Hyogo Prefecture is the top producer of sake in Japan. "Nada Gogo" is a sake brewing area created from the five regions that prospered in the coastal areas of Kobe City and Nishinomiya City. There are also facilities where you can observe things such as the processes that give sake its defining taste. Have a taste of sake from Nada Gogo, made from mineral-rich water.
Suitable Environment for Sake Brewing: Kobe Sake Breweries
In Nada Gogo, high quality rice and mineral-rich high-quality ground water suitable for sake brewing can be obtained, and the strong, chilled wind blowing down from Mt. Rokko in the northern part of Kobe city is considered to be the best environment for sake brewing during the cold season. In addition to this sake brewing-suitable environment, because of a port making it convenient for transportation of products, it has prospered as a famous production area of sake since the Edo period. Many of the major sake makers started in Nada Gogo, and it is now interspersed with small to medium sized sake stores.
Introduction to the old Sake Brewing Process with Sawanotsuru Museum
A Museum using a Wooden Warehouse built near the end of the Edo Period
This museum introduces the old sake brewing process. It received the "Important Tangible Folk-Cultural Property" designation from Hyogo Prefecture in 1980, and many people visited this famous tourist spot in Kobe, but the building was completely destroyed by the Great Kobe Earthquake of 1995. It was reconstructed in 1999. While retaining the taste of old sake breweries, you can enjoy and experience the tradition of sake brewed in Nada, and Japanese culture there.
Highlights of the Building
The building displays names and how to use old tools that were used in each process, such as the washing place for washing rice, pots used for heating, vats, etc. You can learn about the wisdom of predecessors and the culture of sake brewing in the drifty atmosphere. On top of that, you can also see a model of a Japanese ship used in transporting alcohol. You can also visit a workshop used to squeeze sake from moromi (a soft solid made from fermented raw materials), and a room used in koji production (a process of fermenting steamed rice and cultivating bacteria). How would you like to be exposed to the important processes that go into making sake, and the history behind it? After enjoying the tradition and culture of sake, you can also enjoy Sawanotsuru products, sake-related products, and sake tasting at the "Sawanotsuru Museum Shop" within the building.
- Spot name: Sawanotsuru Museum
- Street Address: 1-29-1 Oishi Minamimachi Nada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken
- Access: Get off at Hanshin Oishi Station, approx. 10-minute walk
Lots of Sake-making Tools on Display at the Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum
Memorial Hall where Rare Tools can be Seen
This is the only facility to display and explain “Sake brewing tools of Nada”, being an Important Tangible Folk-Cultural Property, designated by the country. You can sample various kinds of sake, including freshly squeezed sake, and they even sell snacks that go well with your sake, as well as original goods. The sake store built in Kobe City Mikage was relocated in 1659, and was preserved and opened to the public as a sake brewing memorial, but the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake destroyed the former Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum. After it was destroyed by the earthquake, the Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum was rebuilt completely and opened again, with brewery tools and equipment recovered from the old building.
Characteristics of the Current Memorial
The current memorial, with a total floor area of 1,400m² and having two floors, is fireproof and has an earthquake resistant structure. You can see a traditional style sake brewery, with its tiled roofs and exterior walls and fences. With wooden columns and beams that are over 400 years old, the building has a quaint interior. There are many people who visit throughout the year, and you can experience sake-making that has been passed on for over 350 years without change.
- Spot name: Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum
- Street Address: 1-9-1 Uozaki Nishimachi Higashinada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken
- Access: Transfer to Rokko Island Line (Rokko Liner) from Sumiyoshi Station, get off at Minami-Uozaki Station, approx. 2-minute walk