Take our user survey here!
Largest City

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!

Things To Know

Official site


Hours and reservation

The shop and sake tasting is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. all year, but the factory tour is only available from May to October. The factory tour and sake tasting is free, but please make reservations at least one day in advance by calling 0259-87-3105.

How To Get There


Japan, 〒952-0706 Niigata-ken, Sado-shi, Tokuwa, 2377−2 (株)北雪酒造

By bus

Take the Akadomarisen Line or Maehama Line to Akadomari Gyokyoumae. The brewery is approximately 2 minutes on foot from bus stop.

By car

It is about 25 minutes away from Ogi Port, in the direction of Ryotsu Bay.

By foot

A 10-minute walk from Akadomari Port.

Where To Stay

Carafuru (Sado Island)
  • 1006 Matsugasaki, Sado-shi, Niigata, 952-0821 Japan
  • ¥21,960 - ¥30,000
  • 3/5 (6 reviews)
  • 9.3 km

Topics: , , , , , ,