Showing posts with label sake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sake. Show all posts

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Hizen Hamashuku Sakagura Street Preservation District


Along the banks of the Hama River in the southern part of what is now Kashima City in Saga Prefecture in Kyushu, Hizen Hamashuku was a town that grew up along the Tara Kaido, a branch of the Nagasaki Kaido.

The area around a 600-meter-long section of the old road is named Sakagura Street and is now a registered preservation district of traditional architecture.

Among the traditional stores and homes are three surviving sake breweries from among the thirteen that originally dominated the area.

Touring the traditional sake breweries and sampling the many varieties still produced here is now the many attraction that draws tourists from far and wide.

In combination with 3 other sake breweries in Kashima, including one near the famous Yutoku Inari Shrine, major sake festivals are held in the Spring and Autumn.

I am not a big fan of sake, so for me the area was of more interest because of the traditional architecture.

Other than the sake breweries there are souvenir shops, cafes, and eateries,

Sakagura Street is just a few minutes walk from Hizenham JR Station.

Just off the main street is an old, thatched, former samurai residence that I will cover next post.

The previous post in this series chronicling day 59 of my Kyushu walk was the nearby Yutoku Inari Shrine.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara.

At the northern end of the historic district of Takehara in Hiroshima is the former sake brewery of Fujii Shuzo.

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara.

Founded in 1863, the company is still making sake but at a different location.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction with some historic exhibits connected to sake making and a shop selling local crafts and souvenirs.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.

It is possible to taste the different sakes and buy them. There is also a soba noodle restaurant within the premises.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Brief Guide to Museums of Hita

Museums of Hita 日田市

Whisky Museum

I visited Hita, a small, historic town near the border of Fukuoka in Oita, several times, the first being on day 53 of my walk around Kyushu on pilgrimage. I quite enjoyed the town and there was plenty to see in and around the Historic Preservation District, including a range of museums. The Whisky Museum was closed when I was there but it has a collection of 30,000 whiskeys and paraphernalia that have been collected by the owner since he was 13. If alcohol is your thug then there is a sake museum in the local brewery.

Museum in Hita.
Museum in Hita

In the Mamedamachi historic district, there are half a dozen small museums in the old houses and storehouses, including the Hirose Museum, and the Tenryo Hita Museum.

Exhibits include artifacts from wealthy merchants, the samurai bureaucrats who ran the town, and folk art and such.

Not to be missed is the Hita Gion Museum which houses the huge floats used in the towns Gion Festival, as well as other matsuri-related  objects and artworks.

There is a modern museum housing exhibits connected to the famous private academy, Kangien, and its founder , Hirose Tanso. Adjacent to the museum are two remaining buildings of the academy from the Edo period, Shufuan, and Enshiro.

The most popular museum I suspect is the Hina Doll Museum with its collection of more than 4,000 hina dolls, but it also has a few other historical displays not doll-related.

Shop Japan

Monday, February 28, 2022

Kuncho Sake Brewery & Museum

Sake 酒

Just about every town in Japan, large or small, has at least one sake brewery.

In Hita the biggest, Kuncho Shuzo Sake Brewery is located on the edge of Mamedamachi, the historic preservation district of the old town.

To get to the brewery's museum you walk through the front part of the brewery past the huge pots that cook the rice for the sake.

The "museum" is actually just the huge attic space filled with old barrels and assorted , mostly wooden, tools and equipment, some of which is labeled

It's quite a big space, filled with stuff, and would eprhaps be interesting to some.

They have a big shop with a wide range of sakes and masu cups available. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of sake, nor of most alcohol, so I can't comment on its quality.

Wild Japan

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Buzen Kaido in Yamaga


Buzen was the histoical name for a small province in the north of Kyushu, and the Buen kaido was a "road" that connected the south of Kyushu with the north and from there on to the rest of japan, specifically Osaka and Kyoto.

Yamaga lay on this road and the old main street of the town is called Buzen Kaido. It is lined with historical shops and businesses, noticeably the obligatory sake brewery. One of the sake breweries has a nice museum devoted to historical things.

It is similar to many preservation districts around the country but is not registered as such. As far as I can make out Kumamoto has no preservation districts at all.

I visited very early in the mprn9ng on my way out of town and was surprised that a few shops were already open.

Like other small towns that claim to be "Little Kyotos", it is possible to rent kimonos for memorable photo shoots around the town.

Buy tatami direct from Japan

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tondo food & drink

Upon arriving at Tondo matsuri the first thing to do is get a drink of Kappo Zake, sake poured into a piece of bamboo that is then heated in coals and drunk from a bamboo cup. It really is delicious with a hint of bamboo flavor.
While the men are busy warming their butts by the coals, drinking sake, the ladies of the village are busy preparing food.
On the altar in front of the bonfire is a bottle of sake. In this form it is called Omiki. More on that later.
Once the fire is underway time to tuck in. First course is Nanakusa no sekku, rice porridge with the 7 herbs of spring. I asked the ladies which 7 plants were used and they said the standard ones, though I suspect there was some local variation. There usually is, though local people will believe their version is the national version. The official list is Seri (japanese parsley) Nazuna (shepherds purse) Gogyo (Jersey cudweed) Hakobera (chickweed) Hotokenoza (henbit) Suzuna (turnip) Suzushiro (daikon) Being a barbarian I found the porridge almost tasteless........ some milk and sugar would have helped.....
Main course was a huge pot of Wild Boar stew.... from the hills around the village, with masses of vegetables and tofu. Really tasty. Ive spoken with lots of "town" Japanese who have never eaten wild boar. They tell me it smells. They also say that mutton and turkey smells.
Over the coals mochi are toasted. Big pass for me. Can't stand mochi, though there was also Zenzai, which is mochi cooked up in a sweet bean sauce. Thats OK.
Finally the Omiki, though not the usual omiki. This is Kinpakku Iri, sake with gold flakes added. The gold flakes have no meaning, there are simply to make the sake expensive. I like Tondo. Lots of free food and drink and everyone is in good spirits.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sexy Kappa?


The Kappa, Japanese water imp, does on occasion behave kindly to humans, but mostly it is a malevolent creature, so it is not surprising that traditional representations of it portray it as a rather vicious-looking animal, as in these pictures at the excellent Onmark site.

Contemporary representations of Kappa however tend to portray it as "kawaii", cute, cartoon-like, childish. I have yet to read a convincing explanation as to why contemporary Japanese culture is obsessed with kawaii, but if anyone knows of any I would like to hear it. A few examples can be found here

But there is another representation that is found nowadays, that of the sexy female kappa.

The above design is found on vending machines for Kizakura brand sake, and she is certainly well-endowed.


This one, also amply-endowed, is on a bridge in the village of Izuha up in the mountains near here. The statue commemorates an annual race held here, the Suichu Kappa Ekiden, which is a "road race" that takes place in the river.

Monday, December 7, 2009

O-miki by the barrel

A morning at Matsuo Shrine 4450

A huge stack of sakedaru (sake barrels) at Matsuo Shrine near Kyoto. Matsuo is the home of the patron kami of sake brewers.


Sake when offered to the kami is known as O-miki. It is one of the primary offering (shinsen) to the kami. After a ceremony the omiki will be shared among the participants and congregation.

I don't drink sake, but gladly drink omiki.

A morning at Matsuo Shrine 4449

The wooden sakedaru are wrapped in a ricestraw blanket to protect them during transportation.

48 Hours. 225 of 600

Most of the major shrines will have a stack of sakedaru, usually, but not always, donated by brewers.