the acidity of foods and tones down astringency and bitterness. The amino acids in sake enhance the taste of food, blend aftertastes, and exhilarate the palate.

Acetic acid

Sugars Amino acids Astringency, bitterness

Sake also helps tone down smells and boost food flavours. It offsets the harshness and astringency in food, leaving the palate exhilarated. Sake consolidates flavours, making it the perfect complement to a meal.

Next, let us turn to the effects sake constituents have on specific dishes. Notes on Pairing Sake with Different Cuisines
● The

aroma and taste of sake will leave a stable impression in the mouth aroma-taste balance of sake remains unchanged even when drunk in almost entirely masks the fishy smell given off by seafood. Drinking flavours of sake do not compete with those of fermented foods, pickles,

regardless of the amount of salt in any particular food.
● The

combination with sweet foods.
● Sake

sake with fish roe masks any strange tastes or smells the roe may give off.
● The

and other favourite sake snacks. These flavours provide a subtle, delicate balance to soy sauce and miso, as well.
● Neither ● Sake

do sake flavours interfere with the taste of fresh fruit.

taste elements are not overpowered by wasabi, mustard or other strong

● The

amino acids in sake enhance the savouriness of most seafood and meats. does not overwhelm the taste or texture of foods with little or no flavour brings out the unique undertones that hide behind the harshness in cer-

● Sake

(such as water shields or tofu).
● Sake

tain vegetables. These are just a few examples of the unique properties sake brings to food that no other type of alcoholic beverage can. This amazing versatility as a complement to nearly every type of cuisine can actually make selecting the appropriate sake for a meal quite confusing for many people. Fortunately, there are no hard and fast rules, and personal favourites are generally fine to serve with any dish. We suggest experimenting with the countless sake varietals and numerous modes of serving them to find what works for you.

Select different sake varietals for different courses
Pair different types of sakes with individual dishes over a multi-course meal. Begin with a highly aromatic ginjo-shu or lightly sparkling nigorizake (coarsely filtered cloudy sake). As the meal proceeds, move on to varietals that cleanse the palate and those that are not overwhelmed by intensely flavourful foods, as well as warmed sake to expand the tastes that remain in the mouth after a satisfying meal. Sake is the perfect complement to sushi - an alcoholic beverage that does not draw one’s attention to the fishy smell of seafood and whose taste is not overpowered by the spiciness of wasabi.
Serving and Enjoying the Pleasures of Sake 14

Taste sakes from the same brewery
Some breweries produce a number of different brands, each under a separate process. Different varietals of the same brands may be produced from different types of rice using different methods to create a subtle variety of tastes. Sampling the sakes of a single brewery with their guidance is an excellent way to learn to identify the unique properties and subtle characteristics of individual sakes.

Enjoy sakes available only at certain times of the year
Sake is a largely seasonal pleasure. The winter to spring months, the most prolific sake-brewing period, are the ideal time to enjoy non-pasteurised (not heated under the hi-ire process), slightly sparkling sakes, as well as freshly bottled namazake. With a little luck, you just may be able to taste sake pressed earlier the same day and poured directly from the barrel on a brewery tour. Summer is the season for the exhilarating and refreshing flavours of clean sakes served chilled. The cooler temperatures in early autumn make this season ideal for hiyaoroshi, sake aged in storage through the spring and summer and shipped cold with no need to heat for sterilization. Sake aged in spring and summer mellows, bringing its distinctive umami to the fore. During the winter, kan-zake (warmed sake) not only warms the body, but highlights the pure delicious taste of sake. The vast array of sake varietals and modes of serving are a source of infinite pleasure throughout the year.

Sake bags hung to drip C ○ KOKKI SHUZO Co.,Ltd.


