Aug 20, 2018 Attraction Higashi-Hiroshima

Enjoy Japanese Culture to the Fullest in Saijo, the Town of Sake Brewing!

#Activity&Experience ,#Alcoholic Beverage ,#Attraction ,#Autumn ,#Cafe ,#Eat&Drink ,#Hiroshima Local Food ,#Old Townscape ,#Spring ,#Summer ,#Winter

About a 35 minute train ride from Hiroshima. Getting off at Saijo station and taking an immediate left at the nearest street, the sake brewery with white plaster walls and traditional houses of Japan are lined up together in a nostalgic townscape. The scenery is full of atmosphere and it feels like you’ve gone 100 years back in time. The flow of time itself is calm here, in a way unique to a “Sake Town”. This time, I’ll show you the charm of Sakagura-dori, where you can enjoy Japanese culture to fullest.

Let’s Take a Walk in this Beautiful, White Plastered Town

Its traditions protected through sake brewing, Sakagura-dori still has its old-fashioned buildings and traditional culture.  Just by walking down the street, you can encounter many different elements of Japanese culture.
“Sugidama” (balls made from sprigs) that are hung on the eaves of the sake brewery and sake shops, and represent sake brewing, or the red brick chimneys at the bases of breweries and serve in place of signboards.

Top left: a house with latticework / Bottom left: sugidama / bottom center: sake preparation water / right: brick chimney at the brewery’s base

[Bakery] cocoron

Bakeries, cocoron use the preparation water, natural yeast and sakekasu(sake lees) from sake.

cocoron
Address 7-33 Saijo Honmachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Closest Station 5mins walk from JR Saijo Station South Entrance
Open 10:00am – 6:00pm(Limited Quantity)
Closed Monda, Tuesday
Website Tabelog

[Japanese Sweets] Sakuraya

Traditional Japanese sweets shop, Sakura makes full use of sake. This is a colorful Japanese mochi which eloquently expresses the four seasons of Japan.

Sakuraya Saijo Station-mae Main Store
Address 11-27 Saijo Honmachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Closest Station 5mins walk from JR Saijo Station South Entrance
Open 8:30am – 7:30pm
Closed None
Website Tripadvisor

[Cafe] Kugurimon coffee shop

After your stroll to enjoy Japanese architecture, Kugurimon coffee shop is a good choice to take a coffee break.
This cafe’s entrance used to be a play theater. Inside, you can enjoy a space which brings together soft light filtering in through the lattice windows, wood, and plaster. Since it’s furnished with zabuton (floor cushions for sitting) and you take your shoes off inside, it’s also a good chance to partake in Japanese culture.  You can enjoy “Kokonoe no Kura,” a coffee blend selected by the “Toji” (A chef responsible for sake brewering at breweries), as well as sake lees cheese cake topped with crunchy granulated sugar for a fun texture.

-Take a quick breather at a traditional house-style cafe with historical architecture.

Kugurimon coffee shop
Address 17-1 Saijo honmachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Closest Station 5mins walk from Saijo Station 
Open 10:00am – 5:00pm
Closed Every 2nd&4th Tuesday
Website Tripadvisor

[Sake] Shusenkan

Open only during the weekends and operated in a Western style, wooden house, Shusenkan has a full menu of sake. The tasting set, where you can taste a bit of several different kinds of sake, is especially popular. Sweets are also available, such as “Sake lees mousse.”

Shunsenkan
Address 2-4 Saijo Kamiichicho, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Open Saturday, Sunday, April 10
Website Tripadvisor

[Sake] cafe Trecasa

I also recommend cafe Trecasa. It is a hidden away spot in the renovated space of an old house from over 100 years ago.  Complete with a mid century sofa, East and West come together in a retro atmosphere.
The menu is complete with lunch made using the ingredients and cooking style of Japan, as well as home roasted coffee and chiffon cake.

cafe Trecasa
Address 16-24 Saijohonmachi, Higahsi-Hiroshima (map)
Open 11:00am – 7:00pm (LO 6:30pm)
Closed  Wednesday, Every 1st&3rd Tuesday
Website Official Website

Extraordinary Activities in Saijo, Higashi Hirsohima!

[Sake Dish] Franceya

One of Saijo’s famous local foods is Bishunabe. It’s made by sauteing pork or chicken with garlic, then stewing in sake. The alcohol content is cooked away, leaving only the rich flavor of sake behind. The flavor is rich yet refreshing. You can try it at Franceya, which is operated directly by Kamotsuru sake brewery at Sakagura-dori.
If you make a reservation, you can also tour each sake brewery. At Kamosen sake brewery, a video in English about sake brewing is prepared for people taking the tour who are from abroad. You can also stop by the sake brewery to sample sake.

Franceya
Address 9-11 Saijohonmachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Closest Station 3mins walk from Saijo Station
Open Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm(LO 2:00pm)
Dinner: 5:00pm – 9:00pm(LO 8:00pm)
Closed Thursday, Every 3rd&4th Monday
Website Official Website

[Activity] Aisenkan

If you want to experience even more of Japanese culture, how about taking part in the indigo dyeing experience offered at Aisenkan? Called “Japan Blue”, Japan’s indigo dyeing has a great reputation worldwide. Here, fabric is dyed with twice-fermented “living dye.”

 

Aisenkan
Address 2 Saijo kamiichimachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Open Studio Tour: Saturday, Sunday, Every 4th and 10th
Dyeing Exparience; Booking required

 

Tourist Information Center in Saijo

In Saijo, you can take part in an event unique to a sake brewing town, the sake Festival held at the beginning of October. There, you can enjoy sake from all over the country. At Higashi-Hiroshima city visitor information center, English speaking staff are always available, and you can book a free guide in English. Please give it a visit to enjoy the sake and local food!

Higashi-Hiroshima City Information Center
Address 12-3 2 Saijohonmachi, Higashi-hiroshima (map)
JR Saijo Station 2F
Open 9:00am – 6:00pm
Closed New year Holidays

 

Saijo Sakaguradori Information Center
Address 17-1 Saijohonmachi, Higashi-Hiroshima (map)
Open 10:00am – 4:00pm 
Closed Monday
*If it’s national holiday, New Year Holidays  will be closed