BEAUTY OF JAPAN

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Visit and Discover Local Kitakata Products: Sake, Ramen, Lacquer ware, etc

2016.06.22

Introduction

■History
Kitakata, a small town located in Tohoku, northern Honshu is home to one of Japan's Three Greatest Ramen noodles, Kitakata ramen. With roughly 120 ramen shops in town, Kitakata has the highest ramen shop-per-person ratio in all of Japan and known as ramen town. In Kitakata, you can eat ramen any time of the day. Some shops even open from 7am for Asa Rah, a unique custom of the region - "Morning ramen" or "Ramen for breakfast".

Besides the ramen noodles, Kitakata is also well known for KURA, traditional storehouse style buildings and is nicknames as KURA no Machi - "town of KURA". Kitakata has long been known as centre of sake (rice wine) brewery and miso (soy bean paste) production. KURA, able to maintain stable temperature and humidity throughout a year, were built to store and preserve the products.
When the Great Fire of Kitakata broke out in 1880, only KURA survived the fire and many of buildings were built by KURA style afterwards. At present day in Kitakata, there are over 4,000 KURA built all over the town - from main streets to back alleys, the largest number of KURA in Japan and many of them still in use.
On this tour, you will explore the history and culture of Kitakata though visits to saka gura, KURA used for sake brewery. Among many saka gura in the area, your English-speaking guide introduce you to more distinctive and unique KURA - sip & taste and find your favourite sake!


■Highlights
- Enjoy authentic Kitakata ramen, one of Japan's Three Greatest ramen noodles.
- Stroll around the town of Kitakata and discover and experience its history and culture - you will find picturesque KURA around you.
- Taste and learn about the marvels of sake brewery at different saka gura in the area.

■Sample itinerary (11:20AM-5:30PM)
11:20AM Meet a guide at Kitakata Station (About 90 minutes train ride from JR Koriyama station.)

Visit first sake brewery (saka gura) with tradition and elegance from Edo-period
- Founded over 200 years ago in Edo period, this is a saka gura with history. Key to their highly valued sake, sourcing water from subterranean river just outside the brewery, so fresh and clean. You will learn how sake is brewed, and you are also welcome to taste different sake they brew.

Lunch
- Enjoy Kitakata ramen noodle, or local gourmet cooked from locally grown products at a restaurant with traditional atmosphere.

Visit kura yashiki
- Visit kura yashiki (KURA used as living quarter) of successful merchants who built fortune by various business such as silk-reeling, soy bean paste production and soy source brewery. Enjoy one of the largest and most splendid KURA in Kitakata.

Visit modern-style saka gura with beautiful Japanese garden
- This is a large, relatively modern saka gura. Together with their award-winning sake, "Champion Sake of 2015" by world's finest wine competition of International Wine Challenge, you will be fascinated by the magnificent Japanese garden attached to saka gura.

Take a break at wagashi sweets shop
- Relax and enjoy wagashi sweets of yokan (jellied dessert made of adzuki bean paste), manju (steamed bun) and many others at a shop build by KURA style with irori, sunken floor hearth.

Visit another sake brewery
- This saka gura has history over 300 years and known for very distinctive way of brewing - brewing with Mozart's music. Mozart works best for sake, for more richer fragrance and a milder taste, they say. At this saka gura, you will also find number of sugi dama, a ball like object made of cedar to inform new brew of sake, hung under the roof.

Visit soy sauce warehouse (KURA)/factory
* Included only in a private car tour
- This soy sauce warehouse, or soy source brewery, is made of persimmon trees and bricks. Many of KURA in Kitakata are soil lacquered and only privileged merchants were able to build such KURA with their fortune. If you are lucky, you may get to taste their soy source.

Visit lacquer ware (shikki) store
- Handmade by craftsperson, admire beauty of Aizu shikki, lacquer ware painted with region's original techniques. You can also create your own -paint furin (wind-bell), hand mirror, chop sticks or uchiwa (fan) with one of Aizu shikki technique called maki-e.
* Tour schedule may change should you wish to try maki-e.

Tour finishes at 5.30pm, your guide will take you back to Kitakata station or your accommodation.

Please inquire us if you are interested in visiting the following location:
Visit rice cracker (sembei) specialty store
- Try and experience sembei making. With over 100 years of history, you will see sembei grilled over charcoal one by one by hand at the store.

Visit unique KURA style temple
- In Kitakata, you will find even temple is KURA style. The main hall of the temple was re-constructed by KURA style after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of Kitakata. It is not easy to find such temple in other parts of Japan.

*Pricing: please inquire us.
This tour is available either by walk or in a private car - you can visit additional sights by a private car. Pick-up from Koriyama station is also available upon request.

Tour Detail

Tour Style
Available language: English
Group Size
Min. 1 person
Max. 6 persons
(Please inquire us for a party of 7 or more.)
Duration
6 hours
Destination
What's Included
- Guide
- Admission fee to facilities
What's not Included
- Transportation fee to/from meeting point
- Food and beverage
Tour Tips
Booking process
1. Please contact us for availability and pricing 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.
4. Reservation will be confirmed upon payment is received. Confirmation e-mail will be sent to you.

Payment method: Paypal, wire transfer, and bitcoin
*Payment needs to be made in advance

Cancellation Policy
Reservations may be cancelled without a charge up to 8 days prior to the program date.
Reservations cancelled less than 3 days before the program date will incur the following charges:
- Between 7 days and 3 day: 30% of the program charge
- Between 2 days and 1 day: 80% of the program charge
- Less than a day or no show: 100% of the program charge
*Time in JST