There is a Sakura-masamune sake shop on the floor under the restaurant.
We sampled some sake while talking with the shop staff.
He said that Sakura-masamune’s sake is a purveyor to the Imperial family. The sake is offered at the Imperial garden party in spring. Also he said that the one for autumn is Kiku-masamune. Sakura(cherry blossoms) is spring flower and Kiku(chrysanthemum) is autumn flower. It’s like a good tale, isn’t it?
We left Sakura-masamune and went to Kiku-masamune commemoration hall.
There is a very good exhibition explaining the process of brewing, but we we looked at it five years ago, so we skipped this time.
We visited only a section for sake-tasting. We could sample unpasteurized sake and ume-shu.
Next was Sawanotsuru museum.
I bought a grass of Daiginjo Mineme-no-ura 大吟醸 敏馬の浦.
The bottle on the right is “shunko” 30000yen. I wished I could by it.
The last place was Kobe-Shushinkan.
This brewery makes sake called Fukuju 福寿.
We sampled many kinds of sake. They were selling sake by measure. I bought a bottle of Dunmai-ginjo (meaning careful distillation of pure rice)
There was a restaurant and a sake bar too. I’d like to try the restaurant the next time.
This is English website of Shushinkan.
Since it was time to go back came and we left for Rokkou-michi station.
We said good bye at the station and the short trip in Kobe ended. The trip was rich with experience was much enriched trip even though it was only two days. Thank you Yuki!
After going back to my patents home, my parents and I drank the sakes which I bought at the breweries with Osechi.
Osechi is traditional Japanese food for the new year celebration. I think that sake is the best alcohol to have with Japanese food. All of them were very good!
The next day was a day to drink. It was because the second day’s plan was to tour Sake cellars in Nada.
Nada is an area along the shore of southeastern Kobe. This area is famous as the largest sake producing region in Japan since the old days. Many sake breweries stand in a row. You can visit Sake breweries and Sake museums which were created by major brewing companies.
I’m a little fastidious about Sake. If it ever has any smell of bran, I don’t want to drink it. I had been convinced that I could not drink sake when I was young because I was able to buy only cheap sake those days. After getting to know nice sake, I started to like it.
When I came to Kobe five years ago, I visited two places, 浜福鶴Hamahukutsuru Brewery and 菊正宗 Kikumasamune Brewery. I especially liked Hamahukutsuru.
However, this time, some breweries had already been closed because of the new year’s holiday and so had Hamahukutsuru. So we visited other place that were still open.
Firstly, we went to Uosaki station by the Hanshin line, and walked around the brewery area. On the way, there was a tofu maker.
I bought some ganmodoki（fried tofu balls mixed with vegetables) as a souvenir for my parents. The lady of the store gave thick deep-fried tofu as a free gift.
Takinokoi kuramoto club and Museum of Hakutsuru sake brewing company were closed.
I only took pictures of them.
Nada’s Sake breweries are divided into five go (郷 villages). The upper right photograph is a sign in which the Uosaki go and Saigo go are shown.
There were many huge tanks on site at the breweries.
“It’s great that the all of those tanks are filled with sake,” said my friend thoughtfully, showing her quiet enthusiasm for drinking.
Then she said, “sake was pumped directly out from some tanks, when there was the great Hanshin (Kobe and Osaka) earthquake.”
At that time, Kobe was extensively damaged. The houses and buildings around this area also collapsed and people’s spirits were very low. Then the staff of the brewing company pumped sake out of the tanks and handed out it to the people around the area. It is a heart warming story.
We arrived at Sakura-Masamune commemoration hall.
This hall has a restaurant called “Sakura-en 桜宴.”
We had lunch there.
We ordered sake with lunch (of course).
The left one is “Shuki 朱稀.”The label says in Japanese, “from distillation by association with the first yeast
The right one is Daiginjo 大吟醸. Daiginjo is a top quality sake brewed at low temperatures from rice grains milled to 50% or less of their original weight.
Both of them are sold only in this restaurant.
Usually, the alcohol content of sake is about 14%, but these sakes have 17% because they are unrefined. The proof of unrefined sake is high.
