Aoki Sake Brewery Tour


*Click here for the update on English-Japanese bilingual content!*


Recently had the opportunity to attend an exclusive brewery tour at Aoki Sake Brewery (, a small Brewery in Ibaraki Prefecture about an hour away from Tokyo. Ms. Chisa Aoki, the 9th generation family member continuing the brewery business gave us a tour of the premises and brewery process. (FYI, the Japan Sake and Sochu Makers Association have a great step-by-step explanation of the basic sake brewing process.) It was fascinating to see the actual process from start with milling and steaming the rice to finish with bottling!

<Check out photos and captions below!>

*~* Did you know? *~*

The word ‘sake’ (or ‘o-sake’ with an honorific) in Japanese actually refers to all alcoholic drinks. Japanese-style sake is specifically called “Nihon shu” (literally, Japanese liquor). If you simply order “sake” at a restaurant in Japan, some traditional places may provide you their whole alcohol list rather than the Japanese-style sake you had in mind! ^^
At the entrance of Aoki Sake Brewery in Ibaraki Prefecture. 

Aoki Brewery recently won an IWC award and scored 90points by Robert Parker!



Milled rice in the steamer
Rice on the drying rack used for Junmai Daininjyo (highest grade) Japanese sake
Ms. Chisa Aoki, the 9th generation family member continuing the brewery business, gave us a tour of the brewery process.


You can see the fermenting sake bubbling in the vats!
In front of the storage containers used for storing sake before bottling 

*DID YOU KNOW? ご存知でしょうか?*

After sake bottles are washed with water, they are rinsed out using high grade sake before the final bottling!


The tour ended with sake tasting, where we tasted fresh sake as well as bottles that won competitions last year~ Although a small brewery, Aoki Sake won in the Junmai Ginjo category at the International Wine Competition and was scored 90 points by Robert Parker! The brewery was very generous and essentially let us help ourselves to the bottles offered for tastings 😉


To finish off the tour, you get a tasting of the sake made by the brewery! I liked “Shibori-state” (second from left) the best.

There are over 1500 sake breweries in Japan. Many now offer brewery tours available to the general public, but most are still closed off and available only if you have a personal connection. (In our case, we were accompanied by an excellent Japanese sake sommelier who has personally visited almost all 1500 breweries in Japan!) Really hope to have the opportunity to visit more sake breweries in the future!

半日の酒蔵ツアーが楽しかったです!そして、青木酒造のお酒は美味しかった~ 見学できる蔵をたずねて、伝統の酒造り文化を体感してできてよかったです!現在、国内には日本酒を造る酒蔵が1,500以上あるといわれています。色んな酒蔵見学ツアーにもたくさん行きたいと思います~

Related Article:


About Rachel

Rachel Leng is COO and Co-Founder of SeiRogai, Inc., a Tokyo-based business consultancy & media production company. Previously, she was Leader of Business Development on the Investment Management team at a Japanese private equity fund, as well as Policy Analyst at a top think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

As an East Asia specialist and former Miss Singapore titleholder, Rachel is passionate about the potential of media to educate and raise awareness about history, culture, art, business, and societal issues to enhance mutual understanding.

Recent Posts

Affiliate Partners

Subscribe to my newsletter and stay updated!