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Easy to Drink and Delicious! 5 Recommended Sake You Can Buy in Convenience Stores

Many brands of sake are listed in the menus of restaurants and izakaya (Japanese pubs), and many people are probably intrigued by them, but do not know which one to choose. This article will introduce different types of delicious sake that can be bought easily, recommended for people who want to try out sake for the first time.

Buying Sake in a Convenience Store

In Japan drinking and smoking under the age of 20 is prohibited by law. Many convenience stores have an age verification touch panel to prevent selling prohibited goods to people under 20 years old. As a general rule, everyone who purchases alcoholic drinks is required to confirm their age on the touch panel. At the time of the payment, the sentence "Are you over 20 years old?" will appear on the LCD screen near the register, press the "Yes" button and the age verification procedure will be complete. However, sometimes the staff will ask to see your ID, so you should have a passport, ID card, or a document that can prove your age with you.

1. Kuromatsu Kenbishi

Kenbishi is one of Japan's leading sake manufacturers and has been making sake for more than 500 years. To protect the taste and keep it consistent, Kenbishi takes special care to adjusting the rice-polishing ratio according to the quality of the rice and tweaks it every year.
Kenbishi produces 5 varieties of sake, but the recommended one is the Kuromatsu Kenbishi, a sake with a full-flavored taste and a rich aroma that spreads from the moment you take a sip. It is a moderately dry sake, therefore it has a clean aftertaste, leaving a refined taste in one's mouth after drinking it. It is recommended to drink it cold for a fresh experience, or at room temperature or body temperature to better enjoy its mellow aroma.

Reference price: 900ml bottle 1,100 JPY (excl. tax)

1. Kuromatsu Kenbishi

2. Junmai Ginjo Rinzen Yamadanishiki Tamanohikari

Tamanohikari is a long-standing sake brewery established in 1673. With the motto of "Good sake starts from good rice," the brewery takes special care into using the best raw ingredients and is a Junmai Ginjo brewery, rare even in Japan. The brewery makes only Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo sake, two varieties of sake made without any added alcohol or sugar.
The recommended Junmai Ginjo Rinzen Yamadanishiki Tamanohikari is a sake made with Yamadanishiki rice, the representative of the ideal rice for sake brewing, and is a fragrant sake that one cannot get enough of, with a natural balance between acidity and sweetness.
Mini-bottles like the one in the photo are an exclusive of Lawson and can be bought in any Lawson in Japan.

Tamanohikari Junmai Ginjo Yamadanishiki 100% 275ml
Price: 500 JPY (incl. tax)

2. Junmai Ginjo Rinzen Yamadanishiki Tamanohikari

3. One Cup Ozeki Josen

Ozeki is a long-standing company that was established in the Hyogo prefecture in 1711 and has produced sake for over 300 years. To suggest a new way of drinking sake and with the concept of "sake you can drink anywhere and at any time," Ozeki created One Cup Ozeki, sake sold directly in a glass. Since its launch in 1964, it has been loved by many and is a longtime best seller.
There are various kinds of One Cup Ozeki, however the one introduced today, the Josen, is considered the classic. It has a refreshingly neat aftertaste and low acidity. It is a versatile sake that can be enjoyed in any way, from cold to hot. One Cup Ozeki can be bought in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide.

Reference price: 218 JPY (excl. tax)

3. One Cup Ozeki Josen

4. Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi Junmai Ginjo

Shirataki is a brewery with a long history of around 160 years located in Niigata prefecture's Minami-Uonuma, known as one of Japan's foremost rice-producing regions. Their Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi variety of sake brewed in this region where the snow falls heavily is pure like melted snow and has a characteristic refreshing taste. It has a very mild flavor and goes well with any dish in any season, and therefore can be enjoyed during a meal by people that are not used to drinking alcohol, or people who are just starting to drink sake. It is recommended to drink this sake cold if a refreshing taste is preferred, or at room temperature to enjoy its glamorous aroma and a more mellow flavor.
Mini-bottles like the one in the photo are an exclusive of Lawson and can be bought in any Lawson in Japan.

Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi Junmai Ginjo 275ml
Price: 500 JPY (incl. tax)

4. Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi Junmai Ginjo

5. Shochikubai Shirakabegura Mio

The sparkling refined sake Mio, produced by Takara in Kyoto, has been steadily gaining popularity especially among women since its launch in 2011. The secrets to its popularity are the natural faint sweetness of rice, the right amount of acidity, the refreshing feeling of the bubbles bursting open in one's mouth, and the stylish design of the bottle. Ice-cold Mio poured in a champagne flute is also perfect for a fancy party setting.
The alcohol content is 5%, fairly low for a sake, therefore people who do not have a high tolerance for alcohol can drink it without any worry.

Reference price: 300ml 513 JPY (incl. tax)

5. Shochikubai Shirakabegura Mio

All the sake varieties introduced in this article are very popular brands that can be found almost everywhere in Japan. If you try them and find one you like, you can say "I would like to try something that tastes like __," when you are out for a meal, and the restaurant's staff will choose the perfect sake for you.

*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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