The 5 Best Kyoto Sake Tasting Tours [2024 Reviews]

Tokyo is absolutely mindblowing, but if you’re looking to see a more “traditional” side of Japan, look no further than Kyoto.

As the former capital, it’s filled to the brim with incredible architecture, history, and traditions. It’s also one of the sake capitals of Japan, with nearly 3 centuries using very special strains of red rice and green tea for unique sake production not found anywhere else in the world.

While you could always try it at a local restaurant, why not go all in and try one of the top Kyoto sake tasting tours out there today? Let’s dive right in!

Best Sake Tasting Tours in Kyoto

Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour3 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience
editors choice
Location:Yoshijima Yaguracho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8224247 Minamihamachō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8660271-1 Kurumamachi, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8365
Start:1:30 PM10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM1:30 PM
Duration:1.5 hours3 hours1.5 hours
Includes:Sake tasting (18 types), photos, admission fee of Sake Museum, under 20 years old get snacks/food insteadEnglish-speaking local guide, 10 sake tastings, snacks for sake pairing, cheat sheet + tasting notesLocal English-speaking guide, 7 sake tastings, snacks

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Kyoto Sake Tasting Tours For 2024

  1. Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour
  2. 3 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience
  3. 1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience
  4. Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour with Lunch
  5. 3-Hour Private Japanese Sake Breweries Tour in Fushimi Kyoto

Kyoto Sake Tasting Tour Reviews

1. Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Yoshijima Yaguracho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8224
  • Departure Time: 1:30 PM
  • Includes: Sake tasting (18 types), photos, admission fee of Sake Museum, those under 20 years old will instead get snacks/food

I first discovered sake-tasting tours because I had an afternoon free and wanted to go on a more unique experience. That’s when I came across the Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour, which perfectly combines history, cool little coffee bars, and plenty of sake.

This is my top tour selection as it’s one of the best for the price, with seamless organization and tons of easy-to-consume information from the very get-go.

We met up with our guide in central Kyoto and the meeting place was luckily very easy to walk to from our hotel. Upon arrival, we saw that we already had a little group of fellow tourists from around the world going on, which made it even more fun.

Our guide was very sweet and friendly, and spoke perfect English, making it easy to understand everything he had to say.

The Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum is where we started off, where we learned so much about the history of the alcoholic beverage, and why it’s perfect to make in Kyoto.

We then learned about the different techniques surrounding the production before trying a huge range of different sake styles!

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This tour offers the most tastings of any I’ve come across, though in a lesser quantity (to make sure you’re fine by the end of the tour!).

After that, we headed to a cool little local bar, where we were able to sample a few other sake varieties while learning more about these specific styles’ history and brewing processes.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the fact that our guide took professional photos throughout the tour, which we were able to have sent to us afterward for a fantastic memento.

Overall, this was a great tour all the way through, with plenty of handy facts that will help me select the perfect sake, no matter where I am.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. 3 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure: 247 Minamihamachō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8660
  • Departure Time: 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM
  • Includes: English-speaking local guide, 10 sake tastings, snacks for sake pairing, cheat sheet + tasting notes

This next tour is yet another one of those “biggest bang for your buck” options, highlighting the history and culture of sake-brewing, locally.

The 3 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience is ideal if you’re looking to gain a better understanding of where sake originated, the culture surrounding it, and the different types. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or it’s your first time trying the beverage, I know you’re going to love it as much as I do!

We met our guide right outside the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, which is a relatively small yet very charming place that is worth visiting on its own.

It’s very easy to get to from Fushimi Inari’s station, located in a tranquil neighborhood that offers insight into how locals live. We took a little stroll to the biggest sake brewery in Fushimi, where we gained in-depth knowledge of sake from professionals who know the beverage inside and out.

Starting off in the museum offered us some basic knowledge about the drink’s background before heading to the tasting, which was a more immersive experience and allowed us to learn quite a bit about the traditional brewing processes that have been in practice for centuries.

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The production area is very interesting, and they did a great job of explaining what each piece was used for. We then got to see the older tools in the museum section of the building, which made a lot more sense after the tour.

After all the touring of the production area, we got to try tons of different samples of sake, from dry and more bitter to smooth and sweet. They even set up a thoughtful food pairing for us, where we tried traditional Japanese snacks to complement each sake type.

Overall, this was a super educational, fun experience and I learned much more than I ever thought possible in just a few hours!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


3. 1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: 271-1 Kurumamachi, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8365
  • Departure Time: 1:30 PM
  • Includes: Local English-speaking guide, 7 sake tastings, snacks

If you have a packed schedule and don’t have much free time, this next tour is the best option for you! The 1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience may be relatively brief, but packed full of info with the opportunity to sample plenty of sake first-hand.

