Nov 02, 2018 Attraction Higashi-Hiroshima

Sake Festival in Saijo City, A Must-Visit for Japanese Sake Lovers! [2018]

#Event ,#Event2018 ,#Local Festival ,#Sake

The Sake Matsuri (Japanese Sake Festival) takes place every October at Saijo, Higashi-Hiroshima which is regarded as one of the top 3 sake spots in Japan together with Nada in Hyogo Prefecture and Fushimi in Kyoto Prefecture.
Besides sake from Saijo, this festival also features as many as 1,000 types of sake produced nationwide.
As many as more than 200,000 people flock here to participate in this lively festival where they can sample local wines at the Sake Hiroba (Japanese wine Square) and take part in various events and concerts held by the breweries in Saijo Sakagura street.

The Sake Matsuri 2018

Sake Matsuri 2018 was held on 6th and 7th October. However, due to the typhoon which hit the venue on the 6th, the outdoor events i.e. the opening ceremony, Hime Mikoshi (princess portable shrine) and Sake Midarebayashi Procession were cancelled.
Fortunately, the weather improved on the following day so the outdoor events could proceed as planned.
This year, due to the release of the movie “Koi no Shizuku” which is set in a brewery in Saijo, the film’s official merchandise was sold during the festival.
Coupled with a talk show featuring Japanese musician, Koji Kikkawa and a live concert by singer Ai Otsuka, these made the atmosphere at the festival even more lively.

Sake Matsuri
Venue Around JR Saijo Station
Saijo, Saijo-cho, Higashihiroshima-shi 739-0001(map)
Closest Station JR Sanyo Main Line – Saijo Station
Date & Time 6 October 2018 (10:00am – 8:00pm) and 7 October 2018 (10:00am – 5:00pm)
Website Official Website
Ticket Sake Hiroba Admission Fee: ¥2,100

Sake Hiroba (Sake Square)

Sake Hiroba is probably the most popular spot at the festival, thanks to the wide array of local sake from breweries nationwide which can be tasted for free.
For those who are new to this festival, here are some details on how to get here and the recommended order of sampling the sake.

Tickets for Sample Sake From Breweries Nationwide

You will need to buy a ticket at the entrance of the venue. For presale tickets, they can be purchased at places such as convenience stores.

The ticket is ¥2,100 each. Do take note that once you leave the venue, re-entry is not allowed.
Once you enter the venue with your ticket, you will be given 7 pieces of tickets which can be used to exchange for the sake samples.

A sake cup called ochoko, a bottle of water meant for you to drink between sips of sake and prevent you from getting drunk as well as a catalogue of the sake on offer will be given to you as well.

*Do drink the water between each sampling which will help to reduce the alcohol content in your body and prevent you from getting drunk or suffering the side-effects of a hangover.

This is the ochoko and tickets for the sampling so you will be able to try 7 types of local sakes with these. It is fine for you to bring back the ochoko as a memento of the Sake Matsuri.
Inside the Sake Hiroba, the booths are organized according to location. As such, you may wish to check out the catalogue first before heading to the booths you are interested in.

Get Nibbles or Eat the Bishunabe

As explained above, one ticket entitles you to one drink sample but you can also use it to get nibbles for your drinks or buy other types of food.
There is a wide selection of such snacks from various locations and you can even try Bishunabe, a luxurious hotpot made with high-grade sake which made from Saijo area.
It might be a great idea for you to try matching your snacks with the sake from the same place!
However, do take note that you will need 3 to 7 tickets in order to get one snack.
As such, if you are running out of tickets, you can buy extras for ¥100 per piece so do plan accordingly when using them.

Brewery Events

If you are in Saijo, you should not miss out on visiting the local breweries such as Kamotsuru, Kirei and Hakubotan.

Free Sake Samples at the Breweries

There are sampling corners at the local breweries where you can taste the sake for free such as at Kamotsuru which offers top-quality sake.

At the venue for Hakubotan, you will be able to drink unrefined sake for free. Only at the Sake Matsuri can you try all sorts of sake from Saijo’s breweries.

Merchandise of Sake Matsuri

At Sakaguradori, there is a place where official merchandise of the Sake Matsuri can be bought.
These include items featuring Nonta, the mascot character of Higashi-Hiroshima City, original goods from the breweries and snacks made from Japanese sake.


The boulevard stretching from Saijo Station to the festival venue takes up a lane of the road which is lined with stalls on both sides selling food and sake.
Although the boulevard can be crowded, it is relatively easy to walk and you will find yourself feeling full in no time as you drink and eat while strolling.

Let’s Go to the Sake Festival!

As Saijo is a famous sake spot, the Sake Matsuri has a very lively atmosphere thanks to the gathering of many sake lovers from all over the country.
There are also staff members at the information counter so you can rest assured that help is available when you need it.

For tourists who wish to try Japanese sake from all over Japan, this is a festival which you should not miss.


Fare: ¥580      Time: 40 mins

Hiroshima Station

Saijo Station
JR Sanyo Main Line
(40 mins)

Event Venue
A short walk away