Storing Sake
A delicate alcoholic beverage, sake is extremely sensitive to light and heat and should be stored in a cool, dark place. Sake breweries handle all aspects from brewing and bottling sake through shipping it to market, taking extreme care to see that the sake is stored at the proper temperature at every stage of the process. During distribution, at the wholesaler, retailer, and even after consumer purchase, however, the quality of the sake may be compromised. Temperature and light are the two most important aspects of handling and storing sake. High temperatures or sudden changes in temperature tend to compromise quality. Sake is also extremely sensitive to direct sunlight and should not be placed in direct sunlight for even short periods of time. Occasionally, a retailer or liquor shop may place sake in displays vulnerable to direct sunlight. The high temperatures in combination with the sunlight in these displays make for the worst conditions for maintaining sake quality. Retailers have recently begun to introduce remedies, such as lining the glass doors of refrigerated showcases with specialty film to protect sake from UV rays. In general, sake reaches store shelves just at peak drinking time. Bottles of sake stored at home under ordinary conditions will lose quality over time and should be enjoyed soon after they are purchased. At home, non-pasteurised namazake should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed as soon as possible. Sake that has undergone hi-ire pasteurisation by heat should be kept in a cool place, preferably under 15oC (59oF). Sake will oxidize once opened. Oxidation will compromise the quality, but rarely the lactic acid bacteria (hiochi-kin) alter the aroma of the sake. Refrigeration is also recommended. The bottled date for sake is not absolute. Under ordinary conditions, the quality of pasteurised sake remains unaffected for two to three months. When drinking non-pasteurised namazake, however, the more recent the bottled date, the better.


Serving and Enjoying the Pleasures of Sake

Brewing Sake
There are 2,087 sake breweries spread across Japan,* with breweries producing sake in every prefecture from Hokkaido to Okinawa, with the exception of Kagoshima. Breweries have long been identified by their characteristic white walls and tile roofs, though recent trends have seen an increasing number of modern structures replacing the traditional sake brewery architecture.
*Source: Sake Notes (“Number of Certified Breweries FY2004,” National Tax Agency JAPAN)

Brewery’characteristic white walls and tile roofs s C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Sakabayashi C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Sakabayashi hanging from the eaves in front of brewery door C ○ MASUDA SAKE COMPANY LTD.

Although certain breweries do operate year-round producing sake, brewing sake is generally a seasonal affair. Beginning in autumn, brewing peaks during the coldest months of winter and ends when the longer days usher in spring. Long ago, breweries hung sakabayashi, large round balls of tightly bound Japanese cedar leaves, from the eaves in front of the door to announce to neighbourhood sake-lovers that a new batch of sake was ready. The sakabayashi no longer serves this purpose for customers, but has been adopted as the symbol of the Japanese sake brewery. As part of the 2,000-year history of sake-brewing, Japanese breweries boast a long, proud history in their own right. A number have been operating for 200 or 300 years, or even longer, and some have been handed down from generation to generation, remaining in the same family to this day. Sake breweries are spread throughout Japan. Some open their doors to the public for tours. Others have been converted to restaurants that serve the local cuisine, while still others are designated historical landmarks or feature museums exhibiting traditional sake-brewing tools and accessories. Visit the breweries that make your favourite sakes. Who knows? You may even glimpse the secrets behind their great taste.

The innumerable methods for brewing and handling sake are all complex, delicate processes. The toji, the head brewer at a sake brewery, directs these processes as they are carried out by the kurabito (technicians involved in the sake-brewing process) working under him. Today, toji and kurabito are both referred to with the same appellation, shuzo ginosha (skilled sake brewers). The majority of toji are certified, under a national certification system, in the sake-brewing processes at the highest level. The toji ’s responsibilities, however, extend well beyond the actual brewing. They also oversee the kurabito and manage the brewery floor. It is therefore essential that, in addition to having mastered every technical aspect of brewing, that toji be decisive men or women of character with strong leadership qualities and generalists who are good administrators. It is not every brewer who meets these stringent standards required of the toji. Brewing sake, the art of rigorously controlling koji-kin (Aspergillus oryzae), yeast and other microorganisms with a delicate, skillful touch, is not easily mastered. Ancient sake-brewing techniques and skills have been passed down over many generations and inherited by those in toji guilds across Japan. Ultimate responsibility for the final sake products lies with the toji. This essential position is, however, becoming more difficult to fill. Traditionally, most of toji and kurabito were farmers who worked on the farm during the summer and in the brewery during the winter. As the number of farmers in Japan declines, we find fewer young people who dream of mastering the skills to be toji. The sake industry is striving to secure future generations of toji and exploring ways to restructure the industry to provide year-round employment. Currently, 983 toji are registered with the Japanese Federation of Toji Guilds, an umbrella group for all toji guilds across the country, along with 820 sanyaku** and 1,960 general kurabito. The average age of toji members is 56.2 years.
**Sanyaku includes toji or assistant to toji, chief in komekoji(moulded rice) making, and chief in shubo (sake yeast starter) making.
17 Brewing Sake

