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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Japan

Taste your way round Kyoto’s sake district, Fushimi

Nearly 40 breweries line Kyoto’s historic Fushimi Sake District, which has been producing this famous rice wine since the 14th century…

By Hiroko Wakayama
Kyoto Tour Guide

Nearly 40 sake breweries line Kyoto’s historic Fushimi Sake District, which has been producing this famous rice wine since the 14th century. It’s the second-biggest sake-producing region in Japan, and home to the world’s leading sake producer, Gekkeikan Sake Okura Museum.

We visit the museum on a half-day tour of the district (it’s a private tour, so you’ll only be with your group), learning about the history of sake and how it’s made – it’s mostly produced in winter, because the fermentation process needs cold temperatures. We learn about the different ingredients used; the purity of water, the different types of rice and the polishing process all produce different grades and varieties.

We then get to taste some of the different varieties produced at the Gekkeikan brewery next door, which is normally guests’ favourite part of the tour! We also take the group on a guided walk around the streets, and visit Gokonomiya Shrine, which is famous for its healing waters, fed from underground springs.

After tasting the sake at Gekkeikan we walk to the Kizakura Kappa Country, a brewery and restaurant where you can try other varieties and choose to stay for lunch.

I love guiding this tour because the area is fascinating; there are so many sake breweries clustered together here, and it’s amazing to see all the rows of wooden warehouses. It’s filled with beautiful waterways, traditional houses and historic temples, and the area is known for its yakitori chicken too (skewers cooked in sweet, sticky glaze). It’s also the place where the Edo hero Sakamoto Ryoma was shot by Shogunate officials, so there’s lots of interesting history to learn about. There’s something for everyone, sake-lovers or not!

Categories

  • Culture
  • Food & Drink
  • Trips to take

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Alfred & Hiroko Wakayama

Hiroko has been a tour guide in Kyoto for seven years. She grew up in Tokyo before moving to Osaka, where she worked as an editor of a medical journal. She later decided to become a tour guide and share her love of travel with visitors from all over the world.  She has travelled in Europe as well as across Japan – but with more than 1,000 years of history, her favourite city is still Kyoto.

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in Japan. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the tea devotee who'll introduce you to the ceremony surrounding Japan's national drink, the noodle guru who'll teach you how to make the perfect bowl of soba and the ryokan owner who'll tutor you in the relaxing art of the onsen.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656