Sasara is right down the street from the Tochigi Prefectural Office and Odori, and run by the Tochigi Sake Brewing Association, seems to be catering to a *certain* clientele, being open only Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm, and furthermore closed on holidays. As unfortunate as these opening times are if you don’t live or work in the area, I definitely recommend a go if you have the chance, because its main selling point is offering cheap tastings of over 140 different types of sake from breweries all across Tochigi Prefecture.
How it works is you first go to the register and purchase your tickets, which come in batches of 10 for ￥1000 (so basically ￥100 a pop). The great thing about this is if you’re not looking to drink so much in such a short amount of time, you can split these tickets with a friend or two, or use some now and save others for a later date, since they won’t expire after the day.
Then comes the hard part: you return to your chosen table and then need to flip through the giant binder of all 140+ varieties of sake, organized by brewery. How to choose, how to choose? I enjoy sake a lot, but I am also no expert, and am only familiar with about 1 or 2 Tochigi breweries, as is the friend I went with. Therefore instead of playing a childish game of eenie meenie miney mo, we hatched out a serious action plan to get us what we wanted: choose the breweries with the coolest names, and then choose the most expensive drinks (they have the regular prices listed with each sake offered, although it doesn’t affect the ￥100 tasting fee). We commenced writing down the order numbers (located right next to each individual sake) on our tickets and handed them to the lady at the register, who then gave us our requested sake in the appropriate drinking vessel (of which there are about 7, ranging from short and fat to long and skinny glasses).
Our method of choosing, apparently, was an excellent idea, and I highly recommend it, since it both got us what we wanted (somehow). I prefer fruity sake while my friend prefers a drier, harder taste, so the few that were not to the liking of one were the liking to the other, and we were able to switch those around equally. I can’t give a specific review of each taste because of this, but it is safe to say there is something for everyone–from yuzushu to shochu, and fruity sake to sharper sake.
[Find an opportunity to] Go and you will not be displeased.
Open 5-7 pm, M-F (excluding holidays)