Sawanotsuru Sake Museum in the Nada-ku district of Kobe is one of several sake breweries that also have "sake museums," stores and tasting areas as part of their promotional operations.
Nada-ku has a long history of sake brewing thanks to the fine water than comes from nearby Mt. Rokko and bubbles to earth from the many springs in the area.
Kobe's closeness to the sea meant that its sake could easily be transported to other areas of Japan. Indeed, Sawanotsuru will be celebrating 300 years of history next year having started out back in 1717 during the Edo Period. Sawanotsuru produces junmai-shu - sake made only from rice.
The historic, wooden building that was once the Oishi sake brewery is now a museum that displays traditional sake-making utensils such as the metal cauldrons and huge wooden vats necessary to produce sake. Visitors can also see models of Japanese-style ships that transported the sake as far afield as Tokyo and Hokkaido.
The wooden building was completely destroyed in the 1995 Hanshin Awaji Earthquake and was then subsequently rebuilt, opening in 1999. During this rebuilding process, an underground cellar, the funaba, used for pressing sake out of fermented mash was discovered and restored.
The museum shop offers free samples and difficult-to-source Sawanotsuru brand sake.
Sawanotsuru Sake Museum
Oishi Minami-machi 1-29-1
Nada-ku, Kobe, 657-0852
Tel: 078 882 7788
Sawanotsuru Sake Museum is 10 minutes on foot south from Hanshin Oishi Station following the Toga River.
Other sake museum/breweries in Nada-ku include Shushinkan, Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Sakuramasamune, Hamafukutsuru Ginjo, Kobe Konan Muko no Sato and Kikumasamune.
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