New: Sake Brewery Tours!

sake_world_bannerHave you ever wanted to tour Japan and visit the places where sake is made? I just heard about an amazing opportunity to do just that!! Sake-World expert John Gaunter and TokyoFoodCast dynamo Etsuko Nakamura are undertaking something I had always wished existed – Sake Brewery Tours!

John and Etsuko have two sake brewery tours set up for early 2010. I’m telling you – these are not to be missed and they couldn’t be lead by more knowledgeable or nicer people. It’s a rare opportunity to peek inside the closed world of the Sake Brewer and see the delicious day to day live of making the world’s best beverage.

Here are the details:
Sake Brewery Tour of Japan’s Kansai Region

Kansai Region

Kansai Region

Feb. 23 – Feb. 27, 2010
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>Download PDF Brochure

February 23, 2010 (Tuesday) Kyoto
You will arrive at Karasuma Kyoto Hotel by individually arranged transportation.

February 24, 2010 (Wednesday) Fushimi, Kyoto
The day begins with a half-day lecture by John Gauntner to prepare you for our brewery visits. The collection of brewing tools and bottles spanning all eras of the industry at the Gekkeikan Sake Museum deepens your knowledge. We make our first brewery visit in the scenic and historic Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City, an area that continues to prosper as one of the two brewing capitals in Japan and as the home to more than twenty breweries.

February 25, 2010 (Thursday) Kyoto Optional Tour
You may choose to spend the day leisurely exploring Kyoto on your own, or make an optional visit to Tenryuji Zen Monastery in Arashiyama. After wandering among the deep, tranquil bamboo groves, enjoy the stunning view from the impeccably manicured Japanese garden at the private estate of the late silent movie star, Ōkōchi Sansō. Then, we visit Matsuo Taisha, dedicated to the god of sake brewing, which is worshiped and visited by almost every brewer in the nation. A visit to the serene moss garden at Saihō-ji, also known as the Moss Temple, will leave you with peaceful memories of the ancient capital.

February 26, 2010 (Friday) Kobe and Osaka
In the morning, we will visit another brewery in Kobe, the largest brewing center in the country, and continue to Osaka for a castle visit. The final kura tour and dinner at an historic brewery will leave everyone with beautiful memories.

February 27, 2010 (Saturday) Kyoto
On the last day in Kyoto, the morning begins with a walk down the passageways of one of Kyoto’s main fish and vegetable markets, Nishiki Market. There is a wide selection of pickles, specialty local vegetables (Kyo-yasai), bean curd, and traditional Japanese cooking tools to delight any foodie. After an early lunch at the market, a visit to Nijo Castle is the feast for the eyes with sumptuous artwork from the Edo period at the Shogun’s residence and the strolling garden designed by Kobori Enshu.

Sake Brewery Tour of Japan’s Sanin Region

Sanin Region

Sanin Region

March 15 – March 19, 2010
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>Download PDF Brochure

March 15, 2010 (Monday) Yonago, Tottori
You will arrive at Yonago Airport or JR Yonago station in Tottori individually and transfer to the Hotel.

March 16, 2010 (Tuesday) Yonago and Sakaiminato, Tottori
A half-day lecture by John Gauntner prepares you for our journey. In Sakaiminato, enjoy the first brewery tour and tasting right in the heart of very popular Mizuki Shigeru Road where statues of spooky yet very comical characters welcome visitors. Then, stroll in the beautiful Japanese gardens of the Adachi Museum of Art and enjoy their collection of Japanese paintings by renowned artists, most notably, Yokoyama Taikan.

March 17, 2010 (Wednesday) Matsue, Shimane
Private car takes you to Matsue. This beautiful city surrounded by water is often called “ the Venice of Japan ”. Start the day by visiting a sake brewery. From the brewery, explore the beautiful historical city on foot and on by small boat through the canals surrounding the castle. Savory banquet-style dinner served with local sake at a Japanese-style inn.

March 18, 2010 (Thursday) Izumo and Yunotsu, Shimane
In the morning, visit one more sake brewery. Then, wander the Izumo Grand Shrine, one of Japan’s most ancient and important shrines. A visit to the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo to browse through the stunning collection of historical discoveries gives you insights into the pre-historic myth, religion, and history of this old crossroads. In the evening, stay at the quaint, tiny coastal onsen town of Yunotsu and enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening. Banquet style dinner and sake are served at the ryokan.

March 19, 2010 (Friday) Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Shimane and Hiroshima
Explore the town of Yunotsu on foot and tramp along a rocky coastal beach or visit a pottery studio where you can see a traditional kiln. Then, visit the most recent World Heritage Site in Japan, Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, where you explore the old mining town accessible only on foot. A leisurely stroll along the winding creek with blooming spring flowers and the sound of birds creates a timeless moment.
A private car takes you to JR Hiroshima Station, where you can continue your travels or head back to Tokyo or Kansai. Participants will continue with any onward travel plans. Note that Michi Travel can make arrangements for you.