Of streets and sake: Fushimi-ku + Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

R and I aren’t very big on drinking alcohol, but we were still plenty curious about sakeSake is actually the general term for alcohol in Japan, but sake-sake is rice wine. Visiting the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum became part of our itinerary, especially when we learned that it was in Fushimi. After resting a little outside Fushimi Inari Taisha, we headed to the Fushimiinari station of the Keihan Line to ride to the Chushojima station, the train station nearest the museum.

11_gekkeikan_01We came from the other side, but we paused for a while to watch a train pass by.11_gekkeikan_02Well, I tried taking a picture of the train but I only caught the end of it, haha.11_gekkeikan_03And the barriers going up again so people could cross.11_gekkeikan_04At the Chushojima station, a kindly attendant gave us directions to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. This was one of the streets we passed by. Notice the small torii at the side of one house. I wonder if it’s just an ornament or a small shrine.

At the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, we paid 300 yen each for our tickets and were handed English pamphlets. We didn’t take any pictures inside because R and I didn’t see anyone else doing so, haha. Call us silly, but we were always conscious of our behavior wherever we were in Japan. We certainly didn’t want to offend anyone just because we were ignorant. And so we trailed behind a group of Japanese tourists through the museum, getting by with the exhibits and pictures, because unfortunately the information posted were in Japanese. It wasn’t very hard to understand, though, as the exhibits mostly showed the tools and methods they used (or still use) when making sake. Another part of the museum also showed the traditional cups and saucers they used to serve sake, and the barrels where they stored sake. There were also posters that seemed to be advertisements of Gekkeikan Sake in the 1930s and later.

After the exhibit, we were given a can of Gekkeikan sake each (yay!). They also served free sake for taste-testing. Some of them were definitely too strong for me, but I absolutely loved the plum wine. All those gulps of free sake will definitely warm you up.

11_gekkeikan_05 And then we were led into this courtyard, where more displays of sake-making (or sake-storing) tools were set up. These barrels were apparently used to store sake. They were as tall as a person. I think that sign over there tells people not to enter the barrels, haha.11_gekkeikan_06 11_gekkeikan_07 11_gekkeikan_08This was probably where they brew the sake? I wish I understood what the guide was saying, orz.11_gekkeikan_09

Afterwards, we were led into the museum shop, where you can buy – guess what! – sake! R and I were sorely tempted to buy a bottle of plum wine. We had to restrain ourselves because the bottles of plum wine available were big ones (normal wine bottle size?). Since R was my perpetual bellboy (haha ilu R) during our entire trip and he didn’t fancy carrying a heavy bottle of wine to our next destination, neither did I. We contented ourselves with our free sake and a small bottle of peach wine to share later back at our ryokan 😀

We enjoyed a more leisurely stroll through the neighborhood on our way back to the Chushojima station. (R joked that the river water was probably sake.) I’m curious about that boat; I wonder where it ferries people to. Maybe next time we could ride it. 😀 There were a number of people sitting by the riverbanks, fishing, as you can see here. I think one was even painting. It felt very peaceful and relaxing here.

11_gekkeikan_16R and I came upon this cat near the station. I couldn’t resist petting it! Its fur was so thick. It (quite patiently, I think!) let me pet him/her before it finally crossed the street where there was another cat waiting. (Imaginary cat convo – Cat 2: Who was that? Cat 1: No idea bro)

To get to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, ride the Keihan Line and get off at the Chushojima station, or ride the JR Nara Line and get off at the Momoryama Goryo-mae station. Ask your friendly station attendants for walking directions from those stations, haha. 😀

Visit my Japan page for more of my misadventures (and information, of course)!


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