Saijo is a hidden gem for sake fans. The town has eight breweries, seven of which are situated along Sakagura-dori (Sake Brewery Street). On our tour we will take a stroll through the historic streets going from brewery to brewery to enjoy samples of local sake. Saijo breweries are concentrated in such a tight area because of the “shikomi mizu,” the water that is essential for producing sake. Hailed as a “miracle water” with a medium hardness suited to sake brewing, it bubbles under the ground of this area in the Saijo district. What’s more is that apparently there are subtle differences in the water’s components according to a brewery’s location. Shikomi mizu is an absolute must for sake. The tour begins with a tasting and sake explanation at Kamotsuru. This sake brewery is representative of Hiroshima sake. Kamotsuru boasts an impressive line up of 12 unique bottles. Visiting this spot first we will see many artifacts and learn about the brewing process. Please note: that the sake brewing process in not available to the public in Japan due to sanitary and health inspection regulations.
After our first brewery visit, we will head off to try a local specialty hot-pot dish made with premium sake, called Bishu Nabe, and other tasting plates made with Saijo ingredients. Learn about the history of this tasty dish at a local lunch spot. (bishu nabe must be ordered in advance so please not last minute bookings for the tour are possible but we may have an alternate lunch menu) After lunch, stroll the picturesque streets and go brewery hoping. Tasting rooms are each unique and you can sample many kinds of sake and sake based products. Visit a local cafe and enjoy sweets and a snack break inspired by Japanese rice wine. At each brewery will sit be able to sample different kinds of sake. If you find a type you like, the brewery shops carry a huge variety for you to purchase and take home.