Indulge in Sake and Japan’s Cultural Legacy
Sake expert John Gauntner’s lecture at the actual brewery helps to deepen your knowledge and even boost your passion for sake.
February through March is the new sake season. To coincide perfectly with this timing, two sake tours that are fit for sake lovers of all levels will be offered. Guided by a bilingual tour leader, the educational sake brewery tours also introduce Japan’s culinary delights while enjoying the traditional culture and breathtaking scenery in a unique travel experience.
On the Akita Tour, participants can explore the snow country of Akita and visit four special breweries not open to the general public, on a private tour and tasting, introducing you to different aspects of the brewing tradition. With the tour designed to help you discover, first hand, the area’s specialties, an expert will provide private lessons on local cuisine, and get the chance to make regional soba noodles in a beautifully maintained, historical kura, or storehouse. You will have ample opportunities to learn Japanese traditions and history with a special visit to a brewer’s private estate, as well as visit Kakunodate, a well-preserved, Edo-era quarter, famous for their samurai history, and a visit to Masuda, to see the unique architectural style kura. At famous Nyuto Onsen, you can bathe in a milky, open-air hot springs set against the deep white snow.
On the other hand, with remnants of a thriving medieval period, the San-In region allows participants to experience Japan’s cultural heritage. Two private brewery tours and tastings are included, jam packed with special food experiences. Try a vegetarian shojin ryori monk lunch at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Yasugi, as well as seasonal matsuba-gani (snow crab) dinner. In addition to visiting artisan producers of special local foods using traditional methods, like soy sauce, Matsue, is a refined tea culture center where you can enjoy a private tea ceremony and tour a traditional Japanese sweets maker. You will also get a chance to visit the tranquil coastal onsen town of Yunotsu, where you can soak and relax in the hot springs. Furthermore, the tour will pay a visit to the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whichever tour suits you best, enjoy learning and tasting, first hand, regional sake, as well as have plenty of sightseeing opportunities to some of Japan’s best-kept treasures.
In addition to their established sake culture, Akita Prefecture, a snowy, northern territory, and San-in area with its medieval cultural heritage both have unique features that will charm any visitor. Sake Brewery Tours also offers additional optional tours and packages, to cater to your interests and to best suit your traveling pace. Sake Brewery Tours provides two tours in very unique regions of Japan to places off the beaten track: Akita in northern Tohoku, and San-In in southwest Chugoku. Both tours include a special, intimate lecture by leading sake expert, John Gauntner.
Onsen hot springs are one of the beloved cultures in Japan. Both of the sake tours include onsen experiences.
Akita Tour (February 27-March 2) Itinerary
DAY 1 – Yuri Honjo and Yokote
-Sake lecture with John Gauntner and interview with master brewer at Yuki no Bosha brewery
-Onsen hot spring hotel and private minyo folksong performance
DAY 2 – Yokote
-Ama no To brewery sake tour
-Masuda area tour of historical storehouses
-Special viewing of historical kura at Hinomaru Jozo brewery
DAY 3 – Daisen
-Akita Seishu brewery and historical estate tour
-Soba making experience
-Exploring Kakunodate Edo-period quarter at leisure
DAY 4 – Kakunodate and Nyuto Onsen
-Akita cuisine cooking lesson
-Nyuto Onsen hot spring
DAY 5 – Nyuto Onsen
-Explore area at leisure
San-In Tour (March 12-16) Itinerary
DAY 1 – Yonago and Sakaiminato, Tottori
-Sake lecture with John Gauntner at Chiyomusubi Shuzo brewery
-Mizuki Shigeru Road visit to see the manga icon’s legacy
-Matsuda-gani snow crab dinner
DAY 2 – Yasugi and Matsue, Shimane
-Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Shojin Ryori lunch
-Adachi Museum of Art
DAY 3 – Matsue, Shimane
-Rihaku Shuzo sake brewery tour
-Visit to artisanal soy sauce producer
-Private tea ceremony and “wagashi” sweets making lesson
DAY 4 – Izumo and Yunotsu, Shimane
-Explore at leisure
-Optional tour to Toyo no Aki sake brewery
-Visit to Izumo Grand Shrine
-Visit to Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
-Yunotsu onsen town
DAY 5 – Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Shimane and Hiroshima
-Explore at leisure
-Visit Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
-Home-style lunch at samurai residence, Abe-ke
-Trip to Hiroshima at leisure