When talking about Iwakuni, people are sure to mention Kintai Bridge – one of Japan’s three most famous bridges!
But have you heard of ‘Gokyo’ – a refined Sake with a name taken from Kintai Bridge?
We took a tour of Sakai Brewery, which was founded in the Meiji era (1871). It’s around a 7-minute drive from Iwakuni station.
Gokyo is refreshing with an overall tender, rounded taste – perhaps that’s why it’s so popular with the ladies!
Although its flavor is very refined, it carries a hint of nostalgia and warmth – a very profound Sake.
When you visit the brewery, you are shown the harmonious balance of modern and time-honored techniques, including the use of traditional wooden barrels.
The heart of Gokyo Sake brewing is ‘terroir’!
‘Terroir’ is a general term that refers to features such as the soil, the field in which the rice crops are grown, the climate and other natural factors that contribute to the rice-growing environment.
Sakai Brewery holds a preference for Sake brewing combining the trinity of “rice, water and people” born of Yamaguchi prefecture’s climate.
The brewer’s rice used is all grown in Yamaguchi prefecture.
Water for brewing is drawn from Yamaguchi prefecture’s largest stream: A Nishiki River underground soft water stream leading to a well inside the brewery.
And then the Yamaguchi prefecture-born chief brewer and workers…
As local people brew Gokyo Sake, the brewing process takes the local cuisine into consideration, as well.
The soft tenderness and warmth of Gokyo Sake may be the result of this terroir!
After taking the tour, how about having a cup of Gokyo Sake while looking at Kintai Bridge and enjoying appetizers made with Seto Inland Sea seafood, Nishiki River sweetfish, and the Chukoku mountain area’s harvest, and other delicious ingredients?
The brewery offers tours all year round, excluding January and February.
A rarity in the modern age and a must-see part of the tour is the traditional ‘kiokezukuri’ wooden barrel brewing system.
Sakai Brewery Co.,Ltd.
Address: 1 Chome-1-31 Nakazumachi, Iwakuni city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Tours: Reservation only (can be made by telephone or by using the online form):
Tour hours: 10.00 AM~12.00 PM 1.00 PM ~4.00 PM
Holidays: Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Makoto Esaki & Yoko Suginami (Rainbow Sake Co., Ltd.)
Yoko Suganami Rainbow Sake, Inc. After an extended stay in Hawaii, in 2011, I returned to my hometown of Kure, Hiroshima. Having worked at advertising companies in both Japan and Hawaii, I founded Rainbow Sake - a PR company with the goal of spreading Sake abroad. I hope that sake will ""bring the people of the world together"" and that I can be a part of that. I often travel abroad, and mostly to Hawaii and Singapore. Every time I come back home, I rediscover the beauty of my hometown and the happiness the easygoing, calm, fresh and simple sea and mountains of Setouchi bring.
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