Sake Ingredients
Japan currently cultivates 276 varieties of rice. It is these domestically grown varieties that are one of the main ingredients of sake.* Certain rice varieties called shuzo kotekimai (rice for sake brewing regulated by agricultural produce standards), are more conducive than others to sake-brewing and result in superior sakes. *Source: Crop Status by Rice
Variety Produced FY2005, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan

Over the 2005 brewing year (July 2005 – June 2006), 273,000 tons of brown rice were polished to 187,000 tons and used to brew sake. Most varieties of shuzo kotekimai are large grained rice (1,000 grains weighing more than 26 grams) that contain a cloudy white centre called the shimpaku. This type of rice is used in sake-brewing because it lends itself to the making komekoji (moulded rice) process. Komekoji is then blended into the moromi (main sake mash) to help catalyse the alcohol fermentation process. In addition to yamadanishiki, long the most popular brand of sake rice in Japan, new varieties of sake rice have recently been developed, and older types are being revived throughout the country. Yamadanishiki rice: Especially well-suited to produce the highly aromatic fragrance of daiginjo-shu. Gohyakumangoku rice: This famous sake rice comes from Niigata Prefecture and the Hokuriku region. Miyamanishiki rice: A hardy, enduring variety, this rice is grown in the harsher climates in northern Japan. Omachi rice: One of the oldest varieties of sake rice. The distinctive expansive taste it imparts to sake makes Omachi rice a perennial favourite.

Stalks of rice C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Rice plants drying in the sun after harvest C ○ KOKKI SHUZO Co.,Ltd.

Sake rice (shuzo kotekimai ) C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Yamadanishiki rice C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Table 4 Top Five Rice Varieties by Area Planted for Crops
Sake rice
Rice variety name Area planted (ha) 4,781 4,324 1,394 390 358 Percentage of total area planted for crops (%) 32.6 29.5 9.5 2.7 2.4 Rice variety name Table rice Area planted (ha) 556,345 154,929 150,779 131,751 49,304 Percentage of total area planted for crops (%) 38.0 10.6 10.3 9.0 3.4

1 Yamadanishiki 2 Gohyakumangoku 3 Miyamanishiki 4 Hyogo-yumenishiki 5 Omachi

Koshihikari Hitomebore Hinohikari Akitakomachi Kinuhikari

Source:Crop Status by Rice Variety Produced FY2005, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan


Sake Ingredients

The outer husk of unrefined brown rice contains fats, minerals, and proteins that compromise the taste of sake. The rice is therefore milled, and the husk discarded. It is the inner shimpaku that is used in sake-brewing. In most cases, the outer third of the husk is discarded, leaving a grain two-thirds its original size, though for varietals such as ginjo-shu, twice this amount is removed. This process may generate waste, but it is essential to producing good-tasting sake.
Polished rice weight (kg) Brown rice weight (kg)

Milling Rate Seimaibuai )%) ( ( =


(From left) Brown rice; polished rice with 1/3 of husk removed; polished rice with 2/3 of husk removed. C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing Automatic rice mill C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Pure water is the other essential ingredient in creating sake and is used at a ten-to-one ratio to polished rice. This water has a significant effect on the production method and the quality of the resulting sake. It is therefore held to much more stringent standards than tap water. Sake breweries are frequently established in areas known for their pure spring water. The two most prominent sake-producing regions are Nada (Hyogo Prefecture) and Fushimi (Kyoto Prefecture), two of the country’s 100 best water sources as designated by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. Water can contain elements that are unsuitable for producing good sake. Iron, though a necessary metallic element for humans that is essential to the red haemoglobin in blood, tends to change the colour of sake a reddish brown and compromise the fragrance and taste. The quality standard for iron is 0.3ppm or less for tap water. In brewing sake, however, only water with less than one-tenth that amount is used. Fortunately, natural springs throughout the country provide the high-quality water needed to brew superior sake.

