[Feb. 2023] During our temporary return to Japan, two friends from my university days made reservations for a tour and a meal at Ozawa Sake Brewery in Okutama, Tokyo.
“The sake brewery tour starts at 1:00, so let’s take a walk along the river until then,” they had suggested.
We had no sense of the land, so we assumed that there was a paved promenade along the river, and were wearing clothes and shoes for the city, but in fact, it was completely natural.
And it’s raining lightly.
I felt quite disproportionate, but still enjoyed a little bit of wild nature that I could not imagine being in Tokyo.
On the way, there is a temple called Kanzan-ji, and I stroke the bell without putting any money into it—I hope I don’t get cursed.
It was the day of the Ome Marathon, and many people were running on the opposite bank.
On the river below, people enjoy canoeing.
After enjoying the scenery, it is time to visit the brewery.
We followed the guide.
Ozawa Sake Brewery is a long-established brewery founded in 1702.
It is known for the brand of “Sawanoi” with the mark of a crab.
According to the guide, the round Sakabayashi (cedar ball) was originally green, and is a sign that new sake has been made.
It is said that in the past, people would come to the brewery to buy sake after seeing this.
Of the three storehouses, the one that has been in use since the brewery’s founding keep the room temperature low thanks to the mud-plastered wall, and it was certainly cold.
We were told that the tank that stores sake has a capacity of 120 years if you drink 1 gou (180 cc) a day.
According to the pamphlet I received, drinking two gou of sake a day is said to prevent cancer, arteriosclerosis, senility, and osteoporosis.
If you drink 2 gou each day, the sake in the tank lasts 60 years, which means if you start drinking after you become an adult, and it’s about the right amount of sake for your life.
The tour was free, but there is a charge for sake tasting.
They used to offer a free sake tasting at the end of the tour, but it was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
I was a little disappointed to hear that, but there was another building where you can taste sake for a fee.
Depending on the type of sake, the price of sake tasting varies from 200 yen to 500 yen.
From the second time onwards, you will get a 100 yen discount, and they will give you ochoko (sake cup).
We tried as many sake as possible, and in the end I bought a bottle of old sake (2016) that my husband liked, and a bottle of shochu made from leftover rice from the sake brewing process as a souvenir.
From 2:00, we ate at a restaurant on the premises called “Mamagotoya”.
We had a private room where you could see the flow of the river, which was wonderful.
The elegant and rich atmosphere made me feel like a leisurely madam.
I thought that the food would be unsatisfactory because it was a set meal with only tofu, but in fact I was very satisfied with about 7 kinds of elaborate dishes.
By the way, the price is 4200 yen per person.
In addition to this, we drank a lot of sake.
Needless to say, the two friends who invited us love drinking.
One of them in particular can drink alcohol endlessly without getting drunk.
The other used to sleep soundly when she got drunk, but now she’s much more tolerant.
I’m always looking forward to reuniting with these two drink lovers.