Opened on June 28th, 2014 and located in Kanazawa City’s famous Higashi Chaya District, Shuraku is a new kind of sake shop. It’s locally owned and operated by Shu no I Namiya LLC, and the interior and exterior was designed by Kanazawa’s own Hakuichi LLC.
Inside there are 120 different famous sake brands from Ishikawa Prefecture, 80 of which can be sampled in the tasting area. In addition to the sake, visitors can find various famous Ishikawa products. Read on to find out more.
Higashiyama Shuraku’s Storefront Blends in Perfectly with the Historical Higashi Chaya District
The Higashi Chaya District was designated as one of Japan’s “Groups of Traditional Buildings” and is overflowing with historical atmosphere. Higashiyama Shuraku is located in a remodeled merchant’s home dating back to the Edo Period (1603 - 1868), and fits in perfectly. From the cobblestone roads to the weeping willow trees swaying in the breeze, it’s like traveling back in time.
Located towards the end of the main street that links all the shops together, you’ll find it set back a little to the left. Even if you’re just there to visit the historical district, it’s easy to duck in for just a moment.
Tons of Different Sake
The left half of the shop is full of shelves lined with sake for sale.
Ishikawa Prefecture is famous for its clean water, and several locations have received awards for this. Pure water grows good quality rice, and sake brewed with pure water and good rice is sure to be delicious. Not surprisingly, Ishikawa is famous in the sake industry. There are many breweries located here, many of which are still owned and operated by small families. The shopkeeper’s inspiration for opening the store was to showcase these products to tourists, and he’s done well with 120 different brands in stock.
Special Products and Delicacies from Ishikawa Complement Your Sake Experience
The snack sand delicacies on sale go well with sake. You can buy these to enjoy with your tasting, which can be done in the tasting area or in the tatami (bamboo floor) room on the second floor.
There are also other items produced in the area (Noto Peninsula), such as fish sauce, all natural spices, historically famous Kanazawa Hoji-bocha (a type of tea), Japanese sweets.
Still More to Enjoy, Even if you Aren’t Into Sake
Kanazawa City is not just famous for sake, but for traditional handcrafted goods as well. Glassware, gui-nomi (a type of cup for drinking), sake drinking sets, kutani-yaki (a type of porcelain ware), and more, so there’s still plenty to see if sake isn’t your thing.
Carefully handcrafted, the items on display can actually be used. However, the high level of craftsmanship and resulting beauty of these works is also very pleasing to the eye.
This isn’t just somewhere to go and drink – taste the delicacies that are meant to go with the sake, and hold carefully crafted sake cups in your hand. Of course, tasting is the first thing that come to mind when you mention sake, but this shop’s goal in bringing together these different products is to appeal to all five of your senses.
80 Types of Sake Available at the Tasting Area!
The circular table and counter that occupy the left half of the shop are the tasting area.
The refrigerator behind the counter cools the sake selection for the day. Prices range from 500JPY to 2,400JPY and come with a snack. The menu has detailed information on brands, cellar names and locations, costs, and tasting notes. You can order starting at just one cup, so pick one that looks interesting and give it a try.
Also, if you tell them what kind of sake you like, they can help you choose. You’re sure to find something that suits you.
A Unique Experience
While there are other similar shops that do sake tasting, Higashiyama Shuraku has gone out of its way to distinguish itself as more than just a place to drink. In hopes of delighting visitors, they’ve brought in souvenirs and special products from all over Ishikawa.
If visiting Ishikawa, don’t pass up the chance to visit this shop. There’s really no better way to experience Ishikawa culture.
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