Table 5 Water Requirements for Sake-Brewing
Complexion Smell/Taste pH Iron/Manganese Organic substances Nitrite-nitrogen Ammoniac nitrogen Bacterial acidity Lactic acid bacteria and coliform bacteria Colourless and transparent No discernable odour or taste Neutral or slightly alkaline 0.02 ppm or less 5.0 ppm or less Undetected Undetected 0.5 ml or less ND

Sake Ingredients 20

Komekoji (Moulded rice)
Koji-kin (Aspergillus oryzae) bred in white rice converts the starch in white rice to sugar. A beneficial mould used in the manufacture of miso and soy sauce, as well, it is koji-kin that breaks the starch in sake rice. To make komekoji, koji-kin spores (seeds) are sprinkled over steamed rice. Left alone, these spores soon germinate and form fungal threads. In a few days’ time, the koji-kin will have covered the steamed rice entirely. Once it reaches this stage, the rice is called komekoji (moulded rice). As the koji-kin grows in its rice host, enzyme proteins are created and are cultivated inside the komekoji. Invisible to the naked eye, enzymes in komekoji function as microscopic scissors capable of shredding the starch in the steamed rice fermented with komekoji. Koji-kin is a mould, and as such, it thrives in warm temperatures. A corner of each sake brewery contains a koji-muro, a heated room dedicated to the cultivation of komekoji. It is here that the steamed rice and koji-kin is placed for a few days to develop into komekoji.
Koji-kin spores C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

(From left) Yellow koji-kin (for brewing sake) (for making shochu ) White koji-kin (for making awamori ) Black koji-kin (for making soy sauce) Yellow koji-kin
C Koji-kin varietals (spores of mould) ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

First day C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Second day C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Making komekoji C ○ KOKKI SHUZO Co.,Ltd.

Brewing Alcohol
Brewing alcohol is the term for alcohol brewed from starches and sugars. Adding alcohol to the moromi sake mash not only enhances the aroma, but also produces a refreshing, clean sake. The addition of alcohol also inhibits the cultivation of lactic acid bacteria (putrefactive hiochi-kin bacteria), which tends to compromise the flavours of sake. The amount of brewing alcohol added to ginjo-shu and honjozo-shu is limited to 10% or less of the amount of polished rice used in brewing. The brewing alcohol pulls ginjo-shu and honjozo-shu flavours into balance and enhances the fragrance of some sakes. The latter is especially true of ginjo-shu.


Sake Ingredients

Sake Production
Though sake is a brewed alcohol like wine and beer, the brewing process for sake is complex. Yeast, a tiny living organism measuring 5-8 microns (1 micron is 1/1000 of 1 mm), carries out alcohol fermentation. Yeast propagates quickly, doubling its numbers in two to three hours under the proper conditions. The fermentation tank is filled with pure water and shubo (sake yeast starter), and steamed rice that has cooled to room temperature is added to this mixture. Unlike wine, which naturally ferments when yeast is added to pressed grapes, simply adding shubo is not sufficient to start the alcohol fermentation that produces sake. To brew sake, the starch in steamed rice must be converted to alcohol. Made up of hundreds of glucose strands, this starch is too large for the microscopic yeast particles, which are unable to break the starch down and spark the alcohol fermentation process unaided. It is this that makes it necessary to add the komekoji (moulded rice) that converts rice starch to sugar. The rice then begins to ferment when yeast is added to this sugar. Because the saccharification and fermentation processes occur simultaneously in the same container, the process is called “multiple parallel fermentation.”

