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Become a Sake Brewer for a Weekend, at an Age-Old Brewery


An authentic experience in one of Japan's sake-brewing centers 


Escape the bustle of the big city and embark on a journey to experience the true essence of Japanese culture in Nagano Prefecture’s Saku region. This is a traditional center of sake brewing and home to 13 kura, or breweries. Slip into the traditional white smock and handcloth of a brewer, purify yourself before the patron deity of sake, then cross the threshold into the halls of a venerable brewery dating back to the 18th century. Then get a hands-on experience of the brewing process under the careful guidance of the toji-san, the brewmaster. You’ll also have English-language guidance along the way.

Surrounded by the scent of steaming rice and sake, assume your new role as the toji-san and his staff guide you through various stages of the time-honored brewing process. Depending on the day’s agenda and weather conditions, you might be washing, steaming, or cooling the rice, preparing koji rice for fermentation, stirring the starter mash, or handling other vital steps in producing sake. Sake is born through the power of microorganisms, so every moment is unique. Observe the miracle by which sake is born through a brewing process as artistic as it is intricate. Immerse yourself in a pristine, sacred world that has long been closed to outsiders. You’ll need to perform your duties with care, as the sake you help produce will one day be shipped to the market.

Then unleash your creative side and design a unique sake bottle label during a fun afternoon workshop. Hone your palate with a comprehensive sake-tasting seminar, sampling varieties from ginjo to junmai and honjozō—you’ll feel like a true sake sommelier. You’ll come to understand the deep skills developed at this brewery over more than three centuries, and you’ll pick up some knowledge you can use to show off to your friends the next time you drink together.





Kurabito Stay’s comfortable guest rooms are in a historic, century-plus building that is over 100 years old and has been refurbished to provide guests with all the rest and relaxation they need after the day’s brewing. It is located on the premises of the Kitsukura Shuzo Sake Brewery. Kurabito Stay has partnered with local restaurants to provide Japanese cuisine prepared with local ingredients and paired with Saku’s great sake. Make lasting memories as you bond with your fellow brewers during the brewery work while enjoying sake tasting and other shared culinary adventures.
At the end of the two-night, three-day experience, you'll receive a certificate from the toji-san himself, recognizing you as a member of the brewing team. 

But your journey of discovery can include more of the charms of the Saku area. Join workshops to learn to make soba noodles or prepare sushi, or visit one of the many other sake breweries of the region. 

Kurabito Stay is available primarily on weekends; reservations are required and can be made in Japanese or English.

Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train to Sakudaira Station (about one hour 25 minutes); transfer to the Koumi Line local train to Usuda Station (about 30 minutes); walk about 20 minutes or take a taxi (about five minutes).




Contribution to Sustainability

Kurabito Stay strives to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste by bottling well water, which is also used to make sake   , instead of having guests buy plastic water bottles   . The hotel also aims to give back to the community by purchasing local ingredients, guiding guests to local restaurants, and working with local tradespeople.


3-day, 2-night winter (sake brewing) program (Kurabito Stay) 


623-2 Usuda, Saku-shi, Nagano-ken


2 nights, 3 days or more




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