Savor Japan's Best Sake at CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019

With a history spanning over 1,000 years, sake (rice wine) is one of Japan's most cherished local products. Sake can taste very different depending on where it was produced, but it can be difficult to try a lot of local sake in a single trip to Japan. However, if you are in Tokyo this April, you have the opportunity to visit CRAFT SAKE WEEK, an 11-day sake festival where dozens of sake breweries as well as high-class restaurants from around the country gather in one spot. Don't miss out on this opportunity to get your fill of some of the best sake Japan has to offer!


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CRAFT SAKE WEEK is an annual event where local sake breweries from all over Japan gather to showcase their products to the ever-growing crowd of sake fans in Japan and from abroad. The brainchild of former pro soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata, the event started rather humbly in Tokyo in 2016, and has now amassed nearly half a milion visitors in total to events in Tokyo, Sendai, and Fukuoka, with 120,000 people visiting the 2018 event in Tokyo. In October 2018, CRAFT SAKE WEEK received the highest honor in the Arts & Entertainment category at the Golden World Awards, the most prestigious PR award in the world.

Hidetoshi Nakata envisions this event as a forum to showcase not just sake, but all of Japanese culture, so all of the sake glasses and other design elements of the space have been chosen with Japanese aesthetics in mind. In addition to sake, the event always showcases cuisine from famed restaurants around Japan, so you can fully enjoy yourself even if you don't drink. 

You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!

What to Expect from CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019

10 Sake Breweries a Day for 11 Days = 110 Sake Breweries!

Each day of CRAFT SAKE WEEK will have its own theme, with 10 sake breweries chosen per day that best represent the theme. Since the event is 11 days long, that means that an astounding 110 sake breweries from across Japan will be participating in this event, bringing case upon case of their best sake for visitors to try. 

Most of the daily themes are based around specific regions, so you should try to visit on multiple days to get a sense of just how much the taste of sake can vary between the different areas in Japan. Or, if you are particularly enamored with a particular region's sake, you can make sure to plan ahead to visit on the day of that region's theme. 

In addition to regional themes, there are also themes such as "Sparkling Sake Day," which will allow you to taste sake varieties from all across the country in one visit. 

CRAFT SAKE WEEK 2019 Themes:

4/19 - Sparkling Sake Day
4/20 - Tohoku Day
4/21 - Hoku-shinetsu Day
4/22 - Kanto Day
4/23 - Tokai Day
4/24 - Kansai Day
4/25 - Chugoku & Shikoku Day
4/26 - Kyushu Day
4/27 - Sake Competition 2018 Day
4/28 - Sakenomy Day
4/29 - Team Juyondai Day

You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!

Top-Notch Cuisine from 15 of Japan's Best Restaurants

A night (or day) of drinking sake isn't complete without some delicious food to pair with it! Luckily, CRAFT SAKE WEEK has gathered 15 of Japan's top restaurants to serve food during the the course of the event, including many exclusive restauants are usually quite difficult to get into.

The restaurants will all be serving tasty delicacies that match perfectly with sake. The food can also be enjoyed without having to purchase a Craft Sake Starter Set, so even foodies who aren't that into sake should consider giving this event a visit just for the cuisine!

A full list of participating restaurants can be found on the official website for the event, linked below. 

Event Info

Bonus: Don't Know Much About Sake? Download the 'Sakenomy' App Before You Go!

Whether you're a sake newbie or an experienced connoisseur, you will want to download the Sakenomy app for your smartphone. In addition to providing up-to-date information on CRAFT SAKE WEEK as the official app for the event, it can also be used to deliver information on thousands of sake brands and varieties right to your phone screen. All you have to do is scan the label of the sake bottle and you will get all the info you need. You don't even have to read Japanese, as the app also supports English, Italian, Korean, and simplified and traditional Chinese. You can even follow your friends or find other users whose taste in sake matches your own in order to get some new sake recommendations! 

Kanto Feature

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

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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.
  • Tons of tips from tsunaguJapan writers for a memorable Japan trip!

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