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Tokyo souvenirs: 10 top-selling Japanese spirits, sake, and more at Narita Airport!

Tokyo souvenirs: 10 top-selling Japanese spirits, sake, and more at Narita Airport!

Date published: 14 April 2019
Last updated: 22 May 2019

Visitors heading home from Narita International Airport can find a number of original sweets, snacks and a variety of Japanese sake selected from areas all around Japan. Here we've asked shop staff for their recommendations on what to buy!

Can't help but savor the flavor: Japanese craft alcohols

In recent years, Japanese wines, spirits, and sake have gained increasing interest and acclaim from visitors around the globe. When on vacation to Japan, many visitors will sample a variety of sake - and undoubtedly want to buy a bottle or few as gifts.

However, there are many types of alcoholic beverages in Japan, and even in souvenir shops there can be several dozen varieties from which to choose. So, how to select?

The following article picks up ten varieties of alcohols from the Narita Airport duty-free shop. Be sure to refer to it when you buy a gift!

Quick word on SMV - sweetness of Japanese sake

Quick word on SMV - sweetness of Japanese sake

Before introducing our selections, it's important to note that there are various unique indications for expressing the flavor of sake. The above chart can be used as a reference when purchasing sake.

Generally speaking, negative numbers for sake tend to indicate a sweeter flavor, while positive numbers reflect the dryness of a particular bottle. The lower or higher the numbers are can indicate the more stronger the sense of sweetness or of dryness.

Meanwhile, there are other numbers which indicate the acidity of a given bottle. These can range from around 2.0 (richer flavor) to 1.0 (lighter flavor).

Note that when you speak with shop staff, they will be able to provide a deeper profile for each of the products. It's also important to note that not all bottles will display the SMV or acidity.

Nakano BC - KOZUE - 700ml

Nakano BC - KOZUE - 700ml

A unique beverage even in Tokyo, this Japanese craft gin is made from several ingredients from Wakayama Prefecture, including Japanese pine, orange peel, lemon, and pepper. The aromatic impression is "dark green", with a fresh forest fragrance and citrus. It has a refreshingly cool flavor, with a spice of pepper at the finish. Kozue is suitable for the simplest methods of drinking, such as the basic gin and tonic, or enjoyed on the rocks.

Alcohol: 47%
Retail Price: 3,500 yen (700ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1 Fa-So-La TAX FREE KAGURA

Asahi Shuzo - Senshin - 720ml

Asahi Shuzo - Senshin - 720ml

This Japanese sake, from producer Asahi Shuzo in Niigata Prefecture, is brewed in March, June, September, and November. Senshin ("Baptism") is originally a Japanese Buddhist word. And like its meaning, it washes away all the the troubles and frustrations in your heart, returning it to its original state - experience a new beginning. In the brewing process, the sake is slowly aged and all extraneous tastes removed, leaving a full-flavored result. Its smooth taste is light and fresh, with a refreshing aftertaste. This makes many fans who love Japanese sake go to the limit of pure rice brewing. Whether for a special moment back home or a gift for friends, this bottle of "baptism" will definitely be a fine choice.

Alcohol: 15%
SMV: +2
Acidity: 1.2
Serving suggestion: drink chilled

Retail Price: 5,200 yen (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR

Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA

Asahi Shuzo - Kubota 1-9-2-0 Junmai Daiginjo 720ml

Asahi Shuzo - Kubota  1-9-2-0 Junmai Daiginjo 720ml

In the same way, "Kubota 1-9-2-0 Junmai Daiginjo" produced by Asahi Shuzo is also very popular with tourists. "1-9-2-0" was taken from the founding year of Asahi Shuzo in 1920 (formerly known as Kubota House, which was founded in 1830). Kubota pays special attention to the aroma of the sake, and the balance of alcohol and acidity in pure rice brewing imparts a gorgeous treat indeed. Elegant and fresh, fruity, light and with a refreshing aftertaste, this is sake suitable with any dish, and recommended for newcomers to the sake world.

Alcohol: 15%
SMV: ±0
Acidity: 1.3
Serving suggestion: drink chilled

Retail Price: 5,100 yen (720ml)

Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX
Fa-So-La TAX FREE KAGURA

Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAXFREE AKIHABARA

Miya Shuzo - Shimehari - Junmai Ginjyo Yamada Nishiki

Miya Shuzo - Shimehari - Junmai Ginjyo Yamada Nishiki

Niigata Prefecture is world-famous for its production of some of the finest Japanese sake anywhere. The renowned Yamada Nishiki rice variety is used for brewing the elegant Shimehari. Its initial flavor is slightly sweet and savory, with a gorgeous aroma, but with a subtle aftertaste that doesn't unnecessarily linger on.

Alcohol: 16%
SMV: ±0
Acidity: undisclosed
Serving suggestion: drink served chilled or warmed

Retail Price: 1,770 yen (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX

Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA

Kikuhime - Kukurihime - 720ml

Kikuhime - Kukurihime - 720ml

Sold in limited batches, Kukurihime is a sake that has been aged for 10 years. The name is taken from the Japanese Shinto goddess, it's easy to understand the inspiration behind this reverent of beverages that's made entirely from top-grade Yamada Nishiki. The drier, mature flavor is a ripe sensation not found in typical Japanese sake - smooth and having no edges or corners. It's a treasure that you'll want to take home and indulge in - or perhaps leave to age another decade.