Image of yeast under the electronmicrograph C ○ National Research Institute of Brewing

Sake Fermentation Process


Alcohol fermentation Sugar (Glucose)


Sake rice (Starch) Komekoji (Diastatic enzyme)

Sake (Alcohol, Carbon dioxide)


Alcohol fermentation Wine Grapes (Sugar =Glucose) Wine (Alcohol, Carbon dioxide)



Sake Production

1 ─Rice Milling
While sake quality depends first and foremost on the quality of its two basic ingredients, water and rice, the degree that the rice is milled also affects the sake’s quality. Milling removes the unwanted outer layers of vitamins, proteins, and fats from the grains, so the more the rice is milled, the better the sake’s flavour and fragrance. The milling rate indicates the percentage of the original kernel remaining after milling.

Milling too fast breaks kernels and over-heats the rice, so this work must be done slowly and gently.

2─Washing & Soaking
After milling – to less than half the original grain size for the best quality sake – the pearl-like rice is washed and soaked. Although the purpose of soaking the rice is simply to allow it to absorb the desired amount of water, getting just the right amount of water is quite a tricky business. Brewers time the soaking down to the minute because over-soaking can make the rice unusable for brewing.

Early the next morning, rice with just the right water content is put into the continuous rice steamer and steamed for 50 minutes. In order to make ideal koji (= komekoji ) and to ensure proper fermentation of the mash, the rice kernels must be steamed in a way that results in a firm outer surface and a soft inner core.

Temperature and pressure are precisely controlled to make steamed rice with a firm outer surface and a soft center.

Sake Production 24

4─Koji = komekoji) ( Making
A 20% portion of the rice steamed each day is used for koji making, the heart of the brewing process, which lasts for two full days and nights. Great care is taken in this step, which ultimately determines the flavour profile of the resulting sake. The rice is first sprinkled with finely powdered koji mould(=koji-kin) and taken to the koji-muro (cultivation room) where it is put in a long, shallow tube called a toko. The seeded rice is then tightly wrapped in fine cloth and is left to cultivate in the high temperature and high humidity of the koji-muro. In the evening, everyone gathers round the toko tub in the koji-muro to work the stiffness out of the batch of koji and to give each kernel equal exposure to the room temperature. On the morning of the second day, the koji is moved from the toko tub into a special box called a tana. The koji is now said to be at its peak. In the afternoon the koji is spread thinly on a heated table to aid evaporation and avoid sudden rises in temperature. On the morning of the third day, the steaming koji is taken out of the koji-muro. The brewers then spread the koji in long swirling lines on trays. If you take a closer look, you can see that koji has wrapped the kernels with filaments, and that the tip of each filament has its own crown of fine fuzz. These filaments, which contain enzymes needed for saccharification, have also grown into the heart of the kernels: koji is born. The brewers then spread the koji into swirls to halt its growth. The perfectly cultivated koji is now ready for the next day’s brewing.

The koji(=komekoji ) is spread into swirls to help dry it, and to lower the temperature so that the koji mould(=koji-kin) does not continue to grow.

Koji mould creates the enzymes needed for saccharification. These enzymes have the magical power to break rice starch down into glucose.

If you take an even closer look, you can see that the tip of each filament has its own crown of fine fuzz, like the head of a thistle …

Koji(=komekoji ) is spread thinly using wooden slats during the final stage.

When the time is right, everyone gathers round the toko tub in the koji-muro to work the stiffness out the batch of koji. This is done with loving care and genial conversation about the state of the day’ koji. This s work must be done with sensitive hands!

The koji-muro (cultivation room) is the heart of the sakagura. The walls are paneled with cedar. Humidity and temperature are strictly regulated. Steamed rice is blown through this hose with an air compressor.


Sake Production

5─Yeast Starter
The next step is to create the shubo, a kind of seed mash, for growing the sake yeast that is central to the fermentation process. Koji(=komekoji ), steamed rice, and water is added to a small tank, then lactic acid and a pure yeast concentration is mixed in. (A traditional method for creating lactic acid naturally, called Yamahai, is also still used today.) The mixture then slowly turns into what is called amazake, or sweet sake. During the shubo cultivation, enzymes in the koji slowly convert the starch from the steamed rice into glucose, which in turn fuels the rapid propagation of the yeast cells. A pristine environment must be maintained and the shubo temperature must be strictly regulated over the fourteen days required to develop the yeast culture. If this process is carried out properly, the result is a shubo mixture with two or three million thriving yeast cells in every drop.

