5 Tips to Best Enjoy CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019 in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

After sushi and matcha took the world by storm, sake decided to step up to the plate, and it is now experiencing a boom of popularity around the globe. CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019, held from April 19 - 29 in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, is one of the premier annual events in Japan that showcase this incredibly popular alcohol. In addition to providing endless glasses of sake, it is also a great event for trying some delicious cuisine and hanging out with friends! If you're in Tokyo during the event dates, this is definitely one event you should add to your itinerary. Here are tsunagu Japan's tips for making the best of your visit when you do.


Food & Drinks


The tsunagu editing team made a visit to the first day of CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019 to get the scoop on exactly what this event is all about! Keep reading to find out all about our impressions of this great event, as well as pick up some valuable tips for your visit.

Also, check out our preview article below to get all the specific details for the event, including the venue address, Sake Starter Set cost and other pricing details, daily sake themes, and more.

1. Download the Sakenomy App Before You Go for the Best Experience

Our first tip starts before you even step foot in the CRAFT SAKE WEEK event space. If you can spare the space on your phone, we definitely recmmend you take the time to download the Sakenomy App before heading off to the event. 

Sakenomy users have access to exclusive sake varieties that no one else can try. All you have to do is show your phone with the app installed at the reception desk, then head over to the Sakenomy Booth to get your hands on some delicous sake!

You'll also want to make the most of the app's special features while you're at the venue. The main feature of the Sakenomy app is its label scanner, which lets you scan any sake bottle to get detailed information about that sake, from its flavor profile to pairing ideas and even a link to purchase it. If you find a sake that you like during the event, it would be wise to scan the bottle and save it in your app so you can remember it later! Also, if you meet other sake lovers at the event, make sure to add each other in the app so you can stay in touch! 

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2. Try All the Sake You Can (Within Reason!)

It is truly a rare experience to be able to sample such a huge variety of local sake all in one place (and for such a reasonable price!), so it would be a waste not to sample as much as you can. Each day of the event features 10 sake breweries, and each brewery brings 3 - 5 different varieties of their sake, so there are dozens of different sake to try each day!

While it might not wise for one person to have 30+ individual glasses of sake, we do recommend sampling many different breweries instead of just sticking to one or two! It's even better if you go with a friend or two, so you can share sips of a variety of different types without having to drink too much. (Sake can have a surprisingly high alcohol content considering its smooth taste, so be careful to monitor your intake and not overdo it during the event.)

Every day of the event has a different theme, so be sure to check the schedule beforehand to see which day's theme best matches your personal tastes.

We visited on "Sparkling Sake Day," so we were able to taste a variety of sparkling sake, a rarity in the sake world. We also wanted to try regular sake, too, and luckily the 10 featured breweries of the day brought plenty of that in addition to their sparkling choices. 

Here are some of our favorite sake that we tried during the event: 

"Snow Aged Junmai Ginjo" by Hakkaisan Brewery

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"Sekirei" by Gangi Brewery

"SUZUNE Sparkling Sake" by ICHINOKURA

3. Head to the KITKAT PAIRING BAR to Enjoy the Latest in Sake Pairing Technology

Though pairing chocolate with alcohol like wine or rum is quite common, the concept of pairing it with Japanese sake is relatively new. Thus, Nestlé teamed up with CRAFT SAKE WEEK to pair 15 flavors of their Made in Japan series of KITKATs with the sake on offer at this event to showcase just how good of a marriage sake and chocolate can make!

Here's how it works: just walk up to the monitors set up in front of the KITKAT PAIRING BAR and choose English or Japanese. Then, simply answer 5 questions about your personality and food and drink preferences, and you will be presented with a KITKAT and sake pairing tailored just for you by a specially designed AI!

Once you have your result, take it to the bar and hand it to the staff member, and they will present you with a pre-opened KITKAT bar and a stylish goblet of sake. 

In additon to being flat-out fun, this pairing experience is also notable for how cheap it is! For just two coins, you get a KITKAT bar plus a generous cup of sake to enjoy! In comparison, many of the other sake available at the event cost anywhere from 4 - 6 coins per cup. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, the KITKAT PAIRING BAR is the place to go. 

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4. Save Some of Your Coins for the Food!

While sake is the main event at CRAFT SAKE WEEK, the food on offer is just as impressive as the drinks! A total of 15 restaurants from around Japan are partnered with the event, with 5 restaurants during days 1 - 5, another 5 restaurants during days 6 - 10, and then the last 5 restaurants on the final day of the event.

While all the restaurants are located in Japan, their cuisine spans the whole globe. During the first part of the event, guests can choose between South Korean, Thai, Singaporean, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes. The next week has a mostly European focus, with restaurants specializing in cuisine from Spain, France, Germany, and Japan. The final day is saved for world-renowned restaurants - the kind you would usually need to book months in advance and pay an arm and a leg for! Thus, this event is one of the best chances you can get to enjoy some top-class cuisine!

The foods range from 3 - 10 coins each, so you will definitely want to make sure you have some left over after getting some sake! Or, you can get the food first and then ask one of the many sake brewery representatives walking around which of their wares would pair best with what's on your plate!

5. Take a Moment to Appreciate the Art and Design

The theme of CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019 is "Nawa" (ropes), and you can see that reflected in the design of the event space, with impressive ropes draped beautifully over the tables and booths. If you visit at night, you will be able to appreciate the multi-colored lights they use to illuminate the space as well.

From the sake cups (called "o-choko") included in the Sake Starter Sets to the larger porcelian goblets used for the KITKAT sake pairing, you have probably noticed how stylish all the drinkware used for this event is. Well, if you have some extra cash, you can pick some of them up yourself at the Shuki-ya booth located directly next to the KITKAT SAKE PAIRING BAR. 

While you already recieve the o-choko from the Sake Tasting Set as a free gift for attending the event, why not add to your collection with even more of this stunning drinkware made with both traditional and New Age Japanese techniques? They make great souvenirs as well, and are the perfect vessel for drinking any beverage - not just sake.


That wraps up our guide for how to best enjoy the CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019 sake tasting event! We hope this article will be useful to you, and if you manage to go, be sure to tag #tsunaguJapan in your social media posts so we can see what a great time you're having! Happy drinking (and eating)!


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Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

About the author

An American living and working in Tokyo after spending a few years in the Japan countryside. I love video games, tennis, and cooking.
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