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Traditional Sake Cups And Vessels To Use When Drinking Sake

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Japanese sake is enjoyed using traditional sake vessels such as ochoko and sakazuki. This article introduces common sake cups and containers used when drinking this classic rice wine.

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Sake Drinking Sets - Cups and Vessels

Japanese sake is a drink loved by many people worldwide. Visitors to Japan often take a bottle of sake as a souvenir for their friends and family. Sake goes well with almost any dish and everyone enjoys it at home or when dining out.

Traditional Sake Cups And Vessels To Use When Drinking Sake

The Japanese have developed a wide range of vessels for drinking and decanting sake, fashioned from a variety of materials that include clay, porcelain, wood, and glass. Let's see some of the best ways to enjoy sake using traditional Japanese containers and cups.

About Japanese Sake Cups and Containers

The flavor of the sake alters once its temperature changes. That is why sake is best served in a small cup so that it can be emptied it before its temperature changes. Below we introduce some of the special sake vessels that make sake drinking more fun.

Ochoko (Small Sake Cups) and Tokkuri (Sake Flask)

Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

Ochoko is a small sake cup. It typically has a shape that allows the fragrance of the sake to gently waft upward. Tokkuri is a small flask containing the sake that is going to be poured in ochoko. Sake sets containing a tokkuri and several ochoko are a popular souvenir from Japan.

The ochoko come in various materials and shapes, and it is believed that the taste of the sake changes depending on the size of the cup. For example, if one uses an ochoko with a wide mouth, the fragrance of the sake will be enhanced. When one wants to properly taste the full flavor of the sake, it is best to use an ochoko made with thin materials. Small sake cups with various colors and shapes make a great souvenir.

Masu - A Sake Container

Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

The masu is a wooden square box which was originally designed as a measuring tool for rice and sake. It is a square cedar box holding 180 ml of sake at a time. Many restaurants serve sake using masu containers, thus making the old Japanese tradition more cherishable. “Mokkiri-zake”, a practice in which a glass is placed in the masu and filled until it overflows and fills the masu, is nowadays a major attraction at the Japanese izakaya and restaurants. Generally used on ceremonial occasions today, masu is quite popular and makes the sake even more tasty and enjoyable.


Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

Serving sake in a glass is one of the modern and sophisticated methods of drinking sake. At many office parties or business meetings, sake is served in glasses. The glass enhances the flavor of the sake and is especially recommended for cold sake. The thin rim of the glass gives the drink a smoother texture. Glasses are especially good for high-quality, delicate sake, as they allow for the subtle flavors of the drink to be enjoyed. The glass best catches the aroma of fruity, light-bodied sake.

Sakazuki - Flat Sake Cups

Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

Sakazuki is a wide-mouthed, flat sake cup. Drinking sake from a sakazuki is an ancient way of enjoying the drink and has been used in Shinto rituals and ceremonies. This cup is most formally lifted to the mouth with two hands: one holds the bottom of the cup and the other hand holds it on one side. Available in a number of sizes from the smallest one to a large showpiece, a sakazuki most typically holds only a few sips. The sakazuki cups are often beautifully decorated and usually made of porcelain, clay or lacquered wood.

Wooden Shuki (Sake Vessels)

Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

Shuki is the general name for sake vessels. Some of the shuki are made of pure wood and have a drum-like shape. The aroma of the wood harmonizes with the sake, making it mild and easy to drink. The sake will change its taste and become milder when poured in the wooden shuki.

Say Cheers with Japanese Sake!

Have You Ever Tried Sake in these Special Sake Vessels!

A beverage that is unique to Japan, sake is a type of liquor made from fermented rice known as "nihon shu" in Japanese. The main ingredients of sake are rice and water. For certain types of sake, the short-grain rice is first polished to remove some of its outer layers. The rice undergoes then a fermentation process, being left to age for about six months. The combination of various rice types and the fermenting agent results in various flavors of sake. The more polished the rice, the higher the quality of the sake.

One can enjoy both hot and cold sake in the all the sake vessels introduced above. Moreover, they match with any type of rice wine! You can gather your own collection of sake vessels when visiting Japan. You can choose them based on either aesthetic features like their shape, color and artistry, or depending on the sake type you plan to drink using them.

Sake sets can be purchased at sake specialty stores or at stores selling tableware. We hope you find sake drinking even more enjoyable using the traditional Japanese sake vessels!

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Just a Nomad Exploring Japan - The Nihonjin Way!

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