Hokusetsu Sake Brewery
Rice wine matured with music? This is what sake dreams are made of...
? This location is in Niigata Prefecture — GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! ?
Hokusetsu Sake Brewery is home to the rice wine used in the Michelin-starred Nobu restaurants all over the world.
Although Hokusetsu is located on Sado Island, an isle in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Niigata Prefecture, it attracts many celebrities to each year. As you enter the brewery, not only will you be greeted by countless shelves of Hokusetsu sake bottles, but also picture after picture of actor Robert de Niro’s visit to the brewery. Yes, he’s a fan.
Hokusetsu Brewery is home to a variety of top-quality sake of which about 70 percent sold is outside Sado Island. The quality varies from the purest levels of the drink like junmai and junmai ginjo to even plum wine and limited seasonal sake.
Take a tour
While the brewery is open year round, a free sake tasting and tour around the facility is available from only May to October upon reservation. After putting on plastic gloves, shower caps and shoe cover bags for hygienic purposes, you will be invited to visit the part of the 140-year-old brewery that is normally closed to public.
Hokusetsu Brewery distinguishes itself from other breweries, especially in how they “mellow” sake in a special music room.
The most impressive part of the tour is the fermentation room. Gigantic tanks of rice wine dominate the room as the liquids mature to fine taste. Occasionally, you may also see workers sieving rice or stirring sake in humongous containers. Traditional handmade methods are what have given rise to the premium dry and smooth texture of Hokusetsu sake. The taste brings up imagery of heavy snow in the northern provinces, a very serene and modest rural Japanese scene.
Hokusetsu Brewery distinguishes itself from other breweries, especially in how they “mellow” sake in a special music room. Sake is believed to mature in a more speedy manner with the presence of ultrasonic waves. As a result, the sake will gain a more refreshing and crisp texture. The music room is kept at a constant zero degree celsius, though, so make sure to layer up as you visit the brewery!
Visitors can taste the sake after the tour at the brewery’s designated mini bar area. Enjoy!