This is the “Hanakago 花篭, lunch ” 1580yen. Shiraae白和え(salad with tofu), Otsukuri-sanshu-moriお造り三種盛り(3 sorts of sashimi), Ebi-to-Yubano-aemono海老と湯葉の揚げ物（deep-fried Soy Milk Skin and shrimps）, Sanshoku-temari-zushi三色手まり寿司(three pieces of ball shaped sushi) and 抹茶プリン（green tea pudding）.
All of the dishes were delicate tasting and delicious.
(Continued to part five)
It was growing dark and we went around Sannomiya station.
The lights of Daimaru Department Store were beautiful.
She said that Kobe people like Daimaru very much and Daimaru is always crowded in spite of the latest depression.
We went to China town.
This is smaller than the China town in Yokohama.
According to what she said, Chinatowns were usually made in order for Chinese people to protect themselves from their surroundings in the foreign countries, but this Chinatown has had good relations with residents of Kobe since the old times.
So in this china town, Chinese stores and Japanese stores are mixed.
I bought a Japanese radish rice cake and a cup of Rokkou beer. （400 yen）. I had wanted to drink Rokkou beer since I came to Kobe and drank it five years ago.
She said that there was an interesting bookstore in the Sannomiya shopping arcade.
It is a bookstore called “海文堂 Kaibundou.” The character “海” means “sea” and a “文” means text. There is a special section for marine biology, oceanography, shipping, navigation, sailing vessels and such.
These books were so specialized for professionals, that they were rather funny for nonprofessional outsiders like us. “A tide table in Heisei 22,” “How to easily understand the whale problem” “Science of sashimi” “an Echizen-jellyfish and a water-jellyfish” were just some of the titles.
Then our reservation time came and we went to a restaurant for dinner.
A French (or Italian?) restaurant called “Di-Shiner,” it was small and stylish.
After consulting with the waiter, we selected this wine.
Relish and hors d’oeuvre: olive, terrine, marinade, etc.
All dishes were set up in order for two people to share easily. It worked well.
The wine fit well with these dishes.
Since we overate before dinner, it was difficult to eat pasta. We ordered some slices of cheese and bread. The main dish was roast venison. The venison was tender and went surprisingly well with sliced kumquats. The mashed sweet potatoes on the side were also good.
After dinner, I went to her home and stayed there.
The first day in Kobe had ended. All I did that day was eat.
(Continued to part four)
chocolate and framboise cake
These cakes were very good. The chestnut cake was crisp and light.The chocolate cake had a very strong flavor. That’s the Kitano hotel.
Next, we visited Choueke House
The garden and the first floor are usually open to the public. The fee is 300 yen. The resident lives on the second floor.
There was a lot of beautiful furniture.
During this New Year holiday, I went back to my parents’ home.
My parents’ home is in Tsu-city, Mie prefecture. Although Tsu-City is the capital of Mie Prefecture, it’s the country side. There are also no famous tourist resorts. I think that if you want to relax, it’s very good place.
I went to my parents’ home on December 26, and the next day, traveled to Kobe. My friend lives there. She is a translater and my old friend from my university days. When I have trouble with English study, I question her and ask for advice.
Moreover, she is a gourmet and likes alcohol, so she gets along well with me.
From Tsu-City to Kobe, it takes about two and a half hours by theKintetsu and JR Lines. We arranged to meet at Motomachi station in Kobe.
We looked for a place to have lunch, while walking around a street with smart looking, stylish cafes and boutiques.
We entered a Chinese restaurant that she recommended and ordered the following.
五目やきそば Chinese noodles with various vegetables, seafood and meat
魚のお粥 Chinese rice porridge with fish.
These were very delicious. The seafood was tender and chewy, the porridge had a mild flavor of some kind of Chinese spices. .
We strolled around the sightseeing spot in Kitano after lunch.
“北野工房のまち Kitano Meister Garden”
Various beautiful stores are in this retro design building. A long time ago, this building was an elementary school.
The pictures on the matchboxes were very beautiful. I heard that 90% of the matches in Japan are made in Kobe.
A pastry shop called”Goncharov” and a Chinese Ten-shin food shop called “Kouran”
I tried ganache chocolate at Goncharov and a steamed bun at Kouran. Both things weren’t bad. However, in the end< I didn’t buy anything. It is troublesome to walk around with meat buns in my hand and I can make ganache chocolate by myself.
(Continued to part two)