This was a great way for me to learn quite a bit about sake, making it one of the best “beginner” classes out there.

We met in Fushimi where we saw our guide and got to know the rest of our small group, which was fun to get to know others from around the world. I found it pretty easy to access, which was important for me as I was on a pretty big time crunch.

Not to mention, they have both an afternoon or evening tour departure option, making it even easier to add into a busy itinerary.

Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable, answering any questions we threw at them and explaining things in a way that anyone could understand.

The Fushimi District is known worldwide for its top-notch sake production, and when you take into consideration its over 30 breweries, it makes sense.

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While I’d love to check out each one, we learned a surprising amount in our sake-tasting workshop!

We all sat down and listened to our expert guide as we sampled 7 different sake varieties and learned which types were ideal for certain occasions and flavors.

This was only enhanced by the traditional Japanese food items paired nicely to each sample, with included cheat sheets there to help us. I actually still use the sheet while in Japan and outside the country while ordering sake!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


4. Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour with Lunch

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: n/a
  • Departure: 4-chōme-291 Ryōgaemachi, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8082
  • Departure Time: 11:00 AM
  • Includes: Several sake tastings, local lunch, English-speaking guide.

Tucked right into the breathtaking landscapes of Kyoto sits one of the biggest epicenters of sake brewing, categorized with attention to detail and traditions that have been passed on well over a few centuries.

If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s famous rice wine, the Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour with Lunch is the perfect opportunity to check out this revered practice.

Led by knowledgeable guides, the immersive experience kickstart with a visit to various traditional sake breweries in some of Kyoto’s most historic neighborhoods.

We started off by exploring the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, where we were able to casually stroll around while learning the basics about the historic tradition and methods of brewing rice wine.

The charming area is one of my favorites in Kyoto, lined with little shops selling fantastic artisanal creations. After the museum, we then visited a couple of different breweries – one small and one large – to gain some perspective on how the scale and individual sake production differs.

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They operate in surprisingly different ways, with many different similarities in terms of production methods. Throughout both visits, we were able to sample plenty of different types of sake while learning about each one from our interesting guide.

My favorite part was sitting down for a delicious local lunch with Yakitori perfectly paired with sake while chatting with our guide and the others in our small group about what we’d seen and tried so far.

As if that weren’t enough, we also had time to walk around outside and see important temples, parks, and other Japanese landmarks! If you’re looking for one of the best beginner sake tastings and tours, look no further than this one!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


5. 3-Hour Private Japanese Sake Breweries Tour in Fushimi Kyoto

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure: Yoshijima Yaguracho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8224
  • Departure Time: 1:00 PM
  • Includes: Snacks, alcoholic beverages, admission fee to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

Last but certainly not least, I bring you another 3-hour sake tasting experience that will teach you all about a wide variety of sake from current day to hundreds of years back.

If that sounds like fun to you, I highly suggest checking out the 3-Hour Private Japanese Sake Breweries Tour in Fushimi Tokyo. I absolutely love this tour for how well it goes into sake production while combining history and culture by exploring the unique Fushimi district.

Starting off at 1:00 pm, I will admit that it wasn’t the most convenient start time, but it’s still quite a fun way to explore and learn before dinnertime!

We started by meeting our guide and the rest of our small group outside the exit of the Keihan Railway North station, which was easy to access.

We then headed straight into the intriguing Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, which has a gorgeous original wooden brewery construction made over 200 years ago!

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Heading inside the museum, we got to learn about sake before heading out in the courtyard where we could sample Fushimizu straight from a well, which is the water used in brewing the rice wine.

It’s very soft, smooth, and tasty, and I was surprised at just how much I loved it (which observing traditional brewing tools, that were pretty cool!). We then boarded a “pleasure boat” which was used hundreds of years ago for logistics purposes between Fushimi and Osaka.

Next up is the impressive Fushimi Sake Village that’s been open for less than 10 years, but is essentially a playground for sake and Japanese food lovers!

With 17 breweries around here, you’ll get to sample plenty of 100% authentic Fushimi local sake that’s incredibly pure and unchanged. I didn’t know that the Kappa Gallery was responsible for the characters, but was also the first company to produce local beer!

Follow it up with some tasty treats at the Fushimi Yume Hyakushu Cafe, as well as the trendy, bustling shopping district of Fushimi!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

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The Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour is our Editors Choice for the best Sake tasting tour

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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