I got a lot of gifts for a farewell and birthday party
Saki: Most of them are alcoholic drinks… They sure understand I’m a big drinker.
It made me happy… but actually I drink sake less than they imagine
By the way, I have to arrange flowers they gave me…
Saki used the empty glass of cup sake as a vessel
Cup sake is one of the forms of packaging sake with a small glass. It is convenient because you can drink it directly from the container unlike the common sake bottle that requires drinkers to pour it into other glasses or bowls.
Many Japanese had impression that cup sake is kind of rotgut for louts: however, recently it has changed. Since many sake breweries have eyes on its design and reasonable price, they have started selling their high-quality products like junmai-shu (sake made only from rice and rice koji without distilled alcohol) or ginjo-shu (sake made from highly polished rice) packaging as cup sake.
The pioneer of cup sake is Aji no Machida-ya, a liquor store in Araiyakushi, Tokyo. Chief Manager Sachio Inmaru offers sake breweries to produce cup sake.
Machida-ya has more than 80 kinds of cup sake in its refrigerators. Some of them are seasonal products. More than half of these products are created because Machida-ya directly offered breweries.
“You would feel disappointed if the sake in a big bottle was not your taste,” Inmaru said. “You can try cup sake easier than general sake bottles. Cup sake is fascinating because its small size is convenient to keep in the refrigerator and you can reuse the empty glass.”
There are various products of finical design.
Though the design is very cute, the left contains authentic junmai ginjo sake. The right is sake-based plum wine.
These cup sake collaborate with gotouchi yuru-chara (local characters that each prefecture has).
Left: “Matsu no kotobuki yamahai junmai / hoshi to takibi Outdoor cup” by Matsui Breweries, Tochigi
Center: “Junmai apples & dogs” by Miura Brewery, Aomori
Right: “Matsu no kotobuki junmai ginjo / hoshi to takibi Outdoor cup” by Matsui Breweries, Tochigi
These cup sake are produced by Inmaru.
Inmaru has made the series of “hoshi to takibi” because he loves camping. If you drink them with a bonfire, you can see stars and windows of illustrations glitter. “Junmai apples & dogs” has aroma like apple.
“These cups have measure scale. After drinking sake, you can use this as a measuring cup,” Inmaru said.
You can reuse an empty cup as a penholder, a glass to drink or a vase as Saki uses in the manga above. This cup sake has a proactive design considering consumers’ mind.
Although Japanese people tend to regard cup sake is suitable for old men, its capacity is small and easy to design cutely, which fits women’s preference.
You can freely try cup sake of the brands you’ve never drunk because they are reasonable—you can buy each sake for 2 to 4 dollars.
“I’d be happy if you buy them just because you like their design, not sake,” Inmaru said.
You might be able to find your favorite flavor of sake from what you’ve selected from their appearance.
Address: 1-49-12 Kamitakada, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81 3-3389-4551
Regular Holiday: Tuesday