Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi – Part 5

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery

Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi – Part 5

Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5

Fushimi, Kyoto still has some beautiful places and offers a glimpse into what Fushimi must have been like before industrialization. I took my camera around the neighborhood and visited Okinaya, a small shop run by Kitagawa Honke. Okinaya sells Kitagawa’s Tomio brand sake as well as very nice rice and some other interesting goodies.

This is part 5 of our sake series.

Fushimi, Kyoto an Historic Town

Remember, Fushimi is synonymous with sake and water. Water for transportation of goods (rivers) and for making great sake (groundwater). Fushimi is also a beautiful and historic town. Many of the largest breweries still have beautiful, historic buildings. Fushimi is a great place to spend a day exploring, taking in scenes of old Japan and trying sake.

Historic Matsumoto Shuzo Sake Brewery
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
This brewery is the postcard image from Fushimi. The contrast of the traditional Japanese brewery architecture with the red brick (Western) smokestack and boiler room is quite compelling and speaks to it’s era, a time when Japan adopted necessary Western technology but retained it’s own character. This is on a riverbank so in the spring it is covered in verdant nanohana with yellow flowers.

Historic Matsumoto Shuzo Sake Brewery
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5

Historic Matsumoto Shuzo Sake Brewery
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Sign and entrance. Matsumoto Sake Brewery’s two famous brands are shown on the bottom of the sign, Hi-no-dezakari (日出盛) and Momo-no-shizuku (桃の滴).
Kitagawa Honke Brewery
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Viewed from the riverbank. The old brewery can still be seen.

Kitagawa Honke Brewery
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Viewed from the roof.

Traditional Japanese House
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
This house is beautifully maintained. The taller part on the right is the kura, or storehouse for the family treasures. Kyoto houses are made of wood — and burn. The kura have very thick earthen walls to withstand fire.

Old and New
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
A Japanese house with a bad neighbor. Japanese have yet to modernize their cities like Kyoto and retain harmony with the past.

Late Winter in Fushimi
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
This beautiful old house celebrates the approach of spring with flowers.

Late Winter in Fushimi
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
The pink blossoms are probably plum or peach.

Late Winter in Fushimi
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
These are probably Japanese quince and daffodils.

Late Winter in Fushimi
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Camellia

Okinaya (おきな屋): Sake, Shochu, Rice and Other Goodies

Okinaya sells Kitagawa Honke Tomio brand sake, Hannari brand shochu and umeshu and some new and interesting creations. There is habanero shochu, shoyu and hard candies. Japanese food is not spicy hot but recently habanero peppers are being grown in one of the agricultural districts of Kyoto prefecture. Kitagawa Honke teamed up with some of the farmers out there to make these three products. One my favorite winter delicacies is sake kasu, this is the lees leftover after pressing. Sake kasu is used for all kinds of things; from soup stock to marinade for grilled fish to flavorings for wagashi. It is also enjoyed as amazake (甘酒), or sweet sake. Sake kasu is dissolved in hot water and grated ginger is added. It has little alcohol content and even children drink it at New Year’s.

Sake breweries ought to know all about rice, so this the place to get some great rice. Purchasing is quite fun because there are 8 wooden barrels full of brown rice. The customer selects the rice (by breed and region) and specifies the amount to be purchased. The clerk weighs out the rice and then mills it, making it white rice! Now that is fresh!

Many of Kitagawa Honke’s sake can be sampled at Okinaya.

Neighborhood Sign
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Several of these handwritten signs on the walls and fences of the brewery tell the neighborhood about the latest sake available at Okinaya.

Okinaya Storefront
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
The storefront, facing Otesuji-dori Street.

Okinaya and the River
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
Okinaya and the river

Sake Kasu
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
A shot from the production process.

Okinaya Interior
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
In the foreground are the wooden barrels with brown rice. In the background sake and shochu can be seen.

Okinaya Rice Milling Machine
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
This is where the rice is milled.

Okinaya Rice Packaging
Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi - Part 5
After the rice is milled it is packaged.

English:
English website: none
Service/Staff: friendly (no English)
Location and Access: Okinaya can be accessed from the Keihan Railway Keihan Honsen Line which is about 10 minutes from the center of Kyoto (Sanjo/Shijo). Just get off at Fushimi Momoyama Station and walk west through the shopping arcade. Walk a for more minutes after exiting the shopping arcade. Okinaya will be on the left side, if you cross the river, you have gone too far.
Address: 612-8369 Kyoto-shi Fushimi-ku Murakami-cho 370-6 (京都市伏見区村上町370-6)
Telephone: 075-601-0783
Near Sightseeing Spot: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Fushimi-Momoyama Castle, Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, Jyukkokubune/Sanjukkokubune (boat tours of Fushimi canals).
Map:

View Larger Map

Sake Series:
Learning to Make Sake: Part 1
Learning to Make Sake: Part 2
Learning to Make Sake: Part 3
Learning to Make Sake: Part 4
Learning to Make Sake: Part 5

7 Responses to “Sake: Learning to Make Sake at Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery in Fushimi – Part 5”

  1. Peter says:

    Peko Peko,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to indulge in the making of sake and in showing us all how it’s done.

    It’s wonderful to see that everyone takes pride and care in making a quality product.

    Origato!

  2. This series is great! Having lived in the US for most of my life, there’s a lot I don’t know about Japan. Thank you!

  3. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Peter,
    Well, I am still just learning it — conceptually — but after writing this series, I do feel that I have the concept down. I was able to explain the process and help give a tour to visitors from abroad at Kitagawa Brewery the other day!
    Now regarding what it takes to make something of consistently high quality, that is what really keeps me interested in most things Japanese. The care and effort put into making this fine sake really is astounding.
    I often see a beautiful presentation of Western food and wonder if the chef had not been inspired by Japanese food such as Kaiseki. I love to see the world get connected and improve!
    Thank you for visiting and commenting on KF!

  4. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Marc @ NoRecipes,
    Hey, your blog is one of my new fav foodie blogs! Love the photography, layout and of course the food. Love the siew yuk post, siew yuk just happens to be one of my all time fav foods. I can even make it ok.

  5. dave says:

    Hey peko peko,

    I have a question: do most breweries in fushimi have small shops in which you can maybe pay and sample the seasonals? I have only been to kizakurakappa, which has the museum and you can try some stuff, and then i went to harushika in nara, which also had a similar setup. Is this common in breweries? If so, I am going to every brewery in Fushimi and Nada. – dave

  6. Hello Dave,

    In Fushimi a fair number of breweries have shops and probably a bit fewer offer tastings.

    I have not been to Nada so I can’t tell you for sure what that is like. However, I assume that in other regions, breweries offering retail sales and tasting are quite common.

    Please let us know what your experience is!

    Enjoy Japan!

  7. Hello Dave,

    Oh, sorry, You posted this comment a month ago. The notification email for your comment just came in now. Very strange.

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