The first day of the shubo Water, koji(=komekoji ), lactic acid and steamed rice is mixed. A steel cylinder is placed in the center so that water filled with dissolved koji enzymes can seep into it. The brewer workers repeatedly ladle this solution back into the surrounding mixture to increase the concentration.

Every morning the brewery workers measure the temperature, check the yeast concentration and adjust the temperature by heating the bottom of the tank or by adding cool water. For two weeks the shubo mixture is pampered like a baby.

Sake Production 26

At this stage, the yeast has consumed nearly all the glucose in the mixture, and the culture is beginning to get hungry. The same basic ingredients for creating more amazake (koji =komekoji] steamed rice and water) are [ , added to a medium-size tank. However, adding the full amount of amazake at once would weaken the yeast culture, so it is instead added in three stages over four days. After the first batch, the mixture rests for one day. Then, the same steps are taken on the third and fourth days, gradually increasing the volume of the moromi in larger fermentation tanks. This fermentation process, unique to the brewing of Japanese sake, is known as multiple parallel fermentation.

Adding the shubo mixture directly to the large fermentation tank would cause a rapid fall in temperature that would weaken the yeast. To avoid this, the first batch is made in a medium-sized tank.

Forcing the yeast to live in a harsher environment 10-15oC or 50-59oF cooler than normal achieves on optimum balance of alcohol, fragrance, and flavour. The second batch and the third batch are added in large fermentation tanks.

After about 21 to 25 days, the moromi has reached 18 to 20% alcohol content, the fragrance and flavour have fully developed, and the sake is ready to be pressed. This involves straining the white kasu (lees) through fine cloth to separate the clear sake. Traditional methods like Kubitsuri or Sakabune, or newer methods such as air pressing, are used to extract the sake.

Pressing machine

The premium daiginjo is extracted by a simple process called kubitsuri or“hanging by the neck” The pressed sake slowly accumulates in this glass bottle.


Sake Production

With the exception of Arabashiri (17 to 20% alcohol) and some Namazake, which are bottled and shipped soon after pressing, most sake is kept in tanks for six months to a year, and is regularly sampled to determine the best time for bottling and shipping.

Main Production Methods
Kimoto method
A traditional method for making shubo (sake yeast starter). Time and attention is required to derive lactic acid from natural lactobacilli, which assists in increasing sake yeast content while inhibiting propagation of harmful bacteria. This starter contains a high concentration of amino acids and is helpful in producing a dry, rich-tasting sake.

Yamahai-moto method
The yamahai-moto method was developed in the Meiji era as a laboursaving modification of the kimoto method. This method omits the labour-intensive process called yamaoroshi (grinding the mixture of steamed rice, komekoji, and water with wooden paddles in a shallow tub). The yamahai-moto method produces the sake and the sake yeast starter of the same characteristics as the kimoto method.

Sokujo-moto method
Another method developed in the Meiji era, the sokujo-moto further shortens production time by adding lactic acid, which eliminates the step of making lactic acid taken in the kimoto and yamahai-moto methods. Today, the sokujo-moto method is one of the most commonly used at breweries. The sokujo-moto method produces allround shubo from which any type of sake can be brewed.

Sake Production



C ○ Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.

Written during the Nara era (700s) around the time of the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters),*the Harima Fudoki (Records of the Culture and Geography of Harima Province) contains the clearest reference to the use of rice as an ingredient in sake. Specific passages state “the rice bestowed upon us by the Gods has withered and moulded” therefore “fermentation for sake will begin forthwith.”
*The Kojiki is the oldest surviving historical book in the Japanese language.

