Archive for June, 2014

2015 New Destinations

japan_map_sake_tohoku_kyushuWe are very excited to announce two new destinations in 2015: Kyushu, February 2–6, and Tohoku, February 23–27. After successful tours last year, the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association decided to invite more sake enthusiasts to experience Japan through sake with their help. For one more year you can get a 50,000 yen discount on each tour. This is the last year for this special opportunity. So, don’t miss it! Both tours are 5-day excursions into the world of sake brewing, drinking, and enjoyment featuring an exclusive seminar by the greatest sake sensei, John Gauntner. The tours feature sumptuous cuisine, quiet, luxurious, relaxing hot springs, and excursions to fantastic cultural highlights in areas seldom visited by foreigners. Kyushu, February 2 – 6, 2015 (Monday-Friday) Many think of the southern island, Kyushu, is the land of shochu. Actually, Fukuoka where we visit four sake breweries, has always been a major sake region. The Kyushu tour is going to be for adventurous foodies, and it adds sake, nature, and a little bit of shochu to the mix. We’ll start by meeting sake brewers and rice growers, and end the day with sake pairings with the freshest fugu sashimi at your welcome dinner. Then we continue the quest with a shop-to-shop ramen crawl in Hakata, casual pop-up oyster BBQ by the port, and mysterious but tasty creatures from Ariake-kai Bay. For refined palates, a taste of the best super premium gyokuro tea will be a real treat. On the final day, you will visit a cooking studio in Kumamoto where white smoke rise from the ground everywhere and steam your own vegetables in geothermal vents. Then, you will have time to soak in open-air hot springs with a magnificent view of the mountains in Yufuin, Oita. Sake Breweries: Mori-no-Kura, Kitaya (2013 IWC Champion Sake), Wakatakeya, Niwa-no-Uguisu R0024745Ramen Yatai/ Hakata Tohoku, February 23 – 27, 2015 (Monday-Friday) This is going to be a sake fan’s dream tour with visits to four sake breweries across the Tohoku region bridging the contrast between the snowy mountains of Yamagata and Miyagi’s Matsushima Bay. Sake and onsen hot springs are the theme for this tour. Start exploring Yamagata with a sake and Yonezawa beef pairing at your welcome dinner. In addition to visiting eminent breweries, highlights in Yamagata include helping to brew sake at Dewazakura, making soba, trekking up the mountain to see the Snow Monsters, then, soaking in onsen in Zao. On the last two days, experience the coastal side of Miyagi in Matsushima, which has made a tremendous recovery from the disaster of March 11. Enjoy feasting during our visit to a working fish market, munching steamy hot oysters at a pop-up shack, and simply relaxing in beautiful onsen hot springs by the serene bay. Sake Breweries: Toko, Yonetsuru, Dewazakura(2008 IWC Champion Sake), Urakasumi nat219Snow Monsters/Zao Both tours are 280,000 JPY per person on a twin basis. After a generous 50,000 JPY subsidy from the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, your cost is only 230,000 JPY. Please visit for more tour information after July 10th. Group size is limited to 14. E-mail Etsuko at for more information or to sign-up.