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Sake... Spotlighting Kitakata!

September 8, 2016

Page 3

Taking a look – and a sip – at Kitakata's sake breweries

A trip to Kitakata would not be complete without stopping by at least one of its eleven sake breweries, some of which offer tours where you can learn about the history and brewing processes, and taste their latest sake. Here are four breweries I visited, which I feel is a reasonable number for a whistle-stop weekend tour of education rather than inebriation...

Aizu Homare Sake Brewery

Photo: Phoebe Amoroso

Kosaku Karahashi, the great-grandfather of current president, Hiroyuki Karahashi, founded the brewery in 1918. Originally a merchant who sold rice wholesale to sake companies, when some of these customers went bankrupt, he bravely expanded into the brewing business himself. Visitors can sample sake in Unreian, a traditional-style building next to a spectacular Japanese garden created by Kosaku Karahashi himself. Tours are available on weekdays but please enquire in advance.

Address: 2706, Tokiwa-cho, Muramatsu, Matsuyama-machi, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima 966-0902
Tel: +81-241-22-5155

Ohara Sake Brewery

Photo: Phoebe Amoroso

Founded in 1717, Ohara is renowned for its highly unusual production method of playing Mozart to the sake during the brewing process, to make the taste fruity and mild. Visitors can tour the brewery building, which is over 280 years old.

Address: 2846, Minami-machi, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima 966-0074
Tel: +81-241-22-0074

Kitanohana Sake Brewery

Photo: Phoebe Amoroso

Established in 1919, this is the youngest of all the breweries in the city. President Keishi Hoshi’s daughter Rie Hoshi and her husband Shinya Hoshi make sake under his instruction using all Fukushima-sourced ingredients: water from Mt. Iide, locally sourced low-pesticide rice, and Fukushima yeast. They run tours that they call the “Sake Cram School”.

Address: 4924 Maeda, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima 966-0862
Tel: +81-241-22-0268

Yamatogawa Sake Brewery

Photo: Phoebe Amoroso

Established in 1790, Yamatogawa prides itself on using only Kitakata water and Kitakata rice, which they cultivate on their own farm. Visitors can tour the old storehouse known as “Hoppo Fudo Kan”, which is a landmark in central Kitakata. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, the exhibits are visually stimulating, with old sake making tools, photographs and explanatory diagrams. Rice at different levels of polishing is on display.

Address: 4761 Teramachi, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima 966-0861
Tel: +81-241-22-2233

Text: Phoebe Amoroso