© grape Japan We Visited A Sake-Lovers’ Paradise With Wall-To-Wall Sake Dispensers Starting At 100 Yen A Cup 2018-04-03 Tue 2018-04-19 Thu If you want the convenience of sake dispensed on demand but also seek to enjoy numerous varieties of sake, there is a paradise waiting for you in Niigata Prefecture, less than 90 minutes away by shinkansen train! Ponshukan is a unique store concept with two locations in Niigata Prefecture, one in Niigata Station and the other in Echigo-Yuzawa Station, where you can experience kikizake, or sake sampling. We had reported on Ponshukan before based mainly on reports we found on Twitter. However, since our grape Japan staff happened to pass through Echigo Yuzawa Station on a personal ski trip last weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to visit in person and see what all the fuss was about. Source: © grape Japan When you enter Echigo-Yuzawa Station, all you need to do is walk to the end of the central marketplace and food court and you'll see the entrance to CoCoLo Yuzawa, a shopping area specializing in various food gifts and fine rice products. Just outside, flanking the entrance on the right, you'll find a decorative panel with the labels from the more than 100 varieties of sakes available inside. Source: © grape Japan If you're already salivating, waste no time and head through the entrance. You may want to watch out for these drunkards along the way... Source: © grape Japan Make an immediate right, and you'll see the entrance to Ponshukan. Source: © grape Japan This helpful instruction screen explains how it all works. It's nothing too complicated. In a nutshell, the sake dispensers come in varieties of 100 yen, 200 yen or 300 yen depending on the quality and rarity of the sake. To purchase sake, you need to buy tokens at 100 yen each. The recommended thing to do is to start with 5 tokens for 500 yen, but please feel free to begin with more if you're up for it! Source: © grape Japan To enter, you can't be under 16 years old and, obviously, to drink any alcohol, you have to be 20 years old, the legal drinking age in Japan. Buy your tokens at the counter, pick up your sake cup which you'll use for the duration of your time at Ponshukan, and then you're ready to begin you adventure in sake paradise! These good folks were already getting into the spirit, so we just followed by example... Source: © grape Japan Fortunately, Ponshukan writes up a list of their recommended sakes in English as well as Japanese. Source: © grape Japan Without further delay, we headed to the sake dispensers... Source: © grape Japan This looked good... And with a name like Ski Masamune, it sounded like the perfect way to kick off our après-ski sake tasting. Source: © grape Japan The sticker with the number 1 on it made it obvious how many tokens we'd need, so we deposited a single token, placed our sake cup into the round depression on the dispensing tray, pressed the yellow button, and watched as sake poured itself into our cup. Kampai! Source: © grape Japan If you're feeling a bit peckish, these fresh cucumbers make a good companion to sake-drinking and they're available for 100 yen a piece. Source: © grape Japan We highly recommend putting some premium miso on that cuke as well. Source: © grape Japan You can also try sprinkling it with some gourmet salt. It's quite an impressive collection to choose from. Source: © grape Japan Finally, once you've had your fill of sake and are ready to leave, just return your sake cup on the way out. Source: © grape Japan And if you want to try kikizake from vending machines in the Tokyo area, you can try Tokyo Shoten in the Ryogoku neighborhood of Tokyo for a similar, albeit smaller-scale version of the experience. If you go, just be sure to drink in moderation, or you'll end up like this guy here. Source: © grape Japan By - Ben K. Source:© Ponshukan / © Edo Noren Tags: Echigo Yuzawa / kikizake / Niigata Prefecture / Ponshukan / Sake / Vending Machine grape Japan Culture We Visited A Sake-Lovers’ Paradise With Wall-To-Wall Sake Dispensers Starting At 100 Yen A Cup Related Article “Tipsy Cake” from Hotel Okura Kobe is made with Kiku-Masamune Daiginjo sake lees Sample Sakes And Laser-Etch Your Own Stylized Kanji Monogram On A Crystal Sake Cup Japan’s New Kit Kats Use Premium Sake From Brewery Founded In 1625 Fukushima Sake Breweries Collaborate with Classic Glam Rock Band for KISS Sake Pretty Sake Glass Set With Japanese Traditional Ukiyo-e Cat Illustrations Try Buggalicious Grub at Food Brand MOGBUG’s Collaboration Cafe with Idol Group Ichizen!