Two Major Spots Where You Can Learn about Sake in Niigata


Niigata Prefecture boasts a number of sake breweries that places it in the top class in Japan. This sake that is tasty and refreshing is very well-known. We introduce here two major spots where you can savor local sake in Niigata. Please enjoy tasting your favorite brand and shopping for attractive souvenirs.

Ponshukan: Luxury as you can try almost 100 kinds of sake

The Ponshukan are facilities where you can enjoy sake, rice and other specialties of Niigata to your heart's content in the sake tasting and souvenir sections. These facilities are located on the premises of three stations where the Shinkansen stops (Echigo-Yuzawa Station, Niigata Station and Nagaoka Station).

If you pay 500 yen at the reception, you will receive one sake cup and five medals. Choose the brand you want to try from among the line of sake tasting machines, insert one of the medals and press the button. You can then try one cup of that sake. It is possible to savor the taste of up to five kinds of sake for 500 yen.

Please also enjoy the wide variety of salt and soy sauce available.

Take a commemorative photograph with the Yopparatta Ojisan-zo (Drunk Uncle Statue).

The giant Bakudan Onigiri (Rice Ball Bomb) is also a specialty here. Plenty of ingredients are packed into the delicious rice of Niigata. Please try this if you have a large appetite.

In addition to sake, these facilities are also home to many special products of Niigata (e.g., miso, soy sauce and rice crackers).

A daytrip hot spring is also attached to the Echigo-Yuzawa location. This is a hot spring that has great efficacies because alcohol for bath use is added to the natural hot spring water. We strongly recommend you drink a refreshing cold sake after taking a soak in the hot spring.

Uonuma no Sato: Just like a sake and food culture theme park!

Uonuma no Sato is run by the sake brewery which makes the Hakkaisan sake that is popular throughout Japan. You can tour this sake brewery with its storehouse in the snow here. In addition, there are high quality shops and restaurants with great individuality in the vast grounds; it is just like a sake and food culture theme park.

Your soul will be healed just by taking a leisurely stroll in this landscape like that of undeveloped woodland.

The highlight of Kashidokoro Satoya is its baumkuchen containing sake lees! The rich aroma of the sake lees is irresistible.

The pickles of the Yukimuro Sennen Kojiya food brand are based on the concept of fermentation. The rich colors of the vegetables will also entertain your eyes.

This is a snow room storehouse. It stores sake fermented with a brilliant and mellow taste called Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo Yukimuro Chozo Sannen (which means stored for three years in a snow room). This is one of the brewery's Hakkaisan products that is made with an eco-friendly temperature control method produced by large amounts of snow.

Tours of the snow room storehouse are free and do not require advance reservations. You just have to put your name down on the application form next to Yukinaka Kitchen. These tours are run on a first-come, first-served basis for up to 15 people. The times of these tours are as follows: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Oak barrels are lined up neatly beyond the snow room. These store rice shochu made by utilizing the techniques of sake brewing. The ginjo sake aroma derived from the sake lees will enchant you.

You can sample the liquor you are interested in after the tour. Please enjoy discovering your favorite taste.