Translated by Lester Somera
Traditional Local Sake at Hakata Hyakunengura in Fukuoka
Written by miki fukumuro
All over Japan, local breweries produce and sell their own original sake. At Hakata Hyakunengura in Fukuoka, you can buy sake straight from the source.
If you’re talking about Japanese alcohol, you have to mention sake. Sake breweries all over Japan produce and sell their own varieties of sake, and take great pride in their recipes.
Perhaps the best-known local sake in Hakata is produced by the Ishikura Brewery - the sake from Hakata Hyakunengura.
The traditions of Hakata live on at Hakata Hyakunengura. This is the only place where you can sample the flavor of local Hakata sake while you enjoy the ambiance of the sake cellar. Hakata Hyakunengura, which continues to safeguard the cultural traditions of sake brewing, is beloved by the people of Hakata. We will get to the heart of what makes this place so special.
Hakata Hyakunengura -Tangible Cultural Property
In existence since the Meiji era for more than 140 years, Hakata Hyakunengura’s distinguishing features are the cellar’s white plaster walls and its towering brick chimney. Due to its overwhelming presence, the sake cellar is registered in Japan as a tangible cultural property.
The mood inside is quiet, and gives visitors a sense of the building’s history, which goes back more than 140 years. To the left side of the photo, the straw-wrapped sake cask reads “Iwai Medeta”, the name of a song traditionally sung in the Hakata area. Similar casks are presented at places like Kushida Shrine and Tōka Ebisu Shrine.
Head towards the back, and when you pass through the tunnel, there will be a shop that conducts direct sales to the right.
An Amazing Array of Sake Varieties
The atmosphere inside the shop is stylish and refined, and there are rows upon rows of sake bottles, the pride of the brewery.
Shown here inside the box, the Junmai Daijinjō Iwai Medeta (5000 yen+tax) is perfect as a present or congratulatory gift for the special people in your life. Junmai Daijinjō Iwai Medeta is brewed using Yamada Nishiki rice, the best rice variety for Japanese sake.
This is plum wine, or umeshū, that has been prepared from sake (800 yen+tax). Each glass has the faint aroma and acidity of plums, and you will gulp yours down in an instant. It is delicious diluted with soda water, but you can fully enjoy the plum taste by drinking it straight. It seems that umeshū is popular with Thai and other Southeast Asian visitors.
We also recommend Hakata Sparkling Amaō, made with Fukuoka’s special amaō strawberries. It uses absolutely no additional flavorings or color additives, which means that you can enjoy the harmony of the sake with amaō strawberries, just as they are.
This is the sparkling sake Awayura (457 yen+tax), which has a characteristic, invigorating sourness. Since it has half the alcohol content of sake (7%), we recommend this for people who aren’t strong drinkers. The coming season is the best time for drinking sparkling sake, as it gets even more delicious when chilled.
The store also sells lacquered sake drinking containers (335yen+tax), used for special occasions,
as well as sake cups (240yen+tax) which hold just enough for one mouthful.
Drink out of these bowls and cups to get the most Japanese experience when enjoying your sake!
Find Your Favorite By Doing Some Taste Tests
What’s more, you can try samples of local sake at the direct sales shop.
We tried freshly-brewed pure sake, which can only be drunk at the production facility. It had a fruity taste not unlike white wine, and we got the feeling that it would be very possible to unintentionally drink too much of it.
Let’s be careful to avoid getting carried away.
The store sells the freshly-brewed pure sake by weight, out of a cold storage tank, but be aware that pure sake must be refrigerated.
The taste of sake is affected by how it is stored. If you’re purchasing a bottle as a souvenir, we recommend buying sparkling sake or umeshū, which can be stored at room temperature with no issues.
Compare and contrast the flavors of various kinds of sake, and perhaps you will discover your personal favorite.
Drinking Vessels and Original Sweets
The shop is decorated by artists’ drinking vessels, available for purchase. All of these charming cups look as though they will make their contents even more delicious.
The shop also sells sake manjū (1000yen+tax for a box of 15), which contain alcohol, as well as other treats.
As Hakata’s only remaining sake brewery, Hakata Hyakunengura continues to be be fondly regarded by people from the area.
Hakata Hyakunengura’s sake is characteristically fruity and fresh-tasting. One sip, and you will understand why people’s love for it has spanned generations. Visit Hakata Hyakunengura to fully see and feel the ambiance of Hakata’s local sake brewery, dating back to the Meiji era, and taste their amazing sake for yourself.
If this article has become the incentive for you to visit Hakata Hyakunengura in Fukuoka, please let the staff know! Upon purchasing products from the brewery for more than 1000 yen, you will receive a traditional sake container - ochoko - as a present!
This special purchase bonus will be available for a limited period of time - from September 1st through November 30th 2016!
Hakata Hyakunengura 博多百年蔵
Address: 812-0043 Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Katakasu 1-30-1
Closed: Obon holidays and New Year
Credit cards accepted: Yes
Other Languages: No
Pamphlets in Other Languages: No
Nearest station: Gion Station (Fukuoka Subway), Fukukō-mae (Nishitetsu Bus)
Access: 12 minute walk from Gion Station, one minute walk from Fukukō-mae
Price Range: From 240 yen
Phone Number: 092-633-5100
Website: Ishikura Brewery Hakata Hyakunengura (Japanese)