Visited quiet and peaceful sake town in Saijo, Hiroshima. The population was just 60,000 people but heard that their sake festival (every October) attract 220,000 visitors for two days from outside of the town.
We stopped at Furance-ya for lunch which is owned by sake brewery called Kamotsuru Brewery, located a few mins walk from the JR Saijyo Station.
Gold Kamotsuru is one of their sake and it’s served at Sukiyabashi Jiro (sushi restaurant in Tokyo) when President Obama & Abe enjoyed sushi there.
It’s unique for sake brewery to have own restaurant in Japan. But it’s quite lovely experience to enjoy the sake and local dish there. Their speciality is Bishu-Nabe. (美酒鍋）Nabe means pot and Bi-beautiful and Shu-sake. Usually nabe dishes are cooked by dashi stock or shoyu & mirin flavor such as sukiyaki … but Bishu-Nabe is totally different. Cooked by sake, salt & pepper. Ingredients are chicken, pork and gizzard and seasonal vegetables. I found sake enhanced the umami of each ingredients and the aroma was fantastic.
History: It’s born as a staff meal at the brewery and it was a simple meal just used gizzard, Chinese cabbage, spring onion with sake, salt & pepper. But it has been known gradually as a local dish of the town and add more ingredients like today.
After the meal, we also checked their sake gallery to learn how they make sake at the brewery and learnt about local Hiroshima sake rice. (they displayed the rice such as Yamada-Nishiki, Hattan Nishiki etc… total 8 kinds of them) We could taste the spring water which is used for brewery and enjoyed the sampling some of their popular sake. (some were sold only at the brewery)
There are more than 10 sake breweries near the train station. Apart from sake itself, sake sweets are getting popular among girls. Really liked Sake-kasu (sake lees, byproduct of sake) caramel ! You can buy it their tourist information along Sakagura Street, 5mins walk from the station.
(C) Asian Foodie