Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery tour Himeji

Japan: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Date: 25th March, 2015

After the morning disappointment of visiting Himeji Castle, I decided to explore Himeji city a bit more before leaving for Tokyo. I considered visiting one more attraction, and chose the Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery (sake is a Japanese rice wine). Looking at a map of Himeji city, it didn’t seem that far from the JR station.

Himeji city pavement trees Japan
Loved seeing well designed sidewalks
Traditional dress couple Himeji Japan
And seeing the traditional with the new
JAL office Himeji Japan
I walked past the other side of the JR station, which has some hotels like and a Japan Airlines building
Himeji city pavement design Japan
I kept admiring the pavements because all this good planning is a rarity back in India

I tried to locate Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery on Google Maps but I still ended up a bit lost after I followed the route the app showed me.

Japanese house himeji
I ended up walking through a few residential neighbourhoods, and got a glimpse of what it was like to live in places like Himeji
Himeji city roads cycle lane Japan
Every now and then I would stop and admire at the precision and the tidiness of the streets I was walking on
Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery Himeji
I eventually found the Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery
Nadagiku shuzo sake factory Himeji Japan
I didn’t find many people out and about and so I wondered if it was even open to visitors

Eventually a staff member from the store saw a puzzled tourist (me) and spoke to me in English. She says I can just take a look around the brewery and come back out to the store.

Nadagiku Shuzo sake factory tour Himeji
Visitors had to remove their footwear as much of the flooring is wooden. There was a group from an elderly center taking the tour as well.
Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery tour Himeji
This room had huge cauldrons, in which I’m guessing the fermentation takes place
Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery Japan
Unfortunately there was little information in English
Himeji sake brewery Japan
This other building had huge silos…
Nadagiku Shuzo Sake brewery old tools
… and some old tools. But I had no clue as to what purpose they served, because there was no one to tell me.
Nadagiku Shuzo sake brewery history Himeji
They add artwork explaining how the sake making process worked in the old days. Or that’s what I imagined what these paintings were about.
Sake making process Himeji Japan
The rice used to make sake is from Japan’s countryside and not imported. It’s soaked, mashed, slow-boiled and fermented.

Honestly, it was all quite boring and there wasn’t a whole lot to see or ‘experience’ as a tour. Hardly many visitors besides myself going around the brewery.

Nadagiku Shuzo sake shop Himeji Japan
The only upside was when I returned to the sake store
Nadagiku Shuzo sake store Himeji Japan
The staff member who spoke English gave me a few samples of sake and explained the various varieties, like ones that are dry, sweet and ones that give a strong after taste

At the end, I bought two bottles of sake to take back home.

Red double-decker bus Himeji Japan
If you want to locate the brewery, keep an eye out for this red double-decker bus parked outside. This bus is parked at the parking lot of the brewery.

I left Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery and decided to head back to Himeji 588 Guesthouse.

Himeji JR station bus stop Japan
I took a local bus to get back to Himeji JR station (bus fare was ¥170)

After picking up my bags from the hostel, I had a quick — but lousy — pasta lunch at an eatery on the way to the JR station.

Himeji JR station park Japan
An open public space in front of the station building

I bought my shinkansen ticket to Tokyo. I was going to take a Nozomi train once again.

Bullet train Himeji station
I was about to embark on my final shinkansen ride

As I sat on the platform waiting for my train, I was shaken by the sound of a Nozomi shinkansen zipping past my platform. The entire train sped past in less than 5 seconds! I missed the opportunity to capture it on video. So I got up and waited for the next train to pass. Soon enough a Hikari (slower than Nozomi) was on it’s way through Himeji station.

Now if that seemed pretty fast to you, know that the Nozomi travels even faster!

Inside shinkansen Himeji to Tokyo
My train arrived not a minute late
Seat lever shinkansen train Japan
I saw passengers turn an entire row of seats around to either face each other or face in the other direction. They kick down on that lever and the entire seat row lifts up and swirls.
Himeji city railway tracks Japan
Bye bye Himeji. I wouldn’t say it was entirely worthwhile coming here but… oh well.
Hillside Japan view from train
I enjoyed the Japanese countryside for a while as I was returning to a concrete jungle

Countryside greenery Japan

Sitting beside me was your typical Japanese ‘salary man’. He struck up a conversation with me, asking me where I was from and all that. Turns out he was working for an engineering company which does business in India, mostly out of their Chennai office. We chatted for a long while about several topics — most about India (he had a lot of questions) and travel. He was impressed with my travels, because despite the fact he travels a lot on business, he has not had a lot of vacation time. I asked him what his plans were for Golden Week (Japan’s busiest holiday period, usually in April) and he said “not much, may work”. He lived up to my pre-existing notion about the work environment in Japan. How stressful life is for the average office goer. Long hours, working on the go, and little time for anything else. This guy had 3 phones with him… and only one was for personal use!

I love Japan and I’ve dreamt about living and working here in the past, but seeing the kind of work life I’ve noticed in Tokyo (where I’d like to live), I don’t think I’ll enjoy the reality as much.

Anyway, when I kept looking out the window, my new Japanese friend asked me if I was looking out for Mount Fuji. He said he’ll tell me when we’re near 🙂

Just before sunset, my co-passenger told me to get my camera ready. And a few minutes later, there he was…

Mount Fuji from bullet train Japan
I took a few photos as well
Mount Fuji evening Japan
It was a pretty sight and I couldn’t wait for when I would visit Hakone
Mount Fuji smoke Japan
I wanted to take more photographs of ‘Fuji-san’ during the day
Cleaners Tokyo shinkansen Japan
I arrived at Tokyo station and as I exited, I was greeted by these cleaners. The cleaners clean each car in less than 7 minutes!

Don’t believe me?

From Tokyo station, I made my way to Asakusa district. I was going to be staying at Khaosan Tokyo Laboratory hostel for a few nights.

Khaosan Hostel bed Tokyo Japan
Khaosan has many hostels in Tokyo and are quite popular. The hostel was pretty good I’d say. It has an elevator and the kitchen on the topmost floor was quite nice.
Panas Indian restaurant Japan
I stepped out and walked around my area to see what was available in terms of eateries and other stores. There was an Indian restaurant called Panas beneath a nightclub quite close to the hostel.
Panas Indian restaurant Tokyo Japan
Indian food is quite popular in Japan — they love curry
Naan thali Indian restaurant Japan
I had a lousy lunch so I was craving some tried & tested food. The food at Panas was just mediocre given that it cost ¥1630 (Rs. 900) for 2 naans, two gravies and “saffron rice” — which is nothing but yellow colour rice with no hint of saffron. Oh well, at least I felt full. You can always count on Indian food for that!

Tomorrow, I would visit the Asakusa Shrine and Ueno Park to see if the sakura had fully bloomed. I would also visit Shibuya after that. All that in the next few posts.

Next post(s) in this series:

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015: Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji — and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport — and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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