*The times represent the approximate time needed to travel between major spots.
Days 1 and 2
Getting in Touch with Tokyo's Izakaya Bar Culture
Gourmet food and tasty alcoholic drinks from all over Japan gather in Tokyo, and a great first place to start is the Meishu Center Sake Shop Ochanomizu, where you can drink more than 150 kinds of sake that have been carefully selected from all over Japan.
Izakaya bars are one of the can't-miss parts of Japanese drinking culture, so you will also visit Japanese izakaya bars in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district to experience the unique izakaya bar culture.
Sake tasting experience
(Meishu Center Sake Shop Ochanomizu)
Meishu Center is a pop-up shop of sake carefully crafted all over Japan.
With a lineup of more than 150 different sakes ranging from famous classics to hidden gems, you can sample them at a low price.
You can also purchase the sake you like.
Please compare the differences and take your time to find the sake you think you like.
If you are not sure which sake is the right one for you, ask our staff for advice.
The staff will give you a hand in finding one just right for you.
The shop also has plenty of snacks that pair with sake as well. The shop has everything from rare sake to desert sake, so enjoying comparing them and finding the right match for you.
20 minutes by train(JR)
Izakaya Bar (Shinjuku's Kabukicho district)
Japanese-style bars are called izakaya
, and feature red lanterns on the outside that slightly illuminate the building's entrance and eaves. For experiencing izakaya
bar culture in Japan, make your way to Shinjuku's Kabukicho district where a huge number of izakaya
bars are gathered. Kabukicho is one of the largest entertainment districts in Japan, and is a town that never sleeps. Once you find an izakaya
bar in Kabukicho that appeals to you, feel free to step inside and enjoy Japan's izakaya
bars have a wide variety of dishes, such as yakitori
grilled chicken and kushiyaki
grilled skewers, and of course alcohol, so you can enjoy them to your heart's content while taking in the diverse and peaceful atmosphere that is the hallmark of an izakaya
50 minutes by bus
20 minutes by bus
40 minutes by train(JR)
Days 3 to 6
Encountering Delicious Japanese Sake
Sake production is thriving in Kyushu, and there are numerous sake breweries that have been making sake and shochu liquor for many, many years.
You will tour sake breweries, walking around each region and encountering the delicious local sake that is produced in that area.
The first place that you will visit is Fukuoka's Moji port and then the Mekari Parking Area. The Nikka Whisky Moji Factory nearby is a shochu factory with an eye-catching red brick exterior.
There are also sake breweries to visit in Ureshino Onsen in Saga, where you can enjoy the scenery of a hot springs town and the local delicacy, "Onsen yudofu."
Kyushu is blessed with both seafood and livestock products, providing a nice variety of local dishes that go well with sake -- Try as many as you can!
Moji port / Mekari Parking Area
Moji port, the gateway to Kyushu, is a popular tourist destination in this port city that prospered as a cornerstone of foreign trade from the Meiji era to the Showa era. Mekari Park is in the Mekari Parking Area near Moji port, and you can look out over the magnificent Kanmon Straight from the observation deck in Mekari Park, which is a location also known as a top-tier photo spot. In July 2020 the view was certified as a Night View Heritage of Japan, so even though it is a fantastic view during the day, visiting at night is recommended so that you can be immersed in the romantic atmosphere. The nearby Nikka Whisky Moji Factory (Asahi Breweries Group) is a red brick shochu
liquor factory that has a 100 year history. The entire area is retro themed and feels like stepping back in time to when it was a bustling "modern" trading port.
50 minutes by bus
JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen
75 minutes by train(JR)
30 minutes by bus
Refresh and wash away any weariness from your travels at Ureshino Onsen, one of Kyushu's representative hot springs. Ureshino Onsen is notable for being a baking soda spring that contains large quantities of sodium, and it is said that your skin will become smooth just from soaking in the water. It is also known as one of "Japan's Three Great Hot Springs for Beautiful Skin." Additionally, Saga Prefecture is famous as a Sake
Brewery Tourism® spot, which was pioneered by Kashima City. While staying here you can not only visit a variety of sake
breweries and enjoy delicious local sake
, but you can also enjoy local delicacies such as "Onsen yudofu
," which is made by boiling tofu in water from the hot springs. The Ureshino Onsen Sake
Brewery Festival is held in March every year, and visitors can sample and compare local sake
at the three sake
brewery venues in Ureshino City.
40 minutes by bus
35 minutes by train(JR)
90 minutes by car
Days 7 to 10
Enjoying Local Sake in Kyushu
Next you will savor shochu, a distilled Japanese spirit. At the Kirishima Factory Garden in Miyazaki, you can buy shochu to take home as a souvenir.
At the Kirishima Factory Garden restaurant, you will, of course, enjoy shochu, beer, and local cuisine!
For the final part of your journey, you will head to Kumamoto. After visiting Kumamoto Castle and enjoying a meal and local sake at nearby Sakura no Baba Josaien, you will return to Tokyo.
Kirishima Factory Garden
In search of delicious shochu
, make your way to the Kirishima Factory Garden, also known as the "shochu
village," operated by Kirishima Shuzo. Here you can see the shochu
manufacturing process and tour the craft beer brewery, then, at the restaurant next to the brewery, you can enjoy shochu
and beer along with local dishes such as Miyazaki beef. Fragrant bread, made using the moromi
by-products from the shochu
manufacturing process, is very popular and available at the Kirinokura Bakery. Local sake
and special products can be purchased at the attached store.
150 minutes by car
(Kumamoto's specialty dishes and sake can be enjoyed at restaurants in this facility)
The Sakura-no-baba Josaien tourism facilities at the foot of Kumamoto Castle are a complex facility that includes the Kumamoto Castle Museum Wakuwakuza, an experience-based entertainment-type facility that conveys the history and culture of Kumamoto, and the Sakuranokouji Shopping Arcade, which is a shopping street that recreates a castle town from the Edo period. On the Sakuranokouji Shopping Arcade there are approximately 20 selected restaurants and souvenir shops, and you can savor gourmet Kumamoto foods such as basashi
(sliced raw horsemeat) and karashi renkon
(lotus root and mustard paste) together with local sake
. There are also plenty of foods that can be eaten while walking, so you can also try the foods little by little while having fun.
This tour consists of a one-week trip to taste and savor Japanese alcohol in Tokyo and Kyushu. In Tokyo you will visit a beer hall and izakaya bars, while in Kyushu you will visit sake breweries. Example transportation have been provided for reference, but walking around and exploring in the areas near the spots introduced in this journey is also recommended.
*The information provided here is as of March 2022.
*Transportation information does not include the number of transfers or transfer time.
*Admission fees may be charged depending on the spot/facility. For the latest information on business hours, days when spots/facilities are regularly closed, and prices, etc., please check the official website for each spot/facility or check directly with the spot/facility.