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Washi paper making and Sake Brewery tour from Tokyo

2017.08.29

On this tour, your English speaking tour assistant will meet you at the lobby of your accommodation in Tokyo or at Ogawamachi station (Tobu Tojo line). You will visit Ogawamachi in Saitama where Washi paper (traditional Japanese paper) was registered as an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. Ogawamachi is also the hometown of delicious sake, and you will visit a sake brewery that is known for its highest consecutive record winning Gold Winner sake brewery in Saitama prefecture. Your tour assistant will support your party by taking to all the places and translating at each location (no history/culture guide)

Ogawamachi is in the west area of Saitama prefecture, and is known for its traditional Japanese washi paper industry. During the Edo period, as the number of residents and merchants increased so did the consumption of paper in Ogawamachi. Hosokawa-shi flourished in this area, producing high quality paper for many purposes, from religious scripts, architectural purposes, to fans and umbrellas.

The key ingredients to making great sake is using high quality rice and water. The water used at the sake brewery you will visit is pumped from 130 metres underground. You will get a free taste of this water as well as a free sake tasting as part of the guided tour! Sake has played an integral role in Japanese life for over 2,000 years. The brewing process is complex, and there are many important factors and techniques involved in producing delicious and tasty sake.

Ogawamachi can easily be accessed from Tokyo. The Tobu Tojo Line can take you to Ogawamachi station. It will take approximately 90 minutes from central Tokyo. You will be getting around Ogawamachi by taxi.

You will first visit a local Hosokawa-shi workshop in Ogawamachi, where you will meet a Master of Hosokawa-shi making, designated by the Prefectural Government of Saitama. The history of washi craftsmanship in this Ogawamachi area dates back to the 8th century, and later it prospered as a specialty place for washi craftsmanship. At the workshop, you will learn how traditional washi paper is made through a guided demonstration tour. Then, you will be able to experience making your own washi paper using traditional tools and materials! Durability is a major feature of Hosokawa-shi paper. The use of domestic materials found in nature such as kozo trees (mulberry tree) and neri (tororo-aoi plant), gives the washi its tough and beautiful texture. The traditional washi paper making technique in Ogawamachi was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014.

You will then have lunch at the nearby Yasuragi Peace House (10 mins from Washi place), a rural village house a that is more than 100 years old, serving various hand-made udon noodle dishes!

After a delicious lunch, you will head to the Matsuoka Sake Brewery, established in 1851. You will be taken on a guided tour around the brewery and learn about the sake brewing process. You will have the chance to taste the “mother water” of the sake, in this brewery the water used to make the sake is pumped from 130 metres deep underground. At the end of the tour, after learning everything you need to know about the sake brewery process, you can enjoy a sake tasting (“Kampai!”). There are also non-alcoholic products such as the popular Daiginjo ice-cream.

You will then return to the Hosokawa-shi workshop to pick up the dried washi paper you made earlier! Size is about 30cm x 45cm. The tour will conclude at Kawagoe station; however, you are free to wander around Kawagoe.

Some suggestions on where to go in Kawagoe:
- Walk around the streets of Koedo.There are many kurazukuri-style houses from the Edo period giving the area a historical feel.
- Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street (Edo style architecture, souvenirs, snacks, street food)
- Kashi Yokocho (street selling lots of traditionally crafted sweets)
- Kita-in Temple (was built in 830, and the birthplace of Iemitsu Tokugawa
- Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine (home to the god of marriages, and has the largest wooden torii gate in Japan)

Price per person:
48,800 yen for 1 person
25,400 yen for 2 persons
22,300 yen for 3 persons
17,200 yen for 4 persons
14,500 yen for 5 or 6 persons
12,700 yen for 7 persons
11,400 yen for 8 persons

Tour Detail

Tour Style

- Private tour
- Program offered in English

Meeting Place
Meet with your English-speaking tour assistant at the lobby of the hotel in Tokyo 23 wards

Group Size

Min. 1 person
Max. 8 persons

Duration

1 day (8am to 4pm)

Tour Itinerary
8:00AM Meet with the English-speaking tour assistant at the lobby of your accommodation
10:13AM Arrive at Ogawamachi station
10:40AM-12:10PM Washi workshop
- Explanation of Washi's history and culture the history
- Explanation of material and process
- Making Washi experience
12:20PM-1:00PM Lunch
1:10PM-1:30PM Back to studio and get your washi paper
2:00PM-3:00PM Sake brewery visit and sake tasting
4:10PM Tour concludes at Kawagoe Station (or Ogawamachi station at 3:20PM)

Destination

What's Included

- English-speaking tour assistant
- Hotel pick-up
- Washi making experience
- Sake brewery tour and sake tasting
- Taxi fare in the tour

What’s not included:

- Hotel drop-off
- Lunch fee
- Train fare in the tour

Tour Tips:

Booking process
1. Please contact us for availability through ‘BOOK IT’ button below.
2. We will check the availability and come back to you within 1 business day.
3. Payment request will be sent via Paypal. You do not need to have a paypal account to make a payment with your credit card.

4. Reservation is done upon receiving your payment. Confirmation e-mail will be sent to you.

Cancellation Policy
Reservations may be cancelled without charge up to 9 days prior to the program date.
Reservations cancelled less than 8 days before the program date will incur the following charges:
- Between 8 days and 3 days: 50% of the program charge

- 2 day before or no show: 100% of the program charge
*Time is in JST.