Uchigura Sake Brewery
A Waterside Brewery Beloved as a Fushimi Landmark

Uchigura Sake Brewery A Waterside Brewery Beloved as a Fushimi Landmark

  • Period: 1906
  • Uchigura Sake Brewery A Waterside Brewery Beloved as a Fushimi Landmark

This old-style wooden sake brewery was built in 1906. The name “Uchigura” refers to the fact that it is an “uchigura” or “internal brewery” adjoining the main residence of the sake brewery. From the south side of the courtyard in the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, there are three gable-roofed white earthen-walled buildings in a row: the Maegura, the Nakagura, and the Okugura (front, middle, and rear breweries). They were expanded and altered shortly after construction, reaching their final form in the 1910s. In 2007, under the leadership of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Uchigura Sake Brewery and five other Gekkeikan buildings and items and were selected as “Heritage of Industrial Modernization” sites that tell of the industrial modernization and development of technology.

Within the Uchigura, occupying the Maegura and Nakagura, is the Gekkeikan Sakekobo all-season sake brewing mini plant, in which the chief brewers currently brew sake using the traditional hand methods of the Tajima-ryu (school). In the depths of winter, when winter-brewed sake is at its peak, the place is filled with the aroma of steamed rice and fermentation, making the Museum seem even more like a real brewery. Visitors can watch the fermentation of the “moromi” main mash from behind glass. (Please contact the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum by the day before your intended visit. Note that work such as steaming rice or preparations are done on an irregular basis.)

To the west of the Uchigura is the Horikawa River, which was constructed to form the outer moat of the castle by bringing in water from the Uji River. When Fushimi Castle, which served as the political center of Japan from the late Azuchi-Momoyama period to the start of the Edo period, was being constructed, Toyotomi Hideyoshi also laid out the castle town around it, designing the canals to flow through the city. From spring to autumn, tourist boats known as “Jikkokubune” ply these canals, and the view of the sake brewery seen through the willow trees lining the river is one of the most beloved landmarks of Fushimi tourism.

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