The Harushika Brewery Shop in the Naramachi district of Nara has become as popular with foreign visitors as a must-do experience as eating tuna at Maguro Koya. In fact it's possible to do both one after the other as they are not so far apart, especially if you are on a bicycle.
At Harushika Brewery Shop you can pay a small fee and then sample a variety of Nara's famous sake along with traditional Japanese tsukemono pickles pickled in sake lees (a by-product of the brewing process). As the fount of Japanese culture, Nara can lay claim to being the first place that sake was produced, in a commercial, somewhat mass-produced way by 8th century standards, at least.
The sake tasting lasts about an hour and is conducted by English-speaking guides dressed in happi coats, who explain the different grades of sake and try to answer any questions visitors may have. You will also receive a small Harushika sake cup as a souvenir and can purchase bottles of sake, pickles and sake-flavored ice-cream wafers at the shop.
The sake sampling experience has become very popular among both foreigners and Japanese visiting Nara.
Harushika Brewery Sho
24-1 Fukuchiin-cho, Nara 630-8381
Tel: 0742 23 2255
Hours: 8.15am-5.15pm; closed for Obon in August, New Year and around the 11th of the month.
Admission: Free (small fee for the sake sampling)
Access: The Harushika Brewery Shop is located on the same street as the Imanishike Shoin Traditional House in Naramachi, a little to the east nearer to Fukuchi-in Temple and the main road that runs south from the Nara Hotel.
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