I had this image in my head about samurai warriors drinking hot sake from a tiny dish sitting around an indoor fire place on a snowy day. They drink it up with one shot and pour for one another again and again until they pass out! Well, I am not saying I wanted to experience this very same scene but I was definitely interested in sake culture in Japan.
There are many Japanese-style pubs called "Izakaya" around the city but these are just places to hang out and relax with friends on the weekend. I had the pleasure to be invited by a small local sake shop in the heart of Kyoto to participate in a special event: trying Japanese sake with some light dishes.
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I expected to hear about the long history of sake brewing and all the differences between the "big green bottled Japanese wine" and the "white" one and the ones in "small bottles" and so on. This would make me think about those long, sleepy history lessons back in school, but instead we were seated around an old, short table in a tatami room and encouraged to take a sip and enjoy the harmony of taste with the food.
The sake was surprisingly light, no strong aftertaste and felt perfectly suited to the dishes. The wine came in different cups: porcelain, bamboo, wood, glass, modern and traditional wine cups that made the whole experience more exciting.
I have to admit that I don't know more about the history of Japanese wine than before. What I gained however was the experience of becoming a Japanese person for a few hours and feel the first warm sun rays of spring through the arrangement of dishes and decoration.
If you just want to relax for 20-30 minutes and feel Japan around you, a sake shop gives you this perfect experience.
Learn more about Japanese sake and our chauffeur-guided tours at the links below:
See you next time,
MK Taxi Kyoto
Tours containing the private Noh theatre:
1, Sake, Noh and Shibori tour
2, Sake, Noh and Washi tour