• Should You Choose Hot or Cold Sake?

    Traditionally, sake is a drink that was enjoyed warm, but today, many sakes are offered chilled, thanks to a changing flavor profile. This change leads many people dining in Japanese restaurants to wonder exactly what kind of sake they should be drinking. In reality, there is no answer that applies to sake every kind of sake.

    Sake responds to temperature in a similar way that grape-based wines do. The flavors tend to vary depending on the temperature at which it is served. With sake, Ginjo varieties tend to taste better chilled, while Junmai can be served at rom temperature of slightly warmed. Keep in mind that warmed sake should be only warmed very gently, while cold sake should be chilled gently.

    Experience Japanese dining traditions, from teppanyaki to hibachi, at House of Genji in San Jose. Whether you’re looking for a tasty change at lunchtime or a show-stopping meal for date night, you’ll find it in our Japanese restaurant. Learn more by calling us at (408) 453-8120.


  • Sake Breweries You Can Tour in Japan

    For many people who visit Japan, drinking sake is an important part of experiencing the culture. Not only can you enjoy sake alongside Japanese food in most restaurants, but you can also get a behind-the-scenes look at how sake is made by visiting various breweries across the country for tours. Not all sake breweries allow visitors, but many welcome guests for tours and tastings. Note that most sake brewing happens during winter, because breweries rely on the cold weather to maintain the cold temperatures needed for the fermentation process. Here are some of the breweries you can tour in Japan to see how sake is made.

    Suehiro Sake Brewery

    The Suehiro Sake Brewery is located in Fukushima Prefecture, and it is one of the most popular sake breweries in the country. Suehiro sake has received many awards in Japan and overseas, which is why it is such a popular destination. They offer a tour of the brewery that shows how they use the Yamahai method to create their sake, though be advised that the tour is only offered in Japanese. If you don’t want to do the tour, you can still visit the brewery to see their museum, enjoy their tasting bar, and purchase sake from their gift shop.

    Sawanotsuru Sake Museum

    Located in Kobe in the Hyogo Prefecture, the Sawanotsuru Sake Museum offers both a historical look at the history of the beverage and a tour of the in-house Sawanotsuru brewery. The tours are free, but if you are coming with a large group, make a reservation to avoid missing out on a tour.

    Ishikawa Brewery

    The Ishikawa Brewery offers something for everyone, since they brew both sake and beer. On tours of the brewery in Tokyo, you will get to sample a variety of their products and purchase the ones you like. You will need to reserve a spot on the tour at least one day in advance.

    Sake is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of Japanese foods, and at House of Genji, you’ll find sake on our menu alongside beers and creative cocktails crafted in our cocktail lounge. Contact our Japanese restaurant in San Jose for more information at (408) 453-8120.

  • Exploring Different Types of Sake

    When ordering a drink from the cocktail lounge at your local Japanese restaurant, you may find yourself wondering about the differences between the sake options. If so, you should know that you are not alone and that there are many types of sake available. Read on to learn about a few of the most popular varieties.


    When reading sake labels, you may see the word “ seimaibuai ” mentioned on the label. Seimaibuai refers to rice milling, a process which polishes away the outer layer of the rice grains to improve the sake’s flavor. Ginjo-shu , which is classified as premium sake, must have 40% of the original rice milled away to give it a seimaibuai value of 60% or lower. Ginjo-shu has an enticing aroma and is typically served cold to preserve the flavor, which is described by many as being light and delicate.


    Sake is divided into categories depending on its ingredients. Junmai-shu sake is often referred to as pure rice wine because no distilled alcohol, additional sugars, or extra starches are added. Junmai-shu sake is made from only rice, koji (fermented rice), and water. Traditionally, junmai-shu is made with a seimaibuai of 70% or lower, and it tends to have a more acidic profile than other sakes. Junmai-shu is often served hot and boasts a rich, full flavor.


    Honjozo-shu is made from rice, koji , water, and distilled alcohol. In this type of sake, distilled alcohol is often used to balance the flavors of the drink. As with junmai-shu , honjozo-shu has a degree of milling of 70% or better, but it is less potent. Ideally, honjozo-shu is served warm. The added alcohol gives this sake a smooth body and light flavor that can be easily recognized.

    At our Japanese restaurant serving San Jose, House of Genji features a cocktail lounge and offers a broad range of sake options. For more information about our Japanese steakhouse, please give us a call today at (408) 453-8120.

  • How Sake is Served

    Sake is traditional Japanese wine brewed from rice. In Japan and Japanese steakhouses, sake is usually served warm, and consumed in winter after being freshly pressed. Watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to heat and serve sake as it is done in Japan. You will need the following items: sake, a tokkuri flask, a warm or hot water bath, a saucepan of hot water, a food thermometer, and small cups, called ochoko or guinomi.

    Begin by warming the tokkuri flask in the warm water bath. Next, allow the sake to come to room temperature, then pour it into the warmed flask. Finally, place the flask into the saucepan of hot water and warm the sake to 100-104 °F.

