Sake, which was originally referred to as the ‘drink of the gods’, is a special alcoholic beverage that originated from Japan and is produced using the base ingredients of rice, water, koji (a special kind of fungus), and sake yeast. Japan has a long history of producing sake that spans over 2,500 years, when rice growing became prevalent across the country. Now, sake can be purchased in many forms, from in a juice box to a glass bottle, and in a variety of flavors.
“I want to try sake. Where do I begin?”
My first taste of sake actually came from a juice-box from 7-Eleven in Nagasaki. Maybe not what one would call ‘the ideal first sake experience’, but it was bearable enough for me to want to taste it again.
Luckily I got the opportunity a few days later when I went to Fukuoka. A Japanese local took me to Hakata Hyakunen-kura Ishikura Shuzo (100-Year Warehouse), the only remaining brewery in the Hakata area, where I was able to sample various flavors and qualities of sake.
The best thing about the sampling is that it was absolutely free, which was great because I am generally budget-conscious when I travel. In addition to the free sampling, you can purchase the sake flavors that you sample and if you time your journey to the brewery right, you can go on a brewery tour!
Fukuoka (Hakata) is not on everyone’s list of places to travel while in Japan, but if you do find yourself there, check out the Hyakunen-kura (1-30-1 Katakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka / 092-633-5100)
Getting There: Directions: 10 min. walk from Chiyo Kencho-guchi Subway Station (Map: http://www.welcomekyushu.com/feature/2009/fall_kodawari/higashi_map1.html#2-b)