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The Benefits and Charms of Sake Bottles

Tom Inoue

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As many as sake varieties are the number of sake bottles to choose from. Any sake lover has endless choices, from sleek and simple to bizarre-looking bottles ~ yet these aren’t all for show.

Be amazed at how one brew transforms into flavorful aromas and taste. With sake bottles of various forms and uses, you’ll surely get your own pick!

Why Use a Sake Bottle

  • It makes pouring sake easier.
    Because Japanese sake cups are generally small, pouring sake from a 1 liter container is made easier.
  • It stops you from drinking too much at once.
    Well, sake is known to have 15-16% alcohol content, which is higher than beer or wine. If you sip it bit by bit, you’re sure to enjoy it’s vivid texture and aroma.

And for a more convenient and enjoyable sake-drinking experience, make sure to have Tokkuri bottles on hand.

  • It warms sake.
    As we know it, sake can be warmed~ use this bottle to heat sake by water bath or microwave. For more information, see Everything you need to know about Warm Sake
  • It aerates sake.
    Sake is best kept unexposed to air lest it becomes stale. But some types undergo flourishing changes with the right amount of aeration. Katakuchi, a sake bottle with a wide mouth, releases the brew’s aromas and flavors.

    Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda

  • It enhances the drinking experience
    There are many intricate and artistic bottles to complement your premium sake. With that said, choose one that can enliven up your drinking experience.

The Basics of Sake Bottles

a. Tokkuri vs Katakuchi

There is no standard size or shape for sake bottles, but there are generally two types: Tokkuri and Katakuchi.


how to warm sake

The Tokkuri, the more common type, has the shape of a cylinder and is often used for heating sake. Its narrow neck makes sure that heat and chill are preserved, making it good for both warm and cold sake.


Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda

Katakuchi is generally a small-lipped bowl or lipped cylinder. Because of its large opening, Katakuchi makes pouring sake easy, but nevertheless aerates sake. If you don’t mind drinking cold sake, this is the sake bottle for you!

b. How to heat sake by using sake bottle

1) Warm or chill sake using the sake bottle.
2) Pour sake from the bottle into a small sake cup or glass.

If you’re using wine glass or bigger cups, you don’t need a sake bottle.

Here’s a good video if you want a formal way of pouring and drinking sake from a sake bottle:

c. Sake bottle varieties to know

The sheer variety of sake bottles available in the market can be overwhelming. To simplify it for you, we’ve listed them down according to its form, material, and purpose.

i. Form


tokkuri white ceramic and standard

tokkuri white and blue ceramic and standard

Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda 


Fortune Bird Bottle

red and white tokkuri, gourd shape

fortune bird singing tokkuri

Image Credit: http://www.niigata-sake.jp/

This one is for people looking for a musical sake drinking, because as you pour, the bird perching on the bottle starts singing. If you want sake drinking musical, why not try it this way?

ii. Material


black and white earthen ware tokkuri

Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda 

brown and white earthen ware tokkuri

Image Credit:http://tanukigama.com/

raccoon-shaped tokkuri

Image Credit:http://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/shopping/zakkayafree_tr-tr995/lang/chs/rc/yshop


variety of tokkuris made by ceramic

Image Credit:http://www.hirahaku.jp/

white and gold tokkuri of ceramic
tokkuri white and blue ceramic and standard

Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda 


blue glass tokkuri

Image Credit:Kappabashi Maeda 

dark blue tokkuri glass

Image Credit:http://www.kagami.jp/product/

ornamented tokkuri glass

Image Credit:http://www.g-designer.com/

– Metal-

metal tokkuri

Image Credit:http://www.itempost.jp/

Image Credit:http://ochanriders-cb1300sb.at.webry.info/

iii. Purpose

– Chilling sake-

tokkuri for chilled sake

Image Credit:http://www.kappa-maeda.co.jp/

-Warming sake-

tokkuri for warming sake

Image Credit:http://www.kappa-maeda.co.jp/

-Microwave heating sake-

tokkuri for microwaving

Image Credit:http://www.umai-sakeya.com/

For easy viewing, here’s a summary:

summary of tookuri types

Keep it simple, start with Tokkuri

Planning to be a professional sake host or just starting your sake bottle collection? We recommend beginning with the regular, Tokkuri bottle.
Hot or cold~ it’s what you need for that unforgettable sake drinking experience.

Now it’s time to bring your sake curiosity to a test. Find the sake bottle you love, and your drinking sessions will never be the same again!

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