During this 2-3 day experience at a Nagano sake brewery, find out firsthand what it takes to be a kurabito (sake brewer)!
Visit the sake brewery village in Saku (eastern Nagano), which is home to 13 different sake breweries, the oldest of which is 300 years old! Here, guests will have a sake brewery tour, learn how sake is made, and then jump into the sake brewery experience.
Before starting the sake making process, a purification ritual will be conducted by a Shinto priest. Sake brewing is deeply rooted in Shintoism in Japan and these ties can still be seen at some shrines in Japan, where barrels of sake are displayed.
Then, the sake brewing process will begin. Among other tasks, budding sake brewers will get a chance to wash and soak the rice, a seemingly simple process that’s actually like a precisely-timed dance. The next day, this rice can be steamed and brought into the highly-controlled koji room, which is kept at a precise temperature to stimulate the koji’s growth.
During normal brewery tours, guests are barred from entry to the koji room, as the environment is very sensitive. But here, guests may have the rare opportunity to enter the koji room and experience the Zen-like process of inoculating the rice with koji.
After a day of hard work, you’ll be rewarded with a meal at a local restaurant that specializes in cheeses; all house-made from local goat and cow’s milk. This course meal also includes a tasting of several types of Nagano sake.
19:00 Dinner & sake (not included)
7:40 Orientation & Shinto ritual
8:30 Brewery tour & sake brewing process explanation
9:00 Perform work like steaming rice, making koji, etc.
10:45 Perform tasks like tidying & preparing sake for shipment
13:30 Make an original label for your souvenir sake bottle
15:00 Wash & soak rice
16:00 Tasting seminar
18:00 Sake pairing dinner
20:00~ Leisure time
SUNDAY (See option below)
Overnight stay at a 100-year-old guesthouse adjacent to the brewery
Breakfast and dinner on the second day
Several nihonshu tastings at breweries, a restaurant, and the guesthouse
Souvenir sake bottle with your own original label
Commemorative photos taken by staff during the experience
Lunch and dinner on the first day
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
We will meet at Kitsukura Shuzo (384-0301 623-2 Usuda, Saku City, Nagano Prefecture 〒384-0301 長野県佐久市臼田中町６５４−３), about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Station
The sake brewery is a spiritual environment; please cover your hair with a cloth and don’t let your hair touch the ingredients
So as not to disturb the brewing environment, please note that hand cream, perfume, fur, and long nails are not allowed
Please do not eat yogurt or natto before this experience