Aug. 21, 2020 UPDATE
Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum- 月桂冠大倉記念館 -
Not only are pamphlets at the reception available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean, but explanatory texts throughout the museum are available in these four languages too. Furthermore, an English-speaking staff member is available at the reception.
Japanese, English, Chinese、and Korean
Japanese, English (not always there)
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Learn about sake brewing history through 12 facilities and in 4 languages
The Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, situated in the famous Fushimi sake brewing area of Kyoto, charges a mere ￥300 for entrance. The museum represents the Japanese sake making tradition of Kyoto and helps visitors understand the process of how sake is manufactured through the pictures and equipment on display. Furthermore, visitors are not only able to taste three popular kinds of sake, but can also take home a bottle of Jyunmai-ginjyoshu, which has a sweet rice taste and makes a delightful souvenir. Gekkeikan has been in the business of producing sake since 1627. Its popularity has spread not only throughout Japan, but also to the United States, China and South Korea. Including the building entrance, there are a total of 12 exhibition rooms which should not be missed. Information boards in English, Chinese and Korean help visitors understand how sake is produced, from the essential ingredients of water and rice to details about the commercial manufacturing industry. Visitors are welcome to enter the souvenir corner free of charge. Children are welcome too, with alcohol-free treats such as cookies also for sale. Learn about the history of sake made with the high quality water that gushes from the Fushimi springs at the Gekkeikan. We believe this museum will make you love Kyoto sake even more.
Small bottles with cups
Bottles which were invented to allow a person to drink sake anywhere are on display. The upper part is equipped with a cup and when the bottle is tilted sideways, sake is poured into the cup automatically. Inside the bottle, half of the original sake that dates from over 100 years ago still remains. Let's look as closely as we can. It's surprising to see that the sake has remained inside without discoloration. Replicas of these bottles with sake inside can be purchased at the shop.
These wooden barrels were used for the fermentation of sake up to the Showa Period (1926-1989).They are on display in the museum's courtyard. Since it was common for various bacteria to remain inside the wooden barrels, they were disinfected every time after use by drying them in the heat of the sun. As it is said that sake is best brewed during cold weather, try imagining a worker disinfecting one of the wooden barrels out in the cold. We should pay gratitude to these workers as we comfortably and safely sip away at our glasses of sake.
Gekkeikan sake brewery
The first step in making sake is the fermentation of the solid ingredients called Moromi. This can be seen through the glass windows fitted into the barrels. These were installed in the museum back in 1997 and are still in use today. When you smell the sweet aroma of rice from the main ingredient called Iwai, your mouth will immediately start watering for the sake. It’s necessary to call and make a reservation the day before visiting the Gekkeikan sake brewery, but why not sign up for a wonderful opportunity to see how sake is brewed today?
There is a corner where three kinds of sake representative of Gekkeikan can be tasted for free. Going from right to left, the photo shows a classic bottle of Gekkeikan’s ginjyoshu which has a deep flavor, then the easy-to-drink Tama-no-izumi and finally the sweet and full bodied Japanese plum wine. While on the tour, your urge to try their sake will steadily grow until finally the opportunity will present itself. All three kinds of sake are for sale in the souvenir corner, so you can purchase the ones you like.
- Manner & Tips -
Please do not touch the historical displays, as this might cause damage. Furthermore, while photography is allowed inside the museum, please do not use flash, as this may disturb the other visitors.