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Different Types of Japanese Sake Cups and Their Advantages

by Yoshie Omata
3659 views 5 min read


You may already be familiar with sake, but have you ever wondered about the cups in which you drink it? In the same fashion as wine glasses, sake cups come in various shapes and materials, designed to enhance the flavor, texture, and overall experience of the product. Let us explore all the different possibilities that Japan’s age-old craftsmanship has to offer.

We shall start with the most mundane of all, the Ochoko (お猪口), a small shot-sized sake cup which usually comes with a matching Tokkuri (徳利), the carafe. Ochoko can contain only a portion of a shot and you can gulp down immediately after sake is served.

In this article, we will also focus our attention on several types of cups that are less known outside of Japan and how you can use them to sublimate your sake. Follow our advice and you will become a sake expert.

Shapes of Sake Cups

The Trumpet Shaped Cup ラッパ型

The trumpet-shaped cup looks like an inverted triangle. With a widely open lip of the cup, you can instantly feel the aroma as pouring the liquid. The sake’s aroma can be enjoyed in the mouth for a long time, so sake with a lighter taste and higher aroma will be best enjoyed in this cup.

The Trumpet Shaped Cup

The Bowl Shaped Cup ワングリ型

The bowl-shaped cup has a wide diameter like a trumpet shaped cup, so the sake spreads in your mouth. The bowl-shaped cup is well suitable to enjoy a richer flavor and a more subdued aroma. Unlike the trumpet type, it takes less time to reach the throat, so you can enjoy the taste more than the aroma.

The Bowl Shaped Cup

The Straight Shaped Cup ストレート型

The straight and long-shaped cup that looks like a tumbler lets alcohol flows in a straight line to your mouth, you will naturally turn your face upward. The alcohol will then feel as if it is going down your throat quickly. In order to enjoy the refreshing taste that comes in smoothly, a sake with a moderate aroma is suitable.

The Straight Shaped Cup

The Bud Shaped Cup ツボミ型

The bud-shaped cup has a small diameter and it is not easy to drink sake in one gulp. So it is perfect for drinking and enjoying the flavors little by little. You can also enjoy the aroma at the same time, as you are covering the cup with your nose when you drink it. This type of cup is suitable for enjoying sake with a strong taste and aroma.

The Bud Shaped Cup

Different Materials Used for Sake Cups

The choice of materials of the cups matters, not only for the tasting experience but also for the pleasure of the eyes, especially as part of harmonious tableware.

Pottery 陶器

The pottery cup has a round and soft grip. This material softens the taste of sake and enhances the flavor, whether warm or chilled.


Porcelain 磁器

Porcelain is tougher than pottery and smoother on the surface. In the same manner as the pottery cup, this material also softens the taste so it is an ideal choice for dry sake if you would like to enjoy how the mouthfeel changes.


Glass ガラス

Premium quality sake such as Ginjo-shu or Daiginjo can be enjoyed particularly well with a glass cup. Indeed, glass does not have any distinctive smell that would affect the flavor, thus you can feel the taste of sake precisely in your mouth.


Japanese lacquer 漆器

You may have seen lacquer cups at traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies.

The lacquer has excellent heat insulation, so the cup does not get too hot on the surface when you have hot sake. It also allows liquids to remain warm for a longer period of time.

Japanese lacquer

Tin 錫器

This material is said to be purifying water. Consequently, tin cups would make sake smoother and more mellow.

Why you should use sake cups to drink sake

You can try different types of cups to be on the next level as a sake lover

It seems many people drink sake in a wine glass nowadays. This makes sense as its shape also allows to keep the flavors intact. As a sake lover, why not try different types of cups to compare how the flavors and mouthfeel can change?

Beautifully designed cups can brighten up your table

Sake is drunk not only on special occasions like weddings or anniversaries, but it is also one of the most appreciated alcoholic drinks amongst beer, wine, whiskey, and cocktails in Japan. On ordinary days like after a long day of work, at birthday parties, or with home-cooking Japanese dishes, you can always treat yourself to some nice sake served in a beautifully designed cup.

To find a variety of beautiful artisan sake cups, please visit MUSUBI KILN.

Take your sake experience to the next level

Using a variety of sake cups lets you enjoy sake from different perspectives. Whether you would simply like to discover subtle variations in flavor of sake or enjoy the uniqueness of each cup to add to your tableware collection, experimenting with different types of cups will take your all-around sake experience to the next level.

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