Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Kikizake: A very large tasting event was held featuring premium sake breweries and shochu distilleries over the weekend which Peko was lucky enough to attend.

Just over the East Mountains from Kyoto is Otsu City. Otsu is the capital of modern day Shiga Prefecture and was the capital of Japan 500 years BEFORE Kyoto became the capital! Otsu, situated on the southern end of Lake Biwa is an historic city with many delicacies and the area makes an excellent day trip from Kyoto. This kikizake event was held at the Otsu Prince Hotel.

With 108 breweries and distilleries attending, there is plenty to drink. Complimentary boxes of bread (served like popcorn in a movie theater) and bottled water tables helps the visitors drink-a-plenty!

I went with an old friend, a prof from undergraduate school, that arrived in Japan just the day before. I was invited by Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery (article series). I told my guest that sake is made from just rice, water and koji. As we tasted the offerings of sake, he was incredulous at the variety of flavors and fragrances could be produced with just the three ingredients.

Quite a Crowd!
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event
There were several thousand visitors tasting all kinds of excellent sake and shochu.

Matsunotsukasa Brewery – Tasting Fine Sake
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event
Upon recommendation of Mr. Kitagawa of Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery, we tried most of the offerings of Matsunotsukasa Brewery. I hadn’t seen their sake in Kyoto before, but I will be looking for it in the near future!

Matsunotsukasa Brewery’s Line-up
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event
Beautiful labels, beautiful flavors!

Matsunotsukasa Brewery
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Matsunotsukasa Brewery
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Matsunotsukasa Brewery
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event

Kikuhime Sake Brewery
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event
Another recommendation of Mr Kitagawa was Kikuhime Brewery. More excellent, excellent sake!

Shoshu from Kyushu
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event
By the time we got down to the high-powered shochu section, we weren’t in a condition to drink a whole lot more but we sample plenty of shoshu never-the-less, just a few drops at a time!
Kikizake Event Brochure
Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event Flier

In the end, we managed not to get to drunk but were able to sample a whole lot of wonderful sake and found some very interesting shochu as well!

10 Responses to “Kikizake: Sake and Shochu Tasting Event”

  1. cakewardrobe says:

    I feel buzzed looking at all the photos already! lol!

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hi cakewardrobe,
    You feel buzzed? Wow! Those photos communicate the experience I guess!

  3. diva says:

    i’d love to have been at such an event! it must’ve been amazing getting to try all the different sake.

  4. Peko Peko says:

    Hi diva,
    Yes, I think that you would enjoy! When you come to Japan next time you have to do some kikizake!

  5. That sounds like my kind of event. I’m slowly making my way through the selection of shochu at my local Japanese grocery, but at $30+ a bottle, it may be a while before I make it through all of them.

  6. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Marc,
    So they have a good selection of shuchu in your local Japanese grocery, that is great! Hopefully at $30+ a bottle that is good stuff. In Japan for like $15 a pretty fine bottle of shuchu can be had.

  7. […] finally, we are back to business as usual. As I was reading Kyoto Foodie’s post on the kikizake event in Otsu, Shiga, although the event was not just for sake breweries from […]

  8. diva says:

    hey when are these events usually held? we’d love to participate in one of them and experience the excitement of sake tasting. hans and i are planning to be in japan round august to sept so we’re hoping to cash in on one of these guys.

  9. Christie says:

    Where can I found the traditional / old Shochu bottles?

  10. Paul Steier says:

    1000 yen entry fee is very reasonable. Sad to say only three hours for normal folks.

    As to old shochu bottles, ask at antique dealers that have old sake bottles. The shochu bottles will look more-or-less the same, only the label will differ. Since the bottles mostly were reusable or recyclable, the glass ones are rare, but you should be able to find ceramic ones.

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