Japan Guide describes it best: The Fushimi Sake District is a charming, traditional sake brewing district along the willow-lined Horikawa River in southern Kyoto. Revered for the clean, soft water that flows in abundance from the river’s underground springs, the district is home to nearly 40 sake breweries.
Walking through Fushimi, you can’t help but notice the beautiful traditional appearance of the buildings with wood and white-plaster walls. We didn’t have a lot of time in Fushimi (everything closes at 4:30PM!) but we made it a point to visit the Go-kawa River, the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, and the Fushimi Yume Hyakushu Café for a sake tasting.
Water is so important to Fushimi. The name Fushimi refers to the underground waters and its famous springs. As Inside Kyoto states, the water from these underground sources is soft, mellow and is held to be particularly delicious – perfect for sake production. Many sake breweries thrive in this area and Fushimi sake is renowned as the perfect complement for Kyoto cuisine. This is why we had to visit the Go-kawa River, to see the water source for ourselves. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a canal tour of the breweries – next time!
After visiting the Go-kawa River, we made our way to the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum for an introduction to the history of Fushimi sake making and its influence in Japanese culture. The museum features traditional tools and artifacts for sake production as well as items like advertisements that are related to Gekkeikan’s history. After the tour we were able to do a small tasting of different products, ranging from dry and sweet sake to plum wine. We couldn’t leave without purchasing a bottle to take back with us!
We finished our time in Fushimi by visiting the Fushimi Yume Hyakushu Café for a sake tasting. Formerly the head of office of Gekkeikan, the Fushimi Yume Hyakushu is now a café where you can sample sake from all of the Fushimi breweries. Each of the sake breweries is represented by a set of three sakes. I loved the retro atmosphere of the café. We really enjoyed our tasting that came with delicious pickles.