When the photograph is clicked, it moves to the article.
Dusty Wittman (USA)
Li Ying Li (China)
Masako Saito (Japan)
Learn about the old art of making sake at the Hirai Shoten sake brewery including a tasting of their delicious sake selection followed by a trip back in time to the Meiji Era at the Hyakuchokan house.
The entrance of the Hirai Shoten Sakagura (sake brewery) as seen from the quaint covered shopping arcade street.
The welcoming entrance to the brewery beckons customers to come in.
A lovely showroom displaying a great selection of sake along with some handicrafts from around the world.
Mr. Hirai explains the difference between sweet and dry sake.
Sake rice is rice that has been polished to remove the outer part of the grain. This exposes the starchy part. Depending on how much of the grain is removed determines the quality of the sake.
The rice is then steamed in this giant pot. The wooden shovels of the past have been replaced with modern aluminum and fiberglass ones.
Mr. Hirai is explaining the delicate process of turning dry grains of rice into perfectly steamed rice ready to be made into sake.
On the left are huge, 3,000L, barrels containing the main mash which is a mixture of steamed rice, mold, yeast, and water.
The main mash (moromi) is fermented for 2-3 weeks and during the process, carbon dioxide bubbles out of the mixture.
Dusty is inspecting the mash.
Mr. Hirai is explaining the filtration process. The fermented rice is pumped into these long cloth bags and then pressed to separate the liquid from the remaining bits of rice.
This is the press that is used to squeeze the bags. A tank below it catches the filtered sake.
Time for a taste!
Dusty is savoring the smell and delicate flavors of the cold sake.
Posing for a final picture with our gracious host, Mr. Hirai.
The sake was so good, some of us bought a bottle to take home!
After the brewery tour, we walked down the street to visit an old house called Hyakuchokan. It was built over 100 years ago and is a reminder of the old bustling days of Otsu City in the Meiji Era.
The entrance of the home now serves as a display area for photos and information about its history along with information about local events in Otsu City.
A view into the garden is said to bring good luck.
The beautifully maintained garden.
The original well still has water in it. The water temperature remains constant year round.
Pulling up the bucket full of water is hard work. In the past, this was the only water for the house.
Even after so many years, the charcoal stove is in perfect condition. And, this kitchen still has a dirt floor.
This old table offers a nice view of the shopping arcade outside. From here, it is easy to imagine the old days.
The gallery and cafe area is filled with old artifacts, maps, pictures, paintings, and drawings from the Meiji Era. It is really interesting to see what Otsu City used to look like.
An antique handmade stain glass lamp greets guests as they walk by, reminding them of the "good ole days."