Sake Warmer

sake tanpo

With the arrival of cold weather, kanzake (warmed sake) becomes a more top-of-mind drinking option. For our friends  who enjoy their brew temped, we sought an easy-to-use, inexpensive sake warmer {“sake tanpo (酒タンポ)” }from Japan. This one  is made from aluminum.  To warm sake, pour it into the tanpo and place it into a bath of hot water. It’s a brilliantly simple gadget.  When the sake reaches body temperature (use a meat thermometer), it’s time to remove it from the bath and imbibe.  More on this in an upcoming post about warming sake.

The question lingers though, what does “tanpo” mean? It doesn’t sound Japanese,  but it doesn’t sound English or Portuguese (from which some Japanese words originate), either. After a bit of research, Hiroko discovered the intriguing answer…

Tanpo from comes from yu tanpo (湯たんぽ), a bed warmer, “yu” (湯) means hot water, but “tanpo” is the mysterious word.  It turns out the word “tanpo” originally comes from the Chinese word 湯婆 (tangpo), the character 婆 means “wife.” The idea is that you hold onto your wife to keep you warm in bed. When the term “tanpo” came to Japan in 14th century, Japanese people added the modifier “yu” 湯 to identify the bed warmer.

Therefore, sake tanpo is the warmer of sake.   Pick one up or improvise your own to experiment with the pleasures of atsukan this winter!  We’re happy to recommend a few for you to try…..

Kamoizumi Shusen “Three Dots” Tokubetsu Junmai (Hiroshima)


Daishichi Kimoto “Classic” Junmai (Fukushima)


Naraman Muroka Junmai (Fukushima)


Chiyomusubi Tokubetsu Junmai (Tottori)


Sawanoi Kiokejikomi Iroha Junmai (Tokyo)



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