By Valentin DK
In the inland sea between Kobe and Shikoku, Awajishima (Awaji island) has many secret places, stories and experiences to offer. On this mythological island, the free tour of Sennen-ichi Sake Brewery Tour is a must.
The brewery is on the main road in Kuruma, a town on the island, but the entrance for the tour faces the parallel road around the corner. There is always someone around so, if no one is opening the main door, just be patient and eventually one of the employees will open the door.
The first part of the tour takes place in some of the big rooms where the sake is produced, bottled and branded, and is followed by a complete and professional explanation on how they process the rice, the actual extraction of sake, the history of the brewery, and some numbers about the volume of production.
After around half an hour comes the sake tasting, of some of their best products on the market. You start with a light fruity sake “Romance” (300ml bottle - ¥1080), passing through a half-fermented sake with a pleasant taste of rice and forest “Shiboritate” (300ml bottle - ¥540; 720ml bottle - ¥1188; 1800ml bottle - ¥2430). The last bottle, the gold medal winning “Chiyunoenishi”, contains the most delicious, and also the most expensive sake of the brewery; the quality of this divine sake hides in the distinct flavour of rice. The long fermentation cycle allows this delicacy to reach a higher percentage of alcohol, around 19.5 %, and at the same time creates a smooth feeling on the palate, needless to say how dangerous this combination is … too good to only have one sip. (720ml bottle - ¥5400; 1800ml bottle - ¥10800).
At the end of the sake tasting you will have time to look around and check out all the products the brewery has to offer, from sake to snacks made out of sake, ending with some of the snacks, which will help you to mitigate the effects of this noble product.
When the tour is over, some drops of the best sake in Japan will have warmed your heart, so the last thing you must do is to buy some of these great human creations and take it back with you. The moment you open the bottle you will relive all the flavours, feelings and sensations you experienced at Sennenichi brewery factory.
It’s important to know few things before going to Sennenichi Sake Brewery; first, you need to call the factory and reserve your tour. Then, since the tour is going to be in Japanese, make sure to bring a friend or at least someone who can translate for you. Finally, make sure you bring enough money, because after the tour and the sake tasting you are 100% going to buy their delightful sake or at least one of their sake based souvenirs.
By car: you can find the brewery on local route 28, following directions to Kuruma (久留麻).
By train: there are no trains on Awajishima, so bus directions are given below from Maiko, Kobe and Tokushima.
By bus from Maiko: take a bus bound for Higashiura (東浦) from Maiko bus stop (高速舞子) on the Kobe-Naruto-Awaji expressway, and get off at Higashiura bus terminal. Then take a local bus bound for Sumoto bus stop (洲本高速), and get off at Kariya (仮屋).
By bus from Kobe: take a bus from Sannomiya (三宮) bus terminal bound for Sumoto bus stop, and get off at Shizuki (志筑) bus stop. Then take a local bus bound for Iwaya (岩屋), and get off at Kariya.
By bus from Tokushima or Naruto: take a bus bound for Sumoto bus stop, from Tokushima (徳島) bus station or Naruto (鳴門) bus stop, and get off at the last stop. From there, take a local bus bound for Iwaya, and get off at Kariya.
By ferry: you can take a ferry from Akashi (near Maiko) to Iwaya on Awajishima. From Iwaya, take a bus bound for Sumoto and get off at Kariya.
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