Visiting Sake brewery and sipping Sake with a view of Mt. Fuji
Enjoying Sake is one of the highlights of a visit to Japan but how about visiting sake tour and learning how to make it? Ide Sake brewery is particularly a special place because it is paired with another of Japan's icons, Mount Fuji!
The town of Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi prefecture may be small when compared to bigger cities like Tokyo or Kyoto, but it is not lacking in fame or popularity.
Most visitors to Japan will know this spot as one of the gateway towns to begin the grueling climb of Mount Fuji. Or, for those less inclined to climb, it is known for having beautiful views of the mountain's snow-covered dome as it towers over the surrounding countryside.
Residents of Japan know this place too, of course, with visitors flocking here in their droves to enjoy the beautiful colors of the changing leaves in autumn or to relax in one of the many ryokans - traditional Japanese inns - with onsen hot springs.
The close proximity to Tokyo and the ease of access with regular bus and train routes make it a popular destination - and, of course, FujiQ Highland amusement park on the outskirts of the town provides another attractive option for thrill-seekers.
But today, I'd like to introduce a less well-known but equally interesting option. Indeed, I had visited Kawaguchiko at least five or six times before becoming aware of it, but quickly added it to my must-do itinerary: sipping sake with a view of Mount Fuji.
Ide Sake Brewery
Ide Sake Brewery (called Ide-jozoten in Japanese), located a short walk from Lake Kawaguchiko and within easy access of Kawaguchiko station, holds twice daily sake brewery tours and tasting events. Guests can enjoy learning about the process of creating sake, from washing the rice and steaming it, to bottling the sake and distributing it.
The knowledgeable guides explain the process in either Japanese or English with informative videos adding to the experience. The tour culminates with a tasting event, where visitors are presented with their own souvenir sake glass to take home with them, which can also be used to sample various types of sake and umeshu (plum wine).
The tasting event takes place inside the gift shop that is attached to the brewery and I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity to buy a bottle of your favorite sake from the tasting event to take home and enjoy later. Why not serve it in your souvenir glass as a pleasant reminder of your visit?
The tours take place at 9.30 am and 3 pm (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) and a reservation can be made online at least one day before you wish to take the tour. Tours last for about one hour and cost a very reasonable ¥800 including the cost of the tasting event.
Being in Kawaguchiko of course means that you are standing in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Ide Sake Brewery is located on the north side of Mount Fuji and on good weather days the mountain's distinctive shape can clearly be spotted as you take part in the tour.
The brewery tour also takes in the beautiful Japanese garden on the premises, making for a truly immersive Japanese cultural experience.
Did you know that you can enjoy such a fun experience with these beautiful views in the background? This is only one of the many interesting options to experience in the Kawaguchiko area.
What others will you enjoy on your next visit?
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