Traditional culture that you can drink? Time to check out the Nada Sakaguras!
Kobe’s Nada district (home to some of our student accommodation), is famous as one of Japan’s top sake producing areas. For hundreds of years, sake producers have taken advantage of the availability of high quality rice, crystal clear water (which flows down from the Rokko Mountains) and favourable weather conditions that Kobe provides.
Many of the traditional sakaguras [酒蔵] in Nada-Ku offer free tours, museums and sake tasting to visitors. There are about 10 sakaguras within walking distance of each other, and it can be a great day out to visit as many as possible (even if the last few are a little bit blurry).
Best of the bunch is probably the Hakutsuru, which has a very impressive museum section which explains the sake brewing process in both English and Japanese. There’s a great little gift shop at the end of the tour with some very interesting local specialities (try the surprisingly yummy sparkling sake) and limitless free tasting. Hamafukutsuru is another good option – make sure you try the famous ‘Ginjo’ sake.
To access, pick up a map from reception at the school, then take the JR line from Motomachi or Sannomiya to Sumiyoshi (about 5 minutes). You can also get off at the Hanshin line Sumiyoshi Station.