Sake Sampling at Sake Plaza
We attempted to use the map in Shinbashi Station to locate the Sake Plaza. Turns out we did a good job of finding it on the map, but once outside the station we took a wrong turn. An hour, two shopkeepers, and one policeman later, we found it! The back wall is lined with sake bottles from every distillery in the country. We were given an English pamphlet on sake production and allowed to choose five different kinds of sake from different regions to sample. You can get five sakes for 700 yen ($7 US), or three for 400 ($4 US). We got a wide variety, from super-sweet to extra dry, all different colours, and even one pink one that had bubbles in it like champagne! Most westerners don’t realize that there are as many varieties of sake as there are of wine, and each one has its own history, some stretching back over 400 years. After five cups of sake each, however, on an empty stomach, we were both a little buzzed. A snack before the Sake Museum is a good idea! In addition to the tasting room, the museum includes a small exhibit on sake production and a few artefacts from ancient sake distilleries. The major reason to go, however, is the sake sampling. If you’re not planning to do that, it’s not worth your time.