Just a stone’s throw away from the Minami-Otaru train station lies an enormous building made of stone and wood – one of the most historical in the region, in fact. In contrast to most other buildings of its kind, one could expect the fragrance of Japanese sake (or rice wine) all year round as he or she draws closer to the great monument. It is the Tanaka Sake Brewery Kikkokura, maker of the famed rice wine founded by Ichitarou Tanaka in the Meiji Era (1899).
Upon entering the Brewery, one can sign up for a guided tour around the building. The tour is free of charge, and is available all year round. (You can also book a special paid tour from Hokkaido Tourist Information Center Sapporo Tanuki-Koji.) It takes roughly 15 to 30 minutes, between 9 am to 5:30 pm every day. The tour is guided by the friendly staff at the facility, who is able to explain the process of making Japanese sake in either Japanese or English.
The major highlight of the guided tour is of course, to learn about the process of making Japanese sake. Shown in the photographs are some of the equipment that Tanaka Sake Brewery uses to make its sake. Tanaka Sake Brewery actually produces its wine all year round, so one might even be able to spot some of the workers diligently operating the equipment!
After the guided tour, don’t forget to sample some of the products available at the shop! Tanaka Sake Brewery uses only the freshest Hokkaido-produced rice and the water of Mt. Tengu to make its wine, thus one can be sure to experience the best of Hokkaido with every sip.
Non-alcoholic drinks preferred? Fret not, as Tanaka Sake Brewery also sells the locally-produced black bean tea, made from Hokkaido-produced black beans. Samples are available at the shop.
The brewery’s signature product is the Takaragawa, pictured above. The brewery also has a wide range of other products, from umeshu (plum wines), to amazake (sweet wines). There’s also different rice wines crafted specifically for different seasons of the year.
If you need further information of Tanake Sake Brewery Kikkokura, do check out the links below:
http://tanakashuzo.com/ (Japanese page)
http://tanakashuzo.com/ch/ (Simplified Chinese)