Visits to Sake Brewery


There were 62 sake breweries in Shimo-sannomachi and Kami-ninomachi during the Edo period. Large enamelware is now used to make sake, but in the Edo period barrels made from Japanese cedar were used. This is why present sake breweries still hang a cedar ball under the eaves and they built the sake factories along the river to wash the barrels.

The present Miyagawa-asaichi Street was once the back of those sake breweries and many sake breweries in Shimo-sannomachi washed their barrels on the bare earth with water from Miyagawa River. Today, there are no sake breweries in Miyagawa-asaichi area and they have moved to the Kami-ninomachi area which has no river.

In fact, there were a lot of sake breweries and soy sauce shops in Kami-ninomachi area where one of the streams from the Miyagawa River ran, that indicates sake breweries needed good quality well water and also abundant water to wash barrels.
Most sake breweries were burnt down in a disastrous fire in 1875, and the number of breweries was reduced to nine. In 2010, only seven sake breweries exist which represents the decrease of domestic consumption.


Sake Brewery Tour

Sake making starts when the daytime temperature is low. The temperature of yeast used for sake making rises about 30 degrees when it ferments so that it spoils during summer.
The sake making process takes place in a brewery surrounded with thick walls. Each brewery has its own family crest, handiwork and unique traditional sake making methods.
Sake brewery tours are a very common winter event in Takayama along with watching seasonal sake making at breweries and tasting seasonal sake.


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