You cannot leave here without visiting a sake brewery or two.
We visited one in the past when we came here a few years ago and we enjoyed it very much.
This time we went to the brewery called Imadaitsukasa listed in our guide book.
They organise the visit systematically and you can book your visit every hour from 9am to 4pm except noon.
We booked the 4pm one.
We arrived there to find a quaint old fashioned building, which is apparently 110 years old.
It was a weekday but there were 12-13 visitors.
The guide explained how to make sake more seriously than the one in Chiba a few days before.
The sake making starts at the end of Oct. and finishes at the end of March, so it used to be the work for farmers during winters.
For the sake tasting, you have to spit out, “So even if you cannot drink any alcohol, you can be the taster” said the guide.
It is the same for wine tasting, isn’t it.
They use a white cup of the teacup size with the pattern of two navy blue rings inside and they look at the colour of sake in the white part and cloudiness in the navy blue part.
In the old days, there was not the skill to polish rice down to 50% of the weight, so there were not Ginjoshu, the premium sake.
They are trying to make Daiginjo, the top premium sake at the moment, using the wooden barrels which used in those days.
They do not add any distilled alcohol or any other auxiliary materials in this brewery, which apparently rare in Japan.
After the visit, it was the enjoyable time for tasting.
The space of the tasting used to be a kitchen where women servants cooked and served meals for brewers.
This part was built in early Meiji period (1868-1912), which was lovely and atmospheric.
The best one for me among the sake we tried was the Daiginjo which was made from the rice polished down to 35%.
So each sake brewery has one of 35%, I did not know that.
We cannot take liquid in hand luggage in the aeroplane and they do not send their sake to abroad, so we just bought Youkan (sweet bean jelly) made from sake lees for my mother.
Our friend bought a bottle of slightly sour Amazake (a sweet drink made from sake kees), which she uses to make salad dressing.
I was looking at the sunset out of the window, thinking it was a short but full satisfactory holiday.