Some historians believe that sake brewing started long ago among the ordinary people of Japan before “Imperial Sake” was brought to the Yamato Imperial Court in the 4th century when the court was newly founded and Chinese culture and technologies were making their way to the country. Written in the 900s, the Engishiki (Rule of the Engi Era for the Implementation of the Penal Code and Administrative Law) notes a variety of different sakes already being produced with the same basic methods used today more than 1,000 years ago during the Heian Period. Sake was finally commercialised in the Edo Period (1603-1867). These brews were the result of blending the sake-brewing techniques handed down among clans in areas across Japan and the process used to produce the Imperial Sake. It was during this historical period that the many varietals of sake and various brands of sake emerged, a situation much like that of the modern day. The unique sake-brewing methods developed long ago are still in use in Japan today. One example, “multiple parallel fermentation,” is the advanced production method described above under which the saccharification and fermentation processes occur simultaneously. Another unique aspect of Japanese brewing is that it produces sake with an alcohol content as high as 20%. The hi-ire pasteurisation process is also a Japanese tradition. Records dating as far back as the Muromachi Period (1400s) detail Japanese sake brewers using the hi-ire process to heat fresh sake to 65oC (140oF) in order to sterilize it and inhibit enzyme action prior to storing the sake as means of promoting the maturation of flavours. This was long before the discovery of pasteurisation by bacteriologist Louis Pasteur in the mid-1800s.
C ○ Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.

Reference Materials
Conversations on Sake No. 1 and 9 (National Research Institute of Brewing) Glossary of Terms on Sake Bottle Labels (National Research Institute of Brewing) Welcome to the World of Japanese Sake (Japan Sake Brewers Association) Tax Statistics (National Tax Agency JAPAN) Creating and Tasting Wondrous Sakes – 35 Years as a Sake Technical Officer, Tetsuo HASUO ISBN4-89063-176-3 Ingredients in Marketed Alcoholic Beverages: Fiscal Year 2005 (National Tax Agency JAPAN) Reading Material - Sake (Japan Sake Brewers Association) Sake Service Institute Sake Notes (National Tax Agency JAPAN)

Other Resources
Sake: The Liquid Essence of Japan Japan Sake Brewers Association Website Sake World Homepage (by John Gauntner) John Gauntner, The Sake Handbook (Charles E. Tuttle, Co., Inc.) Griffith Frost and John Gauntner, Sake Pure+Simple (Stone Bridge Press) John Gauntner, The Sake Companion (Running Press) Beau Timken and Sara Deseran, Sake: A Modern Guide (Chronicle Books) Philip Harper, The Insider’s Guide to Sake (Kodansha International) Philip Harper, The Book of Sake:A Connoisseur’s Guide” (Kodansha International)


History / Reference Materials / Other Resources
JAL is working together with more than 200 sake brewers in Japan with overseas promotion and export of their products. As a supporter of the Visit Japan Campaign, JAL would like to invite you to enjoy the beauty, history and culture of Japan by experiencing the delights of sake.
JALUX, JAL Group’ trading company, is promoting the Japanese national drink by the introducs tion of Japanese food, culture and style through sales of sake and sake-related traditional ceramic tableware. JAL offers a comprehensive selection of sake, especially chosen by sake sommeliers(Kikizake-

shi ) compliment on board cuisine including premium rice wines Dai Ginjo or Ginjo and Junmai to Daiginjo or Junmai Ginjo.
When visiting Japan whether for business or pleasure, step into the world of sake and increase your enjoyment and understanding of Japan and its unique culture. JAL’ sake website contains s detailed information on the sake-making process, suggested breweries you can visit during your stay in Japan, and reports on individual sake by JAL cabin attendants with qualifications as sake sommeliers.

Using JAL Cargo’ high quality freighter services, s JALUX, JAL affiliated trading company, together with London sake experts are introducing sake breweries to the UK and other overseas markets.

No journey to Japan is complete until you experience the delicate, elegant taste of the national drink of Japan, sake. Welcome to Japan (Yokoso Japan) and welcome to the world of sake.

For an unforgettable journey, relax and enjoy the comprehensive selection of sake served on board JAL flights. Sake can be enjoyed equally as well on its own as with one of our delicious Japanese or western style meals.

Sake A to Z
Editor:Kimiko MASUDA

When sake is evaluated its quality, a small cup called "Kikichoko (special sake tasting cup)" is used; this is a white porcelain cup with a blue snake's-eye painted in the bottom.

Published by:Japan Airlines International Co.,Ltd.

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