People widely know about Washoku, a beautiful Japanese cuisine designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset by UNESCO but little know about a secret taste from a modest part of the whole table – a cup of sake. Mentioning about sake, Kyoto takes its place as one of the most outstanding traditional sake cities across Japan. With Kyoto, sake is a part of its history, playing an important part in the development strategy of the city. Breaking to tranquil atmosphere surrounding ancient establishments dating back to the Meiji period of Fushimi district, along tree lined canals embracing the most calm flows, you can meet beautiful wooden architecture with elegant white walls of sake warehouses where you can discover the secret taste of sake culture as a soul of Kyoto city.
Fushimi sake district took shape when Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a castle here leading to create such a busy castle town. Taking the advantage of the unique underground water, Fushimi sake brewers swiftly turned their home to be the town of sake. It was recorded that during Edo time, the total number of sake breweries in Fushimi reached over 80 ones, the town bloomed as the flower of sake production with the best quality all over the country. One more special thing, sake has contributed an important part to the perfect taste of Kyoto cuisine, making it special, make it unique , make it Kyoto.
The perfect quality of Fushimi sake is almost created by the smooth and mellow underground water of the district with the amazing balance of potassium and calcium in the medium-hard water. This water was even named as fragrant water of the palace, or Gokonomiya in Japanese, listing as 100 famous natural water sources in Japan. Under dedicated hands of sake experts, along with the secret methods cultivated over generations and continuously falling drops of sweat of workers, the mellow water amazingly changes into the excellent tasted sake.
Gekkeikan Okura Kinenkan seems to be the most noticeable name among sake brands around Fushimi district, standing as one of the oldest companies in the world. The brewery was established here in 1637 by Jiemon Okura. It is some sort of a museum where you can get knowledge about Fushimi and its sake culture and history. Some equipment of sake brewing have been recognized as folk craft cultural assets by Kyoto City. The museum offers a clear look at sake producing process along with a number of sake containers throughout the years. As you go around the museum, you can enjoy the scene in which labors work and sing along recorded folk songs from the pre-Industrial era. Fushimi Yume Hyakushu was opened in 1919 as the head office of Gekkeikan, now turning into a coffee shop. Aburacho is an other must visited spot in Fushimi as it collects sake from all of the sake breweries in Fushimi with around 80 different types of sake.