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The Mainichi Newspaper reports on sake breweries stepping up their accessibility for tourists ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The article states that Japanese sake breweries are putting effort into both increasing exports of sake and “sakagura tourism” aimed at foreign visitors. One brewery making the effort is Izumibashi, which exports to China, southeast Asia, Australia and other destinations.

The brewery is close to Tokyo, making it accessible for visiting restauranteurs and those involved in the tourism industry. In July 2017, they held the first study meeting at the Japan Sake and Shōchū Makers Association in Tokyo to look into training people to give brewery tours in English.

While there were guides who spoke multiple languages they tended to not know much about sake or the brewing process, and guides who did know about sake weren’t able to express that knowledge in another language, meaning there were very few people who could act as a guide in a brewery.

Around 20 brewery representatives and members of the interpreting industry attended the meeting. They were guided around the brewery by American Justin Potts, who holds the Sake Service Institute’s advanced qualification of sakashō (酒匠), and received hints and tips for sake-related vocabulary in English, and making sure overseas visitors enjoy themselves as they appreciate the charms of the sake brewery.