The Japanese Friendship Garden & San Diego Sake Club Launch New Sake Program

The Japanese Friendship Garden and San Diego Saké Club have collaborated to create the KANPAI Sake Program at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Members will learn the history and process of making sake from the experts, and partake in this unique beverage, from drinking sake at different temperatures to learning about a variety of cups.

Meet The KANPAI Sake Program Instructor, Ayaka Ito

Ayaka Ito is a Certified Kikizakeshi (sake sommelier, essentially) and co-owner of Beshock Ramen & Sake Bar in East Village and Carlsbad, as well as the organizer of the largest Sake event of the year, the San Diego Sake Festival.

Born in Nagoya, Japan, she began living abroad when she was 15 in Canada and from there continued to Hawaii and South Korea for several more years; experiencing many diverse cultures and lifestyles along the way.

The world of saké was introduced to her when she was working as a long-term volunteer in Miyagi prefecture after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. Eastern Japan carries a good variety of local saké and it was an eye-opening experience for her to come upon this time-honored gem in her own homeland.

From there she discovered her life passion: to proudly introduce the national beverage of her country by becoming a certified Kikizakeshi (sake sommelier, essentially).

In 2014 she achieved this goal but felt that her journey had only just begun. To expand her knowledge and to fulfill her curiosity, she continues to visit a variety of Sake breweries throughout Japan.

She has been one of the leading authorities on sake in San Diego since 2016, and truly enjoys bringing the story of sake to San Diego – including her new collaboration with the Japanese Friendship Garden.

See you there

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in Balboa Park, and is absolutely beautiful – we make a point of visiting as often as we can. Now we have another reason to go!

For more updates on JFG and the SD Sake Club, visit the website here and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

See you there, San Diego!

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