At Sake Tours, we take you behind the scenes to meet the people who grow, cook, brew, and create the incomparable food, sake, and traditional arts and crafts of Japan.
You’ll tour sake breweries, talk with master brewers, and most importantly, taste—a lot. But that’s only part of the experience. Depending on the tour you choose, you might find yourself trying your hand at making soba, embarking on a ramen crawl through Hakata, Kyushu or visiting a pottery master’s studio.
Expect impeccably sourced restaurant dinners, hard-to-find sake, and authentic, under-the-radar cultural experiences that make Sake Tours the most non-touristic “tours” you’ll ever experience. Come find out why so many Sake Tours customers return to explore different parts of Japan with us!
Mon Feb. 4th through Fri. Feb 8th 2019
A sampling of the rich culinary and sake cultures of the Fukuoka region of Kyushu, this tour is ideal for adventurous food lovers. Our adventure starts with a tour of Morinokura Brewery, and a super-fresh fugu (blow fish) sashimi welcome dinner. Further eating adventures on Japan’s southernmost island include a ramen crawl through Hakata, world-famous as the home of pork-bone tonkotsu broth.
We’ll also grill our own oysters at a casual pop-up barbecue, and have a lunch of mysterious and tasty creatures from the depths of nutrient-dense Ariake Bay. We’ll view verdant terraced tea fields and sample the finest gyokuro green tea. Our final day includes a visit to a cooking studio, where we’ll steam vegetables over white smoke rising from geothermal vents. The trip ends with a soak in the open-air hot springs of Yufuin, Oita Prefecture, where we’ll enjoy a magnificent view of volcanic Mt. Yufu.
Sun Feb. 17th through Fri Feb.22nd 2019
This tour is for the true sake lover. Drawing on our friendships with four top snow country makers, we’ll introduce you to brewery owners and master brewers. Watch the brewing process from beginning to end, from the steaming of rice to the pressing of the final product. At Saiya Brewery, home of the excellent Yuki no Bosha, we’ll peak into the toji’s (master brewer) extensive yeast collection. Also on the tour: Asamai Brewery (Ama no To), Hinomaru Brewery (Mansaku no Hana), and Kariho Brewery (Kariho and Yamato Shizuku).
In addition to top-notch brewery action, we’ll make our own soba, take in a cooking lesson from a local mom and pop team, enjoy a private minyo folk song performance, and enjoy varied onsen (hot spring bath) experiences. We’ll spend our last night at the venerable Tsurunoyu – one the most exquisite Onsen in Japan.
Sun Feb. 24th through Fri Mar. 1st – 2019
Long considered the crown jewel of Japanese sake-producing regions, Niigata is home to more than 90 breweries. On this trip, we’ll visit four of them, including one on the remote island of Sado, the former place of exile for court nobles, and now home to a revived population of Japanese crested ibis.
Our tour opens with a refined Niigata dinner and geisha performance. We’ll walk snow-covered plains with rice growers, savor Niigata’s beloved rice, and enjoy a simple farm lunch. We’ll also visit Murakami, the historic mecca of salmon culture, and sample locally grown tea in a traditional machiya (merchant’s townhouse). On Sado island, you’ll even get to try your hand at Kodo drumming!
A tour with us is about experiences – you will get to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were traveling alone.
You will get to meet the Sake brewers, local farmers, food producers and artisans – encounters you normally wouldn’t have!
Our team are extremely knowledgable when it comes to Japanese food and sake. On a tour with us you will eat (and drink) very very well.
Please Note – We are not offering the below tours in 2018 or 2019.
John Gauntner, known as the “ Sake Guy ” in Japan, is the world’s leading non-Japanese sake expert. He has published five books and written hundreds of articles on sake. He teaches a series of intensive educational sake courses in Japan and the US. He is also the only non-Japanese to function as an advisor and consultant for the Japanese government on sake promotion and the worldwide sake market.