Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum


This brewery museum is one of the most interesting of the many sake attractions in Kobe's compact brewery district. It's actually been put together inside an old sake kura, so unlike a modern museum it really smells like old wood and straw. There are life-size mannequins throughout the big two-story structure, caught in the act of inspecting the mash or stirring the yeast or performing any of the other many sake-making steps that are explained in great detail.

Very evocative musical selections - recordings of old work songs - play on the museum's sound system to help establish the setting. Another highlight is the screening of an old company promotional short film made in 1928. There's also some nice old footage incorporated into the individual videos screened on kiosks along the tour route.

Eight or nine short, two-minute videos explain each step of the process - they start by introducing sake rice, and they end up with instructions on how to enjoy a sake tasting. All videos are available in both English and Japanese, as are the museum's pamphlets. The tour ends up in the brewery's tasting room, where you can sample the end product of all the labors you've just witnessed.

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum: Kobe
Yokohama / Attraction
Open 9:30am-4:30pm (enter by 4pm); closed Mondays
Admission: Free
Average visit time: 45-60 minutes
Kobe-shi, Nada-ku, Sumiyoshi-Minamicho 4-5-5 (5 minutes S of Hanshin Sumiyoshi Station, or 15 min from JR Sumiyoshi, Kobe)
map Map

More about sake

An introduction to different types of sake, plus a glossary of sake terminology
This compact museum features a rice-polishing mill run by a waterwheel
Sake brewers dress up for festivals and tastings around the country
Sake-tasting bars and izakaya with exceptional sake lists in Tokyo
Take an English-language tour of a sake brewery in western Tokyo's Fussa district
Traditional sake production and distribution are the focus of this charming museum
Explore agricultural history, sake-making and Japan's biggest collection of stuffed roosters

Sister sites:
Craft Beer Bars Japan
Bars, retailers and festivals
Animal Cafes
Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Where in Tokyo
Fun things to do in the big city
Neighborhood guides and top-five lists from Tokyo experts
Barking Inu
Sushi dictionary and Japan Android apps