Experience Japanese Culture with a Tour through Sake Breweries and Sake Set Workshops! [Guided Tour by Private Car]

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Written by Editorial department

The Tone and Numata regions, located at the start of the Tone River in the northern part of Gunma Prefecture, are dotted with sake breweries that exclusively use natural spring water, making use of the region’s abundant natural resources. This tour plan visits one of these breweries, the Otone Sake Brewery, which offers sake brewery tours and tastings to visitors. There is also an ancient temple known for its guardian tengu and beautiful views, as well as a tour of a workshop that produces wooden sake sets, so you can have a full day learning about sake, Japanese history, culture, and traditional crafts. A tour guide accompanies you throughout the day to help support this amazing experience.

Tour Start!

First, the tour departs from the Joetsu Shinkansen’s Jomokogen Station by car. Its first stop is Kashozan Mirokuji Temple, famous for being the “tengu temple.” Tengu are legendary creatures passed down through Japanese mythology since ancient times. There are many huge tengu masks on display at Kashozan Mirokuji Temple, but even among them all, the enormous tengu mask (the largest in Japan) is the most impressive.

Mirokuji Temple is located on the side of Mt. Kasho (Kashozan). The view from the temple is one of the highlights of visiting.
Mirokuji Temple is located on the side of Mt. Kasho (Kashozan). The view from the temple is one of the highlights of visiting.
Japan’s largest tengu mask has a face 6.5 meters long and a nose 2.8 meters long. With it sitting before you, you can’t help but step back at its overwhelming presence.
Japan’s largest tengu mask has a face 6.5 meters long and a nose 2.8 meters long. With it sitting before you, you can’t help but step back at its overwhelming presence.

After worshipping at the temple, it’s time to visit the sake brewery!
Next up is Otone Sake Brewery, which has been in business for about 280 years.
Otone Sake Brewery is a small brewery located at the base of Oze, surrounded by the Okutone mountains. Here the staff are extremely particular about the flavors that can only be achieved at a small-scale brewery, and they pass down local sake brewing recipes and traditions rooted in the region’s nature and climate.

A Lecture from a Sake Brewing Master!

Mr. Tomonori Abe, the owner and head brewer at Otone Sake Brewery, offers lectures to visitors. The lectures are easy to understand, and they go over topics such as how rice produces such amazing sake, all while also discussing the process of sake brewing and the history of Otone Sake Brewery.

Mr. Tomonori Abe, owner and head brewer of Otone Sake Brewery, is friendly and a great speaker. He even politely answered our questions.
Mr. Tomonori Abe, owner and head brewer of Otone Sake Brewery, is friendly and a great speaker. He even politely answered our questions.
After the tour of the sake brewery, it’s time for tasting! Sample a variety of sake and get a bit tipsy, with available options including the brewery’s popular “Sadaijin Junmaishu,” Daiginjo, Kizake, and limited varieties of sake.
After the tour of the sake brewery, it’s time for tasting! Sample a variety of sake and get a bit tipsy, with available options including the brewery’s popular “Sadaijin Junmaishu,” Daiginjo, Kizake, and limited varieties of sake.

The brewery tour ends with a tour of the workshop that crafts wooden sake sets.

A traditional craft of the Numata region, made with mulberry wood and shaped on a potter’s wheel. These products are coveted for their beauty and elegance.
A traditional craft of the Numata region, made with mulberry wood and shaped on a potter’s wheel. These products are coveted for their beauty and elegance.
Using a woodworker’s pottery wheel, the craftsman applies his knife to the spinning wood to shave it away. Watch in amazement as he displays elaborate techniques!
Using a woodworker’s pottery wheel, the craftsman applies his knife to the spinning wood to shave it away. Watch in amazement as he displays elaborate techniques!
Several sake sets with a warmth unique to wooden crafts. Drinking sake from these types of vessels makes it even more delicious.
Several sake sets with a warmth unique to wooden crafts. Drinking sake from these types of vessels makes it even more delicious.

Summary

We recommend touring this sake brewery in the mountains if you’re a tourist visiting Japan who wants to learn more about the region and its culture. Through the mysterious world of sake brewing, you’re able to come a bit closer to understanding Japan.

Schedule

11:20am Meet at the Joetsu Shinkansen’s Jomo-Kogen Station
12:10pm-1:10pm Kashozan Mirokuji Temple
1:30pm-2:15pm Lunchtime (soba restaurant)
2:30pm-4:00pm Sake brewery tour and sake tasting at Otone Sake Brewery
4:30pm-5:00pm Numata Kokeshi Crafts
5:20pm Depart from the Joetsu Shinkansen’s Jomo-Kogen Station

Tour Information

Tour Company
Sake Tours
Tour Name
Experience Japanese Culture with a Tour through Sake Breweries and Sake Set Workshops! [Guided Tour by Private Car]
Meeting Place
Joetsu Shinkanen’s Jomo-Kogen Station, or Minakami Onsenkyo
Contact
info@saketours.com
Tour Date
7 days after email reservation
Price
37,500 yen per person (includes private car, tour guide, lunch, and fee for sake brewery tour and tasting)
Capacity
4~ people
Precautions
Please make your reservation with “info@saketours.com” at least 7 days before your desired tour date. Transportation costs to and from the meeting location and souvenir costs are not included.
Official Website (English)
Official Website (English)