    The House of Genji Japanese steakhouse offers teppanyaki and sushi in San Jose. For Japanese dining, please call (408) 453-8120 and schedule a reservation.

  • Sake Mixology: The Saketini

    When preparing Japanese food, you should also find the perfect Japanese cocktail to pair with the meal. Sake is a very popular drink that can be found in almost any Japanese restaurant, and it complements most Japanese food.

    Watch this video to learn how to make a cocktail called a saketini. The drink is a unique and creative twist on the traditional martini, using sake instead of vermouth.

    If you’re looking for a fun and stylish cocktail lounge in San Jose that also serves sushi and delicious Japanese food, come see us at House of Genji. Our Japanese dining cocktail lounge has a great happy hour, and serves beer, wine, spirits, and creative cocktails. To learn more about our Japanese restaurant, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

  • How to Choose the Perfect Glass of Sake

    If you’re interested in Japanese food and cocktails, you probably love drinking sake. There is an art to choosing the right kind of sake to complement your Japanese dining experience. Here are some tips on how to choose the perfect type of sake to go with your Japanese food.

    Determine Which Style of Sake You Like Best

    Sake is available in two styles: junmai and fortified. Both contain alcohol and are brewed from rice. Junmai is the pure rice style of sake, and is crafted from rice, water, yeast, and koji. Fortified sake is most often found in Japanese restaurants, and is crafted from rice, water, yeast, koji, and fortified alcohol. Either is available in a daiginjo variety, which is soft, fruity, aromatic, and complex.

    Be Familiar with the Different Grades of Sake

    Each style of sake is available in different grades, which determine how polished the rice is, and how fragrant and refined the sake is. Junmai has an unspecified degree of rice polishing, while junmai ginjo contains medium polished rice. Junmai daiginjo is the most refined and contains highly polished rice. Futsu-shu is fortified sake that contains little or no polished rice. Honjozo contains slightly polished rice, and ginjo contains medium polished rice. Daiginjo contains highly polished rice.

    Know Which Japanese Foods Pair Best with Sake

    Middle-grade sake, such as junmai ginjo or ginjo, pairs best with all Japanese food. Higher grades of sake will detract from the taste of your food, as the sake is so flavorful and aromatic. The lower grades of sake are so delicate that you can’t fully experience their flavors if you drink them while eating Japanese food. In general, sake pairs best with fish, soba, udon, and salad.

    If you’re interested in visiting a Japanese cocktail lounge San Jose to try sake, come see us at Genjo Japanese Steakhouse and Cocktails. Our cocktail lounge serves several varieties of sake, and you can also enjoy it with our delicious Japanese food. To learn more about our menu or hours, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

  • A Look at the Drinking Culture of Japan

    It might be surprising to learn that Tokyo is actually considered one of the world’s cocktail capitals. Japanese nightlife and drinking culture brings together respectful service, drinks crafted with herbs and spices, eclectic décor, and reasonable prices. Here’s a breakdown of some popular Japanese drinks.

    Sake is a brewed beverage that is made from fermented rice and can be served either hot or cold. It is served in a small ceramic cup and can range from drier to sweeter flavors, with an alcohol content between 13%-17%. Sake is sometimes infused with other flavors as well, such as vanilla or coconut.

    Popular Japanese Cocktails in San Jose Shochu
    Another popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, Shochu is a distilled spirit like vodka, whiskey or rum. Shochu can be mixed with juice or soda, or served straight. The alcohol content of shochu might be anywhere between 25% and 60%. Shochu is made from tubers or grains that have been fermented and distilled. The most popular varieties include those made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and black sugar.

    There is a growing number of breweries in Japan, including microbrews that are rising in popularity thanks to their appearance in popular restaurants. Beer served in Japanese restaurants is typically served in bottles or on draft as opposed to in cans. Some breweries offer seasonal beers, such as Kirin’s Akiaji .

    Classic mixed drinks such as mai-tais and martinis can be found in a Japanese cocktail lounge, though Japan has also put its own twist on several of these drinks. For example, a “Tokyo Mojito” uses ramune, a carbonated lemon-lime soda and sake, and a “Sakerita,” a new take on the traditional margarita, uses sake and comes in exotic flavors.

    House of Genji is a Japanese restaurant serving San Jose that offers guests the chance to taste a great Japanese cocktail in a relaxing, elegant environment. For more information, contact us online or at (408) 453-8120.

  • A Look at How Sake is Served

    If you enjoy Japanese dining, you’ve probably tried sake at your favorite Japanese restaurant. Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is traditionally served warm, and the temperature of the Sake can make its flavor vary slightly.

    Watch this video to learn more about how Sake is served. You’ll be walked through the steps of warming your sake, and serving it properly in the appropriate cups.

    If you love Japanese food, visit us at House of Genji. We offer authentic teppanyaki-style Japanese food to the San Jose area, and our cocktail lounge is the perfect atmosphere for happy hour drinks and appetizers. Call us today at (408) 453-8120 to make a reservation.