Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato


2018.07.17

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

When asked what the best sake-producing regions in the nation are, many will point to Niigata. There’s no denying it: fecund paddy fields watered by ice-cold mountain runoff provide local sake brewers with the finest crops in the nation. And when asked which brewery produces the best sake in Niigata, the answer will probably be Hakkaisan. Whether one is a connoisseur or a fledgling sake sipper, a visit to Uonuma no Sato, Hakkaisan’s sake theme park-cum-brewery, is a great opportunity to tap a barrel and appreciate some Niigata hospitality.

  • Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Located south of the city of Uonuma and Oze National Park, Uonuma no Sato sits in the heart of the region’s most fertile agricultural land. The complex began simply as a brewery but has recently been reborn to curate an experience akin to a Napa vineyard tour, allowing visitors to experience the brewing process, have a sip of the product, grab a bite to eat, and bag up a few bottles to take home.

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    The somewhat remote location is part of the charm, although, speaking practically, visitors without car can easily reach the brewery by train and taxi. Uonuma no Sato is fifteen minutes by taxi from Urasa Station on the Joetsu Line (a stop on the Joetsu Shinkansen, as well), or ten minutes from Itsukamachi Station. Arriving at the station and taking a taxi through the verdant hills of the Niigata countryside is definitely part of the appeal.

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    The brewery on site produces some of the brand’s finer labels and a factory tour is an interesting excursion that’s fascinating for both the timelessness of the process of turning rice to liquor and the cutting-edge processes that are now brought to bear in producing some of the country’s favorite sake.

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    The brewery, as impressive as it is, is perhaps the tertiary attraction, after the stunning landscape and manicured grounds and the sake-adjacent culinary attractions. The soba restaurant, Nagamori, is a fine choice. Located in a sustainable building modeled after a traditional home, hearty noodles made with local buckwheat and mountain spring water are paired with sake lees pickles. Other options include Bukabunka where the presentation is more refined and the focus is on local ingredients, the Hakkaisan Company Cafeteria which is quite simply the workers’ dining room but also a great way to experience corporate luncheon and local food in a stunning modern space, and a number of cafes, shops, and bakeries specializing in sweets and breads.

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    One of the most unique experiences at Uonuma no Sato is a visit to Yukimuro Cellar. The building itself houses several shops and even a cooking school, Yukinaka Kitchen. But the star of the show is the tons of snow stored in the building to chill aging bottles and provide cold storage for casks. Cooled by the mountain of snow, junmai ginjo genshu sake meant for the trademark snow-white bottles are aged for three years. Deeper in the building, guests can sample drams from Hakkaisan’s shochu reservoir and pick up a bottle in one of two shops.

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Experience Sake Excellence at Hakkaisan’s Uonuma no Sato

    Don’t miss that chance—grab a bottle. The mighty Hakkaisan brewery produces a range of products, stretching from topflight junmai daiginjo to affordable seishu, and from the fiery and unpasteurized Echigo de Soro Shiboritate nama genshu to more approachable sparkling nigori and a range of umeshu plum-based concoctions.

    hachiumijozo hachizo
    place
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumashi Nagamori 343-9
    phone
    0257752975
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    Urasa
    place
    Nigata Pref
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    Itsukamachi
    place
    Nigata Pref
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