23 August 2022

8 Sake Item Gifts for Beginners 

Demand for Sake from overseas has been increasing year by year, with the volume and value of exports rising steadily over the past decade. With more and more restaurants serving Sake in addition to Japanese restaurants, and some companies establishing sake breweries overseas, it is now possible to enjoy Sake without having to be in Japan.

If you have friends or family members who look forward to their weekly sushi takeout or occasional Japanese style grilled fish dinner, help them take the next step in pursuing their Japanese dining journey by introducing them to the world of sake.

Just like an excellent bottle of wine, high-quality sake has a delicate taste and aroma which can be enjoyed to its fullest with good sake drinking items. You can enjoy it with wine glasses, shot glasses, etc., but the enjoyment will be even greater if you have the proper sake cups or "Tokkuri" carafes to match the mood.

We’ve posted some items that would be great gifts for the novice sake lover. 

Contents

  • Guinomi Sake Cup
  • Ochoko Sake Cup
  • Sake Set (Tokkuri and Sake Cup)
  • Sake Warmer

Sake Cup

The first item we recommend as the first sake item is a sake cup. Sake cups have a wide range in price, so they can be selected according to budget and purpose, which is another reason why they are recommended as the perfect gift choice. There are basically three types of sake cups: "Sakazuki," "Ochoko," and "Guinomi.

To learn more about the different types of sake cups, please click the button below. 

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Guinomi Sake Cup

The Guinomi, which has the largest capacity, can be used not only for sake, but also for whiskey or other beverages, or as a smaller cup or "kobachi" bowl. In the case of the Guinomi, you do not need to use the "Tokkuri" carafe, so you can pour and drink directly from the bottle. This alone is enough to enjoy sake, so we recommend it as a gift for those who want to try sake in a casual way.

Kinrande Sakura Kutani Guinomi Cup 

Decorated with an intricate sakura pattern, this guinomi cup is handcrafted by an artisan of Kutani ware, Mr. Yoshinori Fukuda. He is a specialist of decorations using gold known as "Kinrande"(literal meaning "gold brocade").

Full-blooming sakuras and petals are carefully painted and then given a finishing touch with fine strokes of gold. When you pour the sake into the cup, it will look like one sakura blossom and some petals are floating in the sake which is a common occurrence when drinking sake under a cherry blossom tree in the springtime.

Just the right size to hold in one hand and enjoy several sips of sake. Make a friend or family member happy with this lovely guinomi cup and let them enjoy the beauty of sakura all year round.

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Kisen Bamboo Tall Black Lacquer and Gold Takaoka Copperware Guinomi Sake Cup 

This Guinomi Sake Cup made by the Kisen brand, has a unique design combining wood coated with black lacquer with a golden metal bottom. A very modern take on the traditional concept of a sake cup.

The deep black lacquer shines radiantly under lighting and the amount of gold is perfectly proportioned to enhance the shine. Unlike the sturdy and heavy bottom, the edge is very thin and smooth which helps bring out the delicate flavors of the sake.

This will be a  wonderful choice as a gift for someone who likes to try something new and different.

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Mizore Hanazume Kutani Guinomi Sake Glass

This elegant Japanese sake glass combines specially crafted glass with a Kutani ware stem in "Hanazume"style, which is a traditional craft of Ishikawa prefecture.

The word “mizore” means “slushy snow” and as seen in the photo, the glass used for the cup has a frosty and cool look. The long and narrow stem is colorfully decorated with an assortment of flowers and through the frosty glass, you can see the same design at the bottom.

A great gift to someone as their first sake cup. The beautiful design makes this cup special and one to be cherished for years to come.  

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Ochoko Sake Cup

Ochoko is smaller than a guinomi and is used in combination with a tokkuri. The capacity of the cup allows for drinking in one or two sips, and the action of pouring the sake into the cup with the tokkuri many times creates a scene and atmosphere that is typical of Japanese restaurants.

Five Flower Kutani Ochoko Sake Cup

This set of five handmade "Ochoko" sake cups show traditional Japanese flowers and trees. Each cup has a slightly different texture, and flowers and trees from different seasons are precisely painted with different colors on all five cups.

They are handcrafted and have a warm and comforting atmosphere and can be considered to be the basic style sake cup to drink warm sake on chilly night.

It is a perfect set to have for parties and special gatherings. If you have a friend who might want to start entertaining guests with some sake, this set is the one to choose. 

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Sake Set (Tokkuri and Sake Cup)

For those on a bit of a budget and those who need a complete set of sake utensils at once, we recommend a set of tokkuri and ochoko (sake cup). By buying them as a set, you can enjoy a more authentic sake time in a cohesive setting with matching designs.

Also, the capacity of the tokkuri is roughly 1 "Gou"(180ml/6.1oz), which is said to be just the right amount for one person. This is also a healthier alternative to pouring from a bottle, as you are less likely to end up drinking too much.

Bizan Kiln Yoshidaya Sakura and Bird Kutani Sake Set

A great gift for those who love Japanese motifs is a sake set with Sakura (cherry blossoms) and birds.

The beautifully hand-painted three-dimensional brushwork, a characteristic of Kutani ware, and the beautiful deep yellow color create a warm and relaxing atmosphere.

This sake set is one of Musubi Kiln's long sellers. Although small in size, it is a perfect gift for a loved one and shows the tradition of Kutani ware

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Kinsai Kutani Sake Set

If you are unsure of the recipient's tastes and want to give something as simple as possible, here is a great sake set for you.

The design is chic and modern, suitable for any table. The set is decorated with a technique called "Kinsai," which makes luxurious use of gold leaf, a specialty of Ishikawa Prefecture, the birthplace of Kutani ware.

Many tokkuri are gourd-shaped with narrowed tops, but this one has a simple shape that makes it easy to wash and care for. It can be used in various ways, such as for holding dressing or "Soba-tsuyu" (buckwheat sauce), in addition to sake.

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Hirota Green Bamboo 3-Piece Edo Glass Sake Set

This unique sake set is shaped like a bamboo. The beautiful green colored Edo glass reflects the light and brings airiness and coolness to the table.

The design is suitable for a variety of dining spaces besides the Japanese table. Carafe has a large capacity, so it can hold not only sake but also water and other beverages.

This set also comes in a special Hirota Glass box, so it can be given as is.

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Sake Warmer

Lastly, we would like to introduce you to a sake warmer. This is a great gift for people who like sake but already have sake cups and tokkuri. This is an item you will want to have on your tabletop at a Japanese themed party.

Black Crystal Glaze Mino Ware Sake Warmer

Unlike other alcoholic beverages, sake can be drunk cold, warm or at room temperature. Quite unique! This Japanese Sake Warmer is the perfect item to use when heating your sake to a preferred temperature.

Pour the sake into the inner sake carafe(Sake Tokkuri) and then pour hot water into the pot. Set the sake carafe into the pot, and then wait until the sake is just the right warmth.

The simple black design matches any sake cup and can be used to cool sake as well. As it is compact in size and stylish, it can be placed on a table and will fit in perfectly with a Japanese style table setting.

Something different and unique, but practical. This sake warmer will help the novice sake drinker enjoy warm sake with ease.

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For Thoughtful Sake Item Gifts

All the items we have suggested are all carefully crafted items from brands in different parts of Japan. Send one or a combination of these items as a gift to a friend or someone special, and have them discover the delicate and sophisticated flavor and fragrance of sake.

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