When in Japan, you are likely to drink sake. Yet most people have no clue what to order and how to distinguish different types. I participated in a structured tasting of the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience
https://kyotosakeexperience.com/. It was an excellent introduction. You learn about the different dimensions, for example the importance of water (20 litres are needed for 1kg of rice), the different grains of rice, different polishing levels, added alcohol or not, different sweetness and different acidity. There are now also nonpasteurised and non diluted sakes, a bit similar to natural wines. These cannot easily be exported, as they need to be fresh and chilled. The presentation given was clear and well structured.
There are some surprises. For example, less polished rice does not lead to inferior sake. It just means there are more proteins and minerals in the drink, whereas the more polished ones are of pure starch, leading to more delicate and fruity sake, which the Japanese prefer. I liked the less polished sakes, the Junmais, for their rice taste and complexity. So did my host.
The different sakes are tasted on their own, and then with food. The differences are striking and the pairings illuminating.
This was an excellent experience, which I can highly recommend. I will now order sake in a much more informed way.