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!
Mie / Wakayama Sake Tour
Tour three top breweries, Zaku, Gensaka, and Kuroushi, and feast on an array of local specialties. We’ll sample Matsusaka beef barbecue, creamy Matoya oysters, and a tuna dinner in Katsuura, where more tuna is landed than anywhere else in Japan.
Since Wakayama is also at the vanguard of tuna aquaculture, we’ll sample bluefin tuna sashimi right where it is farmed. Have you heard of binchotan, the charcoal prized by chefs around the world? We’ll meet a binchotan maker, see his kiln, and try his barbecue. We’ll also visit Shinto shrines in Ise, Kumano and Nachi, marvel at the dynamic rocky coastlines and serene mountain woods, and unwind during four nights at an onsen.
Niigata Sake Tour
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 an authentic homestyle 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). We’ll enjoy a snow and sake BBQ and 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.
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.