Sake Tasting Vending Machines Niigata Train Station Ponshukan. Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture Japan

Sake Tasting Vending Machines Niigata Train Station Ponshukan. Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture Japan

One of the most amazing experiences that I had in Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan was at the sake tasting bar near Niigata train station!

Hidden away in a nondescript Japanese local supermarket was a tiny alcove at the back featuring row upon row of sake tasting vending machines. Over 100 sake types to choose from, and I only had enough time (and the constitution) to purchase a set of five tastes. (A sake flight?)

Each of the machines were numbered and had descriptions of type, flavour, location and brand as well as star ratings and lists of awards. In Japanese, of course. I’m indebted to my wife who introduced me to this place and was able to translate the Japanese for me. If you can’t read Japanese, and don’t have translator apps, you’ll definitely need to bring along someone who can translate for you.

We lined up and bought two sets of five tastings, enabling us to try ten different ones together. We were given five coins each for the machines.

These aren’t cheap quality, unpolished rice sake samples. These are the real deal. We tasted some amazing drops that you wouldn’t find in a cheap sake bar. Much like the wine tasting vending machines you can get in Sydney at various places, these sake machines really gave something worth drinking.

The sake is so good that you’ll want to drink it quickly. You can be drunk within about fifteen minutes of trying everything! (So go there on a full stomach!)

If you love sake, it is like walking into sake heaven. Of course, I only ordered five tastes. As attractive as the place was, there wasn’t anywhere to sit and drink. It was really just for tasting, and then buying a larger version to take away.

If you’re ever in Niigata looking for sake, don’t miss this place!

How does it work?

Get your five tokens and temporary sake cup.

Place your sake cup under the pipe of the one you want, then put your coin in. Press the button and your sake cup fills up. Enjoy, then move to the next one!

If you’re still standing after those five, the guy behind the counter might sell you another set!

Find out more at their website: Ponshukan Niigata

  • Neil A is an author, blogger and tutor, with a variety of books on Amazon. Check out his children’s series here: