The Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center is just a 5-minute walk from Toranomon Station in Shimbashi, Tokyo. Run by Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS), this information center is located on the 1st floor of NS Toranomon Building, an office building owned by the same association. Offering free entrance, this information center allows you to understand the excellence of Japanese sake, shochu, and awamori by “Seeing”, “Touching”, and “Experiencing”. This information center is a great place for foreign tourists, and also for people wanting to learn more about sake to visit!
Enjoy a VR sake brewery tour!
In the past, this information center used to introduce the sake brewing process using two big TV screens and monitors, but now, it will start introducing the process using VR. The new VR allows visitors to experience a virtual simulation of sake brewing process, and new contents about shochu will be added to this new service from February 2020, allowing more people to experience a virtual sake brewery tour.
The video shows the production process of sweet potato shochu. Shochu is a distilled alcoholic beverage of Japan that is made of natural ingredients by a traditional way called pot distillation. The main ingredient of shochu varies depending on its place of origin, including rice, barley, sweet potato, brown sugar, buckwheat, potato, and corn. Today we introduce the production process of sweet potato shochu.
The first scene shows how a fermentation starter is made. A certain amount of rice is rinsed, steamed, and cooled until it reaches the designated temperature. After that, the rice is moved to koji-making room, where koji mold is added to the rice to make koji. A certain amount of water is added to the koji, and fermented to create a fermentation starter.
The second scene shows the steaming process of the sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes are washed to remove soil from the skin, screened, and cut to make sure they are steamed evenly. The cut sweet potatoes are steamed in a steaming vat, cooled down, and diced to 1 cm in size or smaller.
The fermentation starter, sweet potatoes, and water are mixed to make main fermentation. The saccharification (conversion of starch into fermentable sugar) and fermentation in main fermentation are promoted by the koji and yeast.
Last, the fermented mash is moved to a distiller and heated to evaporate the alcohol, and then it is moved to the cooling tank for liquefaction. This process creates genshu; undiluted shochu, that is rich in flavor and smells fragrant. The maturation process will suppress the pungent odor and will increase the aroma and mellowness of the flavor.
Honkaku shochu and awamori are enjoyed in various styles such as diluting it with hot water, serving it as a cocktail, or on the rocks; all depending on what dishes you are pairing them with. Try and find your favorite drinking styles!
The new VR facility allows you to experience a simulated sake brewery tour through its high quality audiovisual contents, as if you’re actually there working together with sake brewers. The VR allows you to enjoy a 360°view, giving you a full perspective of a sake brewery and the process of a sake production. Just like the admission, this VR sake brewery tour is also free and available throughout the year. Available in English, you don’t have to bring a guide-interpreter along with you to enjoy this experience!
Watch the audiovisual contents of the VR sake brewery tour on YouTube here!
You can learn everything at The Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center!
This information center provides access to information and knowledge related to any liquor. Just like its name; “Information Center”, the amount of information offered at this facility is just astounding. Decorated elegantly with simple and beautiful interiors, this information center is a sophisticated space for learning and tasting sake.
Reading materials covering local sake, brochures and leaflets of various local sake events are displayed everywhere. This facility not only provides access to information of history and culture of sake, but also information of the upcoming sake-related events.
Each table is equipped with a tablet, allowing visitors to access the information about this facility and the sake. The information is available in English, Chinese, and Korean, giving opportunities to foreign visitors to learn about sake and its production process in depth.
Enjoy sake tasting for a reasonable price!
This information center allows visitors to enjoy sake tasting inside its facility, offering various kinds of sake priced from 100 yen per cup. English menus are available for foreign visitors.
5 kinds of shochu – 500 yen
Sake and shochu tasting sets are also offered here, allowing visitors to find their favorite brands through tasting and comparing various kinds of sake and shochu. The sake and shochu tasting sets change seasonally, featuring various kinds of sake and shochu brands, including some rare ones. If you need help in finding your favorite sake and shochu, just ask the staff there, and they will support you with detailed explanations about sake and shochu. Here, you can try various kinds of sake and shochu as much as you want!
Selling more than 100 kinds of sake, honkaku shochu, and awamori!
Various types of sake and sake utensils are sold here, allowing you to try and buy your favorite sake right away. If you’re not familiar with sake and shochu, you don’t have to worry because the staff there will help you choose the best item to purchase as souvenirs or presents for your loved ones back home. There are around 100 brands of sake and shochu sold here, including some rare brands!
In addition to cash payment, various kinds of cashless payment methods are accepted here, including credit cards and e-payment systems like prepaid train cards.
There are many ways to enjoy this place. Buy some delicious sake, spend relaxing time reading and tasting sake in this sophisticated space, or learn about sake. For both those who love sake and those who haven’t found out its charm yet, it is an amazing place to see, touch, and experience sake. Give it a try, and you will be fascinated with Japanese sake.
Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center
Address: NS Toranomon Building 1F, 1-6-15 Nishi-Shimbashi, Minato, Tokyo
Business hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, National holiday, Year end and New Year’s holidays