In Japan, there are many ways to enjoy the tradition of sake. The rice wine has a long history in Asia, and the art of preparing it, serving it, and drinking it has been passed down across generations for centuries. Although picking up a bottle on your own or ordering some out at a restaurant is nice, if you’ve ever wondered about the process or history behind the beverage then perhaps you should pay a brewery a visit! Breweries offering tours and behind the scenes experiences are scattered across the country, but Kobe residents and visitors are lucky enough to have one of the most famous breweries right in their backyard.
Hakutsuru sake has been around since 1743, and has now risen to popularity as Japan’s number one selling brand. The brand is now sold in over 40 countries and regions worldwide! In 1934, the Kobe-based company opened its doors to visitors interested in learning more about the traditional process of sake brewing. The brewery has both tours available and a museum for guests to visit. Although the history and process are exciting to see up close, most visitors of Hakutsuru would agree that the sake-tasting room offers one of the highlights of their experience there. From various fresh sakes, to other brands carried in store, as well as the popular sake jelly dessert, guests will have the opportunity to get their fill of delicious nihonshu.
As if you needed more reasons to spend your day learning about and tasting Japan’s traditional drink, the tour and museum experience are also completely free. As the summer months move closer, why not escape the heat for some refreshing information and an even more refreshing beverage in accompaniment. If you plan on attending in a large group, reservations are necessary prior to arrival, but otherwise visitors are welcome to drop in anytime during regular business hours.
Hakutsuru Sake Brewery
Location: About a five-minute walk from Hanshin Sumiyoshi station
4-5-5 Sumiyoshi Minami-machi, Higashi Nada Ward, Kobe 658-0041 (map link)
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Last entry 4:00 p.m.
Website (English): http://www.hakutsuru.co.jp/english/