A renowned area for sake in Japan
Saijo, which is located in a 250-300m basin, has the ideal environmental conditions for brewing sake with its cool air and underground water flowing from Mt. Ryuou. Due to the innovation of modern techniques, there is also a rice milling manufacturer in the town which arose from the birth of the Ginjoshu genre of sake. In front of Saijo Station, there is a boulevard which is lined with the sake breweries, and there are many buildings which evoke a feeling of history in the area of red-brick chimneys with breweries with their white walls and special namako walls. At the Saijo Sakagura Boulevard Tourist Information Center next to the information center by Higashi-Hiroshima Station, you should check out beforehand the breweries which are open to the public on weekends and holidays.
A brewery tour for sake fans
Kamotsuru Brewery is Saijo’s largest brewery. Kamotsuru Special Gold is a true gem which has become known as the sake that US President Obama had drunk during his visit to Japan in 2014. Fukubijin is another brewery which has won consecutive prizes in national sake competitions. Within this brewery, there is a well which helps prepare the brewing of its sake, and the well water can be freely drawn. At Kamoizumi Brewery, there is the Sakaizumi-kan facility which provides a café and a shop. There is also a very interesting menu which includes a sampling set. You can learn about the sake brewing process at each of the breweries, and since you can sample sake there, it is perfect for the sake fans.
The Sake Festival which attracts more than 200,000 people annually
The Sake Festival is held at the beginning of October. 1000 national brands of local sake can be sampled, and around Sakagura Boulevard, every brewery holds elaborate events such as concerts. At a large banquet hall, bishonabe hot pot is the regional cuisine of Higashi Hiroshima. Sake is liberally poured into the pot and with just some salt and pepper to taste, the dish is popular for its simple taste that will appeal even to children and those who can’t drink sake.