Alcohol: 17-18%
SMV: undisclosed
Acidity: undisclosed
Serving suggestion: serve at room temperature

Retail Price: 23,900 yen (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX

Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA

Kaganoi Shuzo - Junmai Daiginjo (wooden box) 720ml

Kaganoi Shuzo - Junmai Daiginjo (wooden box) 720ml

Although Kaga is apparently the old clan which had ruled Ishikawa Prefecture, Kaganoi Shuzo is made in Niigata. In 2016, the brewery had been destroyed in a fire, however in February 2018, the winery was completely rebuilt in the same place. Although it is a new facility, all the brewing process completely inherits the original raw materials and knowhow. Have the opportunity to see this bottle of sake and its gorgeous presentation, you may wish to buy it for family and friends - but you can also take heart in knowing that each purchase encourages the brewery staff as they continue their in their efforts to restart after the disaster.

Retail Price: 3,300 yen with wooden box (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX
Fa-So-La TAX FREE KAGURA
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR KOTOBUKI
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR
Fa-So-La GIFT SHOP
Fa-So-La SKY SHOP
Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA
Terminal 3
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR AKIHABARA

Hakkaisan - Awa 720ml

Hakkaisan - Awa 720ml

One of Japan's most famous breweries, Hakkaisan, has introduced its Awa - a new sparkling variety of sake. It is made using a natural secondary in-bottle fermentation process which yields a clear, elegant sake with pleasant fizz. It is very suitable for pre-dinner or any dish. Toast your trip with this new sake sensation - or buy a bottle to enjoy with friends!

Alcohol: 13%
SMV: -5
Acidity: 1.4
Serving suggestion: drink chilled
(Must be refrigerated; if opened at room temperature, there is risk of explosive spray.)

Retail Price: 3,195 yen (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE KAGURA
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR KOTOBUKI
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR
Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA

Zaku - Miyabi-no-Tomo Nakadori Junmai Daiginjo 720ml

Zaku - Miyabi-no-Tomo Nakadori Junmai Daiginjo 720ml

Zaku is a renowned sake brewer from Mie Prefecture. You're sure to quickly fall in love with its gorgeous fragrance and deep balance. In Japan, the United States and elsewhere, different varieties of sake have been awarded some of the top honors in wine competitions - in fact this had been awarded Silver in the Super Premium category in Japan's Sake Competition 2018. But comparing its price with others, you'll find it's quite economical and affordable. Don't forget to add it to your suitcase!

Alcohol: 16%
Serving suggestion: serve chilled

Retail Price: 2,350 yen with box (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE KAGURA
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR
Fa-So-La GIFT SHOP
Fa-So-La SKY SHOP
Terminal 2
Fa-So-La SOUVENIR

Suishin - Kyukyoku no Suishin Daiginjo 720ml

Suishin - Kyukyoku no Suishin Daiginjo 720ml

Suishin is a sake brewery based in Hiroshima Prefecture. The brewery uses water from Mt. Takanosu, in the central area of Hiroshima Prefecture, which is locally celebrated for being ultra-soft (hardness of 14; in Japan, anything under 100 is considered soft water) and with nearly no mineral content. As a result, Suishin sake has a delicate, refreshing flavor, plus an elegant sweetness and richness. This particular selection uses Yamada Nishiki that has been polished to 30%. This bottle is recognized as one of the finest Japanese rice wines at home and abroad, and it is extremely amazing. Try it!

Alcohol: 17%
SMV: +3
Acidity: 1.2
Serving suggestion: serve chilled

Retail Price: 5,000 yen with wooden box (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX

Terminal 2
Fa-So-La TAX FREE AKIHABARA

Tsutsumi Shuzo - Gokujo Tsutsumi 720ml

Tsutsumi Shuzo - Gokujo Tsutsumi 720ml

Although Kyushu is home to several well-known sake breweries, the prefecture as a whole is perhaps more famous for its varieties of select shochu. This particular variety of rice shochu has been brewed and then aged in the barrel for a superior flavor and smoothness similar to a fine whisky. Each limited bottle is numbered - a treasure to bring back and share with friends and family.

Alcohol: 40%
Serving suggestion: on the rocks

Retail Price: 10,000 yen (720ml)
Selling stores:
Terminal 1
Fa-So-La TAX FREE ASAKUSA ANNEX


The above is a selection of ten different Japanese sakes and spirits, each of which fully demonstrates the craftsmanship of local brewers and infused with local tradition. There are several limited-edition drinks that require special attention. If you are lucky enough to see them at the airport, don't hesitate to put them in your shopping basket!

*Alcoholic products are only available to those aged 20 and over.

Duty Free Shop Fa-So-La

Duty Free Shop Fa-So-La

The duty-free shop "Fa-So-La" in Narita Airport has the largest number of shops and the greatest range of products at Narita Airport. No matter whether you are looking for food, sweets, wine, cosmetics, or other products, Fa-So-La has over 80 related shops at Narita Airport (including before Customs and after passing through).

Opening hours: 7:30am to 8:30pm
*The opening hours of some stores are different.

Narita Airport has shops in the first, second and third terminals. Please refer to the link: https://www.fasola.jp/

*The above prices are all untaxed prices.
*The above information is the information for the interview in September 2018.
*Products may be out of stock depending on the sales situation of each store.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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