Photo By: PawełMM
Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Hiroshima
Population
2,878,949

Saijo

The perfect Hanami hideaway and home to glorious sake.

If you travel north from Hiroshima city, deeper into the prefecture, you’ll find mountains and interesting isolated communities.

Saijo: A Sake Day Trip From Hiroshima

Northern Hiroshima’s Saijo city is famous throughout Japan as the home of one of the best sake-brewing communities in Japan. It is recognized by sake aficionados as one of the “three great” sake brewing districts of Japan. While you can tour the sake factories all year round, the best time to try Saijo sake is at the annual sake festival.

The festival is held each October around Saijo station when the station becomes lined with stalls representing old and well-established breweries. With price of admission, visitors are free to walk around from brewery to brewery sampling various sake brands and perfectly matched snacks such as edamame beans, senbei rice crackers, and chicken skewers These stalls stretch all the way up to a fenced off section called the Sake Hiroba. This houses the premium sake stalls and costs ¥1,600 to enter.

Wherever you go, the whole area surrounding the festival grounds is like a giant banquet. You might see people peacefully lying on the ground fast asleep after drinking too much, don’t worry, this is part of the tradition. This is perhaps the kind of sight that you can only see at sake festivals.

Spring in Saijo

But there is more to Saijo than just sake. The climate of the city is a welcomed break for many Hiroshima locals. Saijo is 250-to-300 meters above sea level, making it the perfect altitude for brewing sake. This also means that the city stays cooler and less humid. This is good not only for the city residents but also for the surrounding nature.

Saijo is an extremely popular destination for people seeking the perfect hanami (cherry blossom viewing) experience in spring. The area around the local campus of Hiroshima University campus is renowned for its beautiful-and-dense forests. It’s a fantastic place to sit back and enjoy the blossoms with your friends, both because of the cherry trees and the easy access to high-quality sake. The famous Kamotsuru Brewery is just 15 minutes away by car or bus.

These trees are also very popular in autumn. While Miyajima may be the most popular place in Hiroshima for walks through golden brown trees, Saijo is a close second. The trees are so beautiful that they are used in advertisements for the university campus.

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Trivia

Saijo: A Sake Day Trip From Hiroshima

A short day trip from Hiroshima offers a fun sake tour.

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Things To Know

Fees

¥1,600 to enter the Sake Hiroba, or ¥2,100 to book a ticket in advance.

Official site

http://saijosake.com/

How To Get There

Address

1-3 Saijōhonmachi, Higashihiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0011, Japan

By train

Take the JR Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima (2.2 hours) then take the local Shiraichi train to Saijo (35 minutes).

By bus

Take an overnight bus from Tokyo to Hiroshima central bus terminal (12 hours), then a bus to Hiroshima University campus Saijo, (1 hour).

By car

It is about an 10-hour drive from Tokyo station. Take the Sanyo Expressway Route 375 to Higashi Hiroshima City , then take the exit marked Saijo IC Sanyo Expressway

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Higashihiroshima Saijo Ekimae
  • Saijohonmachi 14-24 Higashihiroshima-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0011
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.1 km
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Hiroshima Saijo Youth Hostel
  • Saijo Okamachi 3-3 Higashihiroshima-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0016
  • 9.4/10
  • 0.2 km
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Hotel Sunrise21
  • Saijo Showa-machi 5-10 Higashihiroshima-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0014
  • 7.9/10
  • 0.8 km
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Hotel Higashihiroshima Hills Saijo
  • Saijo Otsubocho 2-13 Higashihiroshima-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0005
  • 7.5/10
  • 0.9 km
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