Vintage Sake Tasting at Koshunoya

At Koshunoya, a bar/restaurant on the west coast of Awaji Island, you can experience the premium brand of aged sake, Inishie no Bishu, collected from breweries all over Japan. The first floor is a shop and the second floor is a bar/restaurant with a food menu. One can also try out a vintage Japan sake tasting experience “Vintage Sake Assemblage” and make your own personally curated blend to take home with.

Introduction to Japan sake

Japanese sake often simply referred to as “sake,” is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice. It holds a significant cultural and historical importance in Japan and is often enjoyed during various ceremonies, celebrations, and meals.

Sake is primarily made from four ingredients: rice, water, yeast, and koji mold. The rice is polished to remove the outer layers, leaving behind the starch-rich core. The koji mold is used to convert the starches into glucose, which ferments into alcohol with a help of yeast. The process under which both saccharification and fermentation occur at the same time in the same tank is unique to sake. This process involves multiple steps, including rice washing, steaming, fermentation, pressing, and sometimes aging.

Japan has several renowned sake-producing regions, each with its own unique techniques and characteristics. Some of the most famous regions include Nada (Kobe city, Hyogo Pref.), Fushimi (Kyoto Pref.), and Niigata Pref. and Hiroshima Pref.

There are various types of sake with different characteristics. The most common classification is based on how much the rice has been polished. The more the rice is polished, the higher the quality and the lighter the flavor. Sake can have a wide range of flavors and aromas, ranging from light and floral to rich and full-bodied.

Sake can be served at different temperatures, each highlighting different aspects of its flavor. It can be enjoyed cold (reishu), at room temperature (jouon), or gently warmed (kanzake). The optimal serving temperature can vary based on the type of sake.

The drink can be paired with a variety of dishes, like sushi, sashimi, tempura, grilled items and even western cuisine. Sake is well known and popular beyond Japan and has become the symbol of Japanese alcohol culture.

Koshunoya Shop and Bar

Koshunoya is part of the SEIKAIHA restaurant complex on Awaji Island West Coast. The shop opens the doors to a a world of carefully chosen vintage sake, shochu, and plum wine sourced from over 100 esteemed sake breweries across Japan.

The café and bar on the 2nd floor, let’s you enjoy meals made with local ingredients paired with the perfect vintage sake with the help of a sommelier. All the sakes available have aged more than 10 years, filled with exquisite aroma and flavor.

Sake Tasting and Comparison Experience

From all the 42 sake variations Koshunoya has, few usually get selected to the tasting by either sommelier’s recommendation or from the winner brands of sake competitions. All the sakes in the tasting will have an explanation card of how old it is, where it was brewed and what kind of taste it has. Each type has a different taste, making it a fun and enjoyable tasting experience even for beginners.

Tasting the sakes makes it easier to determine what type of flavors you specifically like and if you do find a favorite among them, you can purchase that at the shop to make a nice souvenir. But the main purpose of the initial tasting is to determine how to make your own special blend that is customized to your liking.

Making Your Own Blend

This is where the expertise of the sommelier comes in handy. With your favorite sake you make the base of your own blend by pouring a few milliliters into a measuring glass. Then you add some other sake you favored and mix it up to taste the blend. Depending on your liking and by guidance from the sommelier you will add more of the sakes into the blend, mixing, tasting, and adjusting until the measuring glass is 100ml full.

Then you pour it into your own glass bottle (provided at the store) and seal it up nicely to make it into a souvenir. This makes a good gift to someone else whom you wish to have a taste of vintage sake or just a souvenir to yourself from your time on Awaji Island! Thanks to the sommelier’s expertise and guidance, we guarantee you will not ruin the sake you’re blending, ensuring an educational and enjoyable experience.

If you wish to see more of the world of sake, check out our article on other sake stores on Awaji Island and a tasting in an actual sake brewery.

Click here for reservations

Name SEIKAIHA – Koshunoya
Address 70 Nojima-okawa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1723
Tel 0799-70-9020
Website https://awaji-seikaiha.com/kosyunoya/
Reservations https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/awaji-seikaiha/reserve
Operation Hours 11:30~21:00 (L.O. 20:00)
Closed: Thursdays

Click here for details of SEIKAIHA – Koshunoya