Explore and Get Drunk at Fushimi Sake District

Fushimi Sake District is a charming, traditional sake brewing district – that is also known for the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine along with the willow-lined Horikawa River in southern Kyoto.

Fushimi actually means “underground water” and the springs in this area are renowned for their high quality. The water from these underground sources is soft, mellow, and is held to be particularly delicious – perfect for sake production. Many sake breweries prosper in this area and Fushimi’s sake is renowned as the perfect partner for Kyoto cuisine.

It is considered to be the second-largest rice wine producer in Japan with nearly 40 sake breweries. The neighborhood’s focus is all about Nihonshu (rice wine – sometimes erroneously referred to as sake, which means alcohol in general), and has been the leading sake brewing district in the country for centuries.

Fushimi Yume Hyakushu is a huge, traditional Japanese building, which used to be the headquarters of Gekkeikan.

Gekkeikan proper is the sake giant of Kyoto – the most famous of Fushimi’s breweries and also one of the world’s oldest companies having been founded since 1637, which has now been converted into a museum.

At the museum you get to learn about how sake is made, using the excellent water of Fushimi. It also features tools and artifacts that explain traditional sake-making methods as well as items related to the history of the company. English explanations accompany the displays and as you wander about the exhibits you can listen to recorded folk songs from the pre-Industrial era that workers in the breweries would sing to accompany their labors.

Admission fee will cost you 300 yen this includes entry to the museum and a free tasting of sake and plum wine. You will also receive a small plastic bottle of sake to take away with you. It’s an excellent marketing strategy. You can enjoy sake along with the samples there. You can even buy a bottle or two to bring home with you.

Each spring, they held an annual sake festival in Fushimi. The main events at the festival are sake tastings at two separate locations in which you can sample over 30 different varieties. The streets are also lively with stalls selling food, ceramics, and other sake related goods.

How to get there…

From Kyoto station, take the Kintetsu line to Kintetsu Tambabashi station. Exit and walk for two minutes towards Tambabashi station on the Keihan line and get off at Chushojima station. (around 20 minutes)

From Kawaramachi station, walk to Gion-Shijo station and take the Keihan line to Chushojima station (around 12 minutes)

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