17 Tips on how to enjoy the Sake Festival

In the lead-up to Sake Festival in both cities Melbourne and Sydney this year, our biggest festival yet, we thought we would share a few tips on how to best enjoy the festival and all it has to offer.

Let’s face it, most of you will be coming for the sake ~ and why wouldn’t you? After all, there will be over 200 different sake available for tasting! That said, Sake Festival is about a whole lot more than sake tasting and we encourage you to immerse yourself in the culture of Japan, right here in Sydney, and take advantage of all the festival has to offer – including a stellar line-up of artists, entertainers and educators, along with some fabulous food & product stalls. There really is something for everyone – even the designated driver!

However, if you are planning on a day of sake tasting, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of your experience.

1. Consider arriving by Uber, taxi or public transport.

The venue is easily accessible from a number of train stations and bus stops. Please review the VISITOR INFO page of each venue.


2. Eat before you arrive.

There will of course be food stalls selling a variety of delicious meals and snacks at the festival, but we know how keen some of you will be to get straight into the tasting once you arrive. Eating something beforehand will certainly help you enjoy your tasting experience.

3. Wear comfortable shoes.

No further explanation needed – you can thank us later!

4. Bring your own bag.

If you are planning on purchasing bottles to take home, please remember to bring your own carry bag. If you forget it, you can purchase at the merchandise booth, however, there are limited!

5. Arrive early.

If tasting is your main goal, be sure to arrive early to give yourself ample time to taste a variety of sake at different stalls. Generally, we have noticed the queues tend to be shorter at these events earlier in the day.

6. Leave any misconceptions at the door and be open to new experiences.

We understand some of you are fairly new to the brew and we also know there are sadly still many misconceptions out there about sake. Sake Festival is your chance to forget those misconceptions and discover a whole new world of sake!

7. Try new things.

It’s ok to start with styles you may already know a little about and enjoy – but this is an opportunity to explore the vast world of sake a little deeper and try things you perhaps have never had the chance to try before.

8. Not sure where to start?

Get a map of all the sake, food and more products to make it easier to plan your adventures. Interested in sake pairing with food? Then queue in a line to food booths before it gets crowded. Or ready to buy your favorite brand of sake? Jump into the booth before they are gone. Walk around the venue wisely to sip and savor over 100 different types of sake as well as other Japanese spirits. Planning to buy lots of sake but forgot a shopping bag? Or want to buy a limited edition T-shirt? Come to the Merchandise area! Also a variety of Japanese products and special travel deals are available only at the event. The choice is yours!

9. Bring a notepad to make notes on what you like.

i.e: brewery name, sake name/label, style of sake, name of supplier and where you can purchase again. Alternatively, take photos of the labels of the ones you enjoyed the most – but don’t forget to add notes as many labels still only have Japanese kanji on the front. Always snap the back label too!

10. Don’t postpone your purchase.

If you do find a sake you really love and are considering taking a bottle home, don’t ponder too long as some allocated stock may sell out before the end of the day.

11. Pace yourself.

The stall holders and their sake will be there all day. We certainly advise you to pace yourself if you are tasting. Having breaks between tastings will also help prevent palate fatigue – it IS a thing! Break up your tasting by heading to the stage area to indulge in some wonderful cultural performances and entertainment. Head over to our screen area to watch our Edo Digital Art Exhibition, or attend one of our free sake education seminars. You can view the timetables for screen and stage areas in the news section of our website.

12. Re-hydrate.

Drink water between sake tastings. Free drinking water will be available at every sake stall. We encourage you to drink/taste responsibly and remember to re-hydrate. Water may also be used to rinse glasses in between tastings.

13. Eat throughout the day.

Another great way to break up the sake tasting is to head over to our food stall area and savour some of the delicious delicacies on offer.

14. Ask questions.

We know learning about new things can sometimes be overwhelming and intimidating but Sake Festival creates a wonderful opportunity to ask all those questions you have been wanting to ask but never have. There is no such thing as a silly question if you are wanting to learn more about something. Take advantage of talking to brewers from Japan, local importers and sake experts at the festival.

15. It’s ok to spit.

There will be a lot of sake… and if you are planning on tasting your way through a good amount of it, we certainly advise that you consider using the spittoons provided at each stall.

16. Enjoy the whole sensory experience.

Sake Festival tasting glasses will help you get the most out of your tasting experience at the festival. These glasses will help you to enjoy savouring the colour, the aroma and the flavour of each sake. Please be reminded that only official Sake Festival tasting glasses can be used for sake tasting at the festival. Strictly no BYO cups or glasses will be accepted by any stall holder as tasting vessels.

17. Have a great time!


To be notified about future Sake Festivals, please register your email address here