Niigata is famous for its sake and we wanted to visit a sake brewery there. We chose the Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery because it was only a 15 minute walk from our hotel close to the railway station.
Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery tour
We booked the free tour online (https://imayotsukasa.co.jp/en/) the day before and arrived a few minutes before it was due to start. Like most things in Japan the tour started punctually at 11am.
I believe they may do English tours sometimes, but I had the benefit of Mai translating for me.
The tour lasted almost an hour and the guide explained the process for brewing sake. He talked about the different grades of rice used to make different qualities of sake and the rest of the brewing process as well. In fact he shared a great deal of detailed information!
After the tour you can try one sake for free or pay 1,000 yen (£6 / 10 CAD) to try 15 different sakes including the most expensive ones.
It was a no brainer, and so we spent a couple of hours tasting the 15 different sakes. I really liked most of them, especially the more expensive ones. I believe that there may have been a limit to the time we should have spent tasting, 30 minutes or so, but the guide had encouraged us to take our time. One should always respect ones elders
We had planned to have more of a wander around, but left the brewery a little drunk. There was still time for a late and sobering lunch before taking the three hour long bus journey to Koriyama.