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【Video article】Let's learn more about national sake! Experience the rich sake culture at the Japan Sake Information Center

Translated from Japanese by
"Kokusake" refers to Japan sake, honkaku shochu and awamori, and hon mirin Japan which is a representative alcoholic beverage that represents the history and culture. The Japan Sake Information Center was built with the aim of disseminating the appeal of "Japan sake" both domestically and internationally, operated by the Central Association of Japan Sake Brewers Association. In a space of about 26 tsubo, there are sake cups from all over the Japan and sake cups from all over the country. We visited the "Japan Sake Information Center" where you can learn about sake brewing and sample it.

In a modern and sophisticated Japanese-style space, Japan sake and authentic shochu are lined up.

The information center is about a 3~4 minute walk from Toranomon Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Kasumigaseki Station on the Chiyoda Line, and Uchisaiwaicho Station on the Toei Mita Line. Located on the first floor of the Japan Sake Brewery Toranomon Building, the so-called "Sakabayashi" is a large cedar leaf ball that is also used as a sign for liquor stores. Anyone can enter for free.

When you enter the museum, the first thing that surprises you is the wooden tub on the ceiling. It is a wooden tub used to manufacture sake, but this is not the real thing, but an object made for the information center. The Information Center, which was built in Ginza in 1981 as the Japan Sake Center, moved to its current location in 2016. When they relocated, they were conscious of tourists from overseas visiting inbound, and renewed it with a modern Japanese design. This time, we were guided by Director Shuzo Imada, who became the director when we moved.

On display on the lacquer-inspired wall near the entrance was a familiar barrel sake with a mirror opening. The shelves lined with sake and sake cups are modeled after wooden masu. I feel that they are particular about the sophisticated and fashionable design.

The Japan sake and authentic shochu in the information center are from sake breweries that are members of the Japan Sake Brewers Association, and there are always about 100 kinds of them. According to Imadakan Nagawa, there are about 1,700 sake breweries that are members of the association, and since it is not possible to place all the sake of the brewery at once, they regularly replace it. It is said that about 70% of the alcohol is replaced in one month. The selection is careful to cover as many types and regions as possible, from Daiginjo to Junmai sake and sparkling sake, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. You can enjoy what kind of sake you can encounter after you visit. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

In addition to Japan sake, the lineup also includes authentic shochu, awamori, hon mirin, and fruit liqueurs. There is also "old sake" that has been aged by letting awamori lie for many years.

Recently, tourists from overseas have returned, and more than 30% of the daily visitors are foreign tourists who are interested in Japan sake. According to Director Imada, the registration of washoku as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 has increased the popularity of washoku overseas, and the demand for Japan sake has also increased rapidly. Japan sake paired with Japanese food spread all over the world. In the past Japan sake was described as "Ricewine", but now it is understood overseas as well.

Raw materials such as koji and rice are also on display so that you can learn how to make sake.

The concept of the information center is "see, touch, and experience," and the raw materials of sake, actual samples of rice malt, sake cups, etc. are also on display. Mashiko-yaki, Mino-yaki, Hagi-yaki, and other sake cups in various places should be enjoyed just by looking at them.

There are also plenty of books and pamphlets related to alcohol, so you can learn about alcohol from scratch. In addition, there are two large monitors in the museum, and video content related to alcohol is constantly broadcasting.

Since the information center collects all kinds of information about Japan sake, not only domestic and foreign tourists who are interested in alcohol, but also many people come to study to acquire qualifications related to alcohol, such as "sake master" and "SAKE DIPLOMA".

All the sake in the museum can be tasted! Feeling slightly tipsy before you know it?

At the counter, there is a concierge who is familiar with Japan alcohol. Even if you don't have any knowledge of alcohol, you can tell them your preferences and they will consult with you. You can tell them the type of sake such as "refreshing", "slightly sweet", or "good aroma", or you can tell them the area, such as "Kyushu" or "Tohoku". You're sure to find your favorite sake!

At the information center, you can sample all the sake. One cup costs about 100 to 500 yen, so you can try it and buy your favorite sake. Of course, only people over the age of 20 can taste it. First of all, why don't you enjoy the difference in taste and aroma of each set with a variety of drinks? For example, with the "Japan Sake Basic Set", you can sample 5 types of Japan sake for 700 yen (tax included).

As a base for disseminating information on Japan sake, many people visit the "Japan Sake Information Center". In a sophisticated space, you may be able to immerse yourself in the beautiful sake culture of the Japan. Not only alcohol lovers, but also people who are not very interested in alcohol may be able to discover the goodness of Japan sake. However, be careful not to drink too much!
In addition to disseminating information on sake breweries and events held in various regions, the Information Center also regularly plans and holds events such as tasting events by breweries and seminars by experts. For more information, closed days, and contact information, please check the official website below. There are many photo spots in the hall and you can take pictures! Why don't you feel free to stop by in the mood for sightseeing?

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