A visit to a 400-year-old sake brewery, Tsukasabotan.

Established in 1603, Tsukasabotan is an old sake brand. This time, we visited Tsukasabotan sake brewery. During our visit, we learned how sake was made and tasted a variety of different sake.

Tsukasabotan sake brewery was located in Sakawa town, a historical town where there were many white washed buildings. Sakawa town was an hour train journey from Kochi city center. There was only one train every hour, therefore, it is highly recommended to watch the time in case of missing the train.

After an hour’s journey, we finally arrived at Sakawa station.

Beautiful white washed buildings sat alongside a quaint street.

At the front door, we were greeted by a gigantic ball made from China Fir’s branches and leaves. The ball has been the brewery’s logo since the brewery was established. The ball would turn from green to brown over time. Therefore, people can tell whether the brewing process is completed or not. It then become a way for the brewery to notify people when there is a new batch of sake being brewed.

According to the guide, around 5000 bottles of sake can be made from one container.

Then we came to Heisei house, the main place for sake brewing. Visitors were asked to change into indoor slippers, tie up hair, wash hands and put on gloves before entering.

The rice in this container was non-fermented. There would be bubbles once the rice is in fermentation. The smell of brewing made us crave for a nice cup of sake.

The tour guide continued to show us different Tsukasabotan sake.

The image on the left is sake named Niyodo Blue. This was my personal favorite. Its smoothness made it easy for people to drink, even for light drinkers. The image on the right is Yuzu sake. Even though it tasted like Yuzu juice, its alcohol composition was not low. Please be aware of its alcohol composition while drinking, otherwise, it’s very likely to get drunk.

We were very happy to have this opportunity to visit the brewery. Not only did the detail explanation made by the tour guide, but also the opportunity to see the actual sake storage and brewing process made this visit an informative and pleasant one. After the visit, we also enjoyed a slow stroll in Sakawa town.

【Tsukasabotan sake brewery】
Address: 1299 Ko, Takaoka Gun Sakawa Cho, Kochi Ken, 789-1201, Japan
Access: Take JR Dosansen line to Sagawa station. Tsukasabotan sake brewery is 5-minute walk away from the station.
Brewery tour Reservation site (English): https://tosakoi.jp/en/tour/M04/  ※Brewery tour is only available in Japanese.

Date of our visit: 2019.02.19