We arrived in Tokyo and had a Welcome Dinner at a sake izakaya. We met at our Tokyo Hotel, located near Tokyo Station, and as a kick off to our Sake Journey, we headed to a secret, hidden izakaya to experience true micro-brewed Japanese sake in Tokyo!
Visit to Takayama City, Gifu. Today was special as we enjoyed a visit to Takayama in Gifu Prefecture! Takayama is a picture perfect town with many historic buildings and, luckily for us, a cluster of small family-run sake breweries! We walked the quaint downtown of Takayama and visited sake breweries one after another. In the evening we retired to Honshokaku, a world class Japanese inn and onsen hot spring spa. We relaxed with sake and a decadent meal and a visit to the spa.
Exploring Mino City, Gifu. Our day started with a tour of the historic Tenryo Sake Brewery, which is famous for its unique woven sake bottle packaging. After lunch, our next stop was Kosaka Brewery and a chance to design our own custom sake bottle label! After touring Mino City, we tried our hand at making their town’s famous washi paper ourselves. In the evening, we had a special private sake dinner with several brewers from Gifu prefecture – the perfect time to talk with sake makers one on one!
Travel from Gifu to Kyoto and a Free day in Kyoto. After our breakfast in Gifu, we travelled by first class bullet train to the ancient capital of Kyoto. In this magnificent city, we will start with a free day to explore Kyoto. On this day, we roamed far and wide and explore Kyoto at your leisure. This was our day for relaxing and shopping and taking in all the splendors of Kyoto. In the evening, we visted our favorite sake spots and enjoyed the best nihonshu and food kyoto has to offer.
Kyoto to Kanazawa We started the day touring Kanazawa’s Yoshida brewery, makers of the delicious Tedorigawa brand of sake. After a Brewery tour and tasting we enjoyed the best fish Kanazawa has to offer at our magnificent sushi lunch.
Travel from Kanazawa to Niigata City. Kanazawa to Niigata. We then journeyed by train to Niigata City. Upon arriving in Niigata City, we enjoyed the “Ponshukan” – a heavenly spot for sake lovers.
Travel to Hakkaisan Sake Brewery. Next we visited one of the most famous Breweries in Japan: Hakkaisan Sake Brewery. After a tour of the sake brewery, we enjoyed lunch at Hakkaisan’s delicious Soba Restaurant and toured their beautiful and brand new sake snow storage facility. In the evening we dined at a private dinner with the executives of Hakkaisan, enjoying rare sakes not for sale to the general public. Later, we relaxed in the evening at a beautiful local onsen resort.
Travel from Hakkaisan for a final izakaya night in Tokyo. The next morning had us starting our day with a traditional kurabito “brewery worker’s” breakfast at Hakkaisan Brewery. After breakfast, we walked the beautiful grounds of Hakkaisan, visited the unique “snow storage” sake facility, do some shopping and grabbed a coffee and Hakkaisan “baumkuchen” in their cafe. We also had a really fun cooking class! Next, we went by first class bullet train back to Tokyo and spent our final night together at a fun, hidden and local Tokyo Izakaya. It was a wonderful way to cap off our tour!
Our final relaxing morning in Tokyo. Breakfast was included at our hotel. We had wonderful memories of our Sake Journey!