Sake Glossary
  • Dai Ginjo Shu
  • Genshu
  • Ginjo Shu
  • Honjozo
  • Junmai Daiginjo
  • Junmai Shu
  • Koji
  • Koji Mold (Koji-Kin)
  • Masu
  • Nama Sake (Zake)
  • Nigori Sake
  • Nihonshudo
  • Ochoko
  • Saka Mai
  • Sake Meter Value
  • Seimaibuai
  • Shochu (Soju)
  • Toji
  • Tokkuri
  • Yamadanishiki

Glossary of Ozeki Sake Terms

Learn the basic Japanese sake terms

Dai Ginjo Shu

Highest quality sake made with either Junmai or Honjozo. Rice is polished more than 50%.


Sake that has not been diluted with water to lower alcohol level. Has higher alcohol content than normal sake.

Ginjo Shu

High quality sake made with either Junmai or Honjozo. Rice is polished at least 40%.


A type of sake made by adding distilled alcohol into Junmai Shu to add flavor.

Junmai Daiginjo

Highest quality sake made with pure rice sake and rice polished more than 50%.

Junmai Shu

Sake made with pure rice.


Rice that contains cultivated Koji mold in it. Vital ingredient in making sake.

Koji Mold (Koji-Kin)

Type of mold used in the sake making process. Koji mold is essential to breaking down the starches into sugars which can be fermented to make alcohol.


A square cup made of wood used to drink sake. Usually used on special occasions.

Nama Sake (Zake)

Type of sake that is unpasteurized. Has a more fresh and livelier taste.

Nigori Sake

Unfiltered sake also known as cloudy or milky sake. Color is white due to rice sediment.


See Sake Meter Value.


Small cup used to drink sake. It is similar to a shot glass.

Saka Mai

Sake making rice that is used for brewing sake. This rice variety has a larger kernel and contains less protein than table rice.

Sake Meter Value

To decide whether each sake is dry or sweet, the Sake Meter Value (SMV), or in Japanese the Nihonshu-do,is used for measurement. The SMV measures the density of sake compared to water. The higher the positive number is, the drier the sake becomes, and the lower the negative number is, the sweeter the sake gets.


This refers to a polishing or milling percentage rate of the rice grains. The percentage figure means the amount of the rice kernel that is left after polishing. Seimaibual 40% indicates that 60% of the surface is polished away.

Shochu (Soju)

A Japanese distilled alcohol made from sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, rice and a variety of other raw ingredients. It is similar to vodka, and has a higher alcohol content.


The Japanese term for brewmaster.


Pitcher used to pour sake.


This is a highly acclaimed sake making rice. It is often called the king of sake making rice. It has well-balanced quality of minerals and nutritions that is most suitable for brewing the premium sake. In fact, many sake breweries use Yamadanishiki to brew Ginjo sake. Some critics even say that it is necessary to use this rice variety to win the sake competition.