Hiroshima Sake is famous for its soft water brewing which began in 1898. The rice is grown locally at several mountain farms. Combined with special strains of yeast and crystal-clear water make for an award winning, high quality sake. Hiroshima is home to over 50 sake breweries.
The very first Sake fair in Japan was held in 1899 at Hiroshima and the first one in Tokyo in 1907. There, Hiroshima Sake took first and second place. This tradition has carried forward to today. On a recent trip to Saijo, my friend Julius and I had the opportunity to a stroll along Sakagura-dori Street where there are seven breweries. They are easy to find; just look for tall brick chimney’s, the symbol of the Sake brands. The area has a total of twelve chimney’s, and you are challenged to find them all. We stopped at Fukubijin brewery, founded in 1917 as a sake training school. Many of today’s Master Brewers throughout Japan started here. Even if you cannot tour the other breweries make sure to walk through the tasting area for a quick education on the process for making sake. We were served by Shimomura Teruko who picked the best of their line and ended up selling a bottle to each of us. Before leaving Saijo, go across the station and walk through the Matsu Shrine grounds. The buildings are impressive, as well as the landscaping. You can reach Saijo in about 25 minutes via the Sanyo line from Hiroshima Station.
The Saijo Festival for October 2020 was cancelled due to Covid19, however they held a virtual festival for two days.
For the remainder of the day we rode the Sanyo Line from Saijo to Miyajima. It takes just over an hour. Take the Ferry to Miyajima Island via JR (you can use your Suica card).
The famous Tori gate is currently under restoration, but do not be disappointed as there are enough other attractions to keep you busy. We took the ropeway to the top of Mt Misen for a great view of the Seto Islands, Hiroshima, and you can even see part of the Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni.
By now you are going to be hungry and Hiroshima has many great specialty dishes with Okonomiyaki and Oysters topping the list.
This is just a small sampling of what to expect when you visit the Hiroshima area.