After Himeji Castle we had an hour or two to spare and our guide suggested a visit to the Hakutsuru Sake Museum and Brewery at Sumiyoshi. We hopped the train from Himeji to Sumiyoshi station, then a short walk to the brewery. The original Hakutsuru Sake Brewery opened in 1743.
How a Sake brewery operates
Greeting you as you walk into the Museum are two men hauling a huge timber barrel to the floor above by a pulley. The models are so life-like, had to take a second look to realize they were not actual people about to give us a demonstration. The Museum has a fascinating display of life-like models carrying out each process used for sake brewing in the time-honored traditional manner.
Traditional method of Sake Brewing
We watched a short film on the traditional method used in the brewing of sake, and came away appreciating just how much physical hard work went into the traditional sake brewing method, definitely not a time to be afraid of hard work or time to be bored be with your job.
After watching the film, we walked through the brewery display in the old building with a better understand of the brewing process from the life-like displays and the use of original old tools, wooden vats and barrels.
The Museum also has a display of bright red fire engines in perfect condition used in earlier time, so different to what we see today.
We were suitably impressed with the Brewery Museum display, it was really interesting to see how sake brewing was carried out in the old days. The displays are excellent.
Modern Sake Brewery
Hakutsuru today has a modern sake brewery, the old methods modernized and replaced with new techniques. The sake brewery has adapted to cultural change whilst still observing the spirit and skills of traditional sake brewing.
In the showroom we sampled sake from their modern brewery and purchased a few attractive small bottles as gifts for when we returned to Nagoya. Sake is always so nicely packaged and presented.
Returning to Himeji on the train, we were glad to get back to our hotel. This was the end of our tour with Sunshine Tours JTB. We couldn’t complain about anything on this trip, as we had been well looked after at all times. Considering the numbers in the groups varying from about 24-40 people, our guides did a wonderful job of looking after everyone. We were able to relax and enjoy each new experience.The guides also spoke excellent English. Tomorrow we take a train trip on our own to Hiroshima, so tonight its early to bed.
Tomorrow Nuzomi train at 9:12am to Hiroshima..
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