How about visiting the area of Nada-Gogo and exploring the history of Sake?
Nada-Gogo (‘The Five Villages of Nada’) refers to a Sake-brewing region including Higashinada-ku and Nada-ku in Kobe city, and Nishinomiya city.
This region has been blessed with the ingredients appropriate for Sake brewing – rice from the Banshu area (old name for Hyogo prefecture) and Miyamizu water – and the cold winds from the Rokko mountains and the Seto Inland Sea area’s climate that help in brewing, as well as the technique of the Tamba Toji, makers, and the advantageous location of Nishinomiya’s harbor suitable for transporting the Sake. The area has prospered as a famous Sake-brewing region since the Edo period, and continues to be famous as the largest Sake brewing region in Japan.
Around a 15-minute walk from Nishinomiya station, there is a location where famous Sake breweries stand in a row along Sakaguradori (‘Sake brewery road’).
A little further south from there is Hakushika Memorial Sake Museum’s “Brewery Hall” that operates within a wooden storage house from the Meiji period.
Within the “Brewery Hall” you can find an exhibition of brewing equipment, buckets and barrel making tools that are designated Hyogo prefecture’s and Nishinomiya city’s significant tangible folk cultural assets displayed as they are.
You can have a look at Sake brewing methods employed during the Meiji period when everything was done manually.
Life-size mannequins of Sake brewery workers portray how the tools of the time were used.
With “Saketzukuri Uta” (the Brewing Song) sung by Sake brewery workers playing in the background, the exhibition shows the brewing process in a way that gives a feeling of movement, so that even those unfamiliar with the process can understand distinctly the flow of Sake brewing.
Sake brewing is very much part of Japanese culture, but by seeing the tools made from cedar wood among other natural materials, and hearing the history of how everything was carefully made manually, I think one can rediscover the charm of Sake brewing culture passed on for generations by the pioneers.
Also, within the neighboring “Memorial Hall” there is an exhibition that includes paintings and calligraphy as well as handicrafts and other objects connected with Sake.
Within this hall, the culture of Sake consumption culture is also introduced. Together with scrolls depicting Japan’s four seasons and beautiful bowls, Sake can be enjoyed with the five senses.
This kind of ‘chic’ must have naturally blended in the way of enjoying Sake within the everyday lives of the people of Nada at the time.
After visiting both the “Brewery Hall” and “Memorial Hall”, please savor the luxury of the Sake made in this region to your heart’s content.
A taste of the local products made for local consumption adds greatly to the enjoyment.
This is the real pleasure of the journey!
Hakushika Memorial Sake Museum /”Brewery Hall” “Memorial Hall”
Address: 8-21 Kurakake-cho, Nishinomiya city, Hyogo Prefecture
Telephone: 0798-33-0008 (Representative)
Opening hours: 10.00~17.00
Entrance fee: (Including Brewery Hall and Memorial Hall) Regular ticket JPY400 – Elementary & Middle school students JPY200 (Special exhibitions at a separate fee)
Closed: Every Tuesday (In case Tuesday is a national holiday, closed on the following day, also closed during the summer & New Year holidays)
Access: 15-minute walk South from Hanshin Nishinomiya train station
URL: http://www.hakushika.co.jp/museum/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Makoto Esaki & Yoko Suganami / 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. http://www.rainbowsake.com
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