There are probably a lot of Japanese sake beginners who don’t know which Japanese sake to choose given the myriad types of Japanese sake available in the market these days. If that happens, you should try choosing based on the Japanese sake’s appearance and what your instinct tells you. With that, here are some rather unusual Japanese sake that are known for their impactful appearance and novel concept.
Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery in Niigata Prefecture is a brewery that only produces "junmaishu," a kind of Japanese sake that is made without any added alcohol.
The Japanese sake that best represents this brewery is KOI, which has won numerous design awards worldwide. It comes in a white ceramic bottle, something that is rarely seen in the world of Japanese sake, and that bottle is adorned with a red pattern that reminds one of a koi (colored carp). When you put it inside the accompanying box that features a koi-shaped window, it will look like the carp is swimming gracefully in a pond!
The brewer does not disclose information such as the rice used and the rice-polishing ratio because they want people to enjoy the Japanese sake without any preconceptions. However, it’s guaranteed that this Japanese sake’s elegant and rich taste lives up to the carp’s name.
If you bring it to a gathering or a party, it will surely liven up the place!
Price: From 5,940 JPY (incl. tax)
2. Taxi Driver
If you’re someone who just wants to drink Japanese sake that comes in a bottle with an impressive design, then you should definitely go for “Taxi Driver,” a Japanese sake from the Iwate-based Kikuzakari Sake Brewery. This Japanese sake is made based on the concept of “junmaishu that is delicious when served warm.”
You may not be able to imagine what kind of Japanese sake it is if you only look at its name and the label that looks just like a movie poster. That said, this Japanese sake is known for its rich taste and crisp finish that pack a punch as strong as its appearance.
With its eye-catching design and delicious taste that exceeds the impact of its label, this Japanese sake is always a hit at parties, which is why I love it.
Price: From 1,678 JPY (incl. tax)
3. Kubota Sparkling
The “Kubota” series from Niigata’s Asahi-Shuzo Brewery boasts enormous popularity thanks to their smooth taste and light yet rich flavor.
The latest from this series is the brand’s first sparkling sake, the Kubota Sparkling.
Characterized by its fine foam and refreshing scent that smells like Muscat grapes, this Japanese sake will give you an exhilarating feeling when you feel the bubbles in the drink pop in your mouth.
Its stylish, slender bottle and the label design dominated by the golden color of champagne are also quite fancy and are bound to create a festive mood.
This is one of the Japanese sake brands that I am most interested in right now.
Price: 1,320 JPY (incl. tax)
4. Heki-yu Urakasumi Daiginjo Blend
A limited-edition Japanese sake from Miyagi-based Urakasumi Sake Brewery Saura. It is a rare beverage that is made by blending together different kinds of daiginjo (a kind of Japanese sake with a 50% rice-polishing ratio and added alcohol) sake and storing the blend for over a year before consumption.
The Japanese sake brand "Heki-yu" was used in the early Showa period (mid-1920s to mid-1930s). It was revived in 2021, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, in order to inspire people to band together to overcome the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Japanese sake is characterized by a rich aroma that comes from blending a variety of daiginjo sake, as well as a mild, soft flavor. It is best paired with fatty dishes such as fatty tuna and scallops cooked in butter.
Price: 2,860 JPY (incl. tax)
5. Nihonshu no Dashiwari
If you’re not satisfied with ordinary Japanese sake and want to drink something unique, then the Nihonshu no Dashiwari just might be the one for you! A familiar item in the menus of tachinomi izakaya (bars where you stand while drinking), "dashiwari" is a kind of drink that is made by mixing Japanese sake or shochu (a kind of distilled alcohol from rice or sweet potatoes) with the soup stock of oden (a dish of various ingredients boiled in a soy sauce-flavored broth) and other dishes.
You probably think it's ridiculous to mix soup with Japanese sake, but you’d be surprised at how perfect they are together. Adding the salty taste of the soup broth to the sweet flavors of the Japanese sake will further enhance the Japanese sake’s delicious and sweet taste, giving you a mild drink that has a certain depth to it.
You can enjoy it with meals in the same way as soup. Drink it and it will warm your body, and you’ll feel your mind and body relaxing naturally. Another great thing about this Japanese sake is that it is easy to drink, as all you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few seconds before you take a sip.
Price: 218 JPY (incl. tax)
How did you find the Japanese sake featured in this article? There are still a lot more Japanese sake with unconventional designs and interesting concepts out there! If you find a Japanese sake that your instincts tell you is the one to drink, you have to try it!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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