See and taste the product of five generations.
On this tour we'll visit traditional food and sake shops that have been in business for at least five generations, culminating in a gorgeous pickled-vegetable lunch in the private livingroom of the sixth-generation owner.
The number of participants for the half-day tour is limited to six.
However, to guarantee each member receives the necessary instruction and attention during the silk braiding workshop, the number of
participants for the one day tour is limited to four. Please note this is not a private tour.
After a short trip by train from Kyoto, you will arive to the city of Otsu on the shore of Lake Biwa, a lake so large you might think you're at the Ocean.
We will refresh ourselves with a snack at a shop famous for five generations for its particular kind of MOCHI (rice cake) sweets that are so fresh they melt in your mouth.
Japanese fermented foods such as soy sauce, miso, and sake are well-known all over the world, and on this part of the tour we'll visit the heart of this area's distinctive fermented specialities.
The most famous fermented food in this area is FUNAZUSHI, a kind of pungent sushi made from fermented crucian carp, a species that is found nowhere else on earth beside Lake Biwa. It is known as the oldest sushi in the history of Japan.
We'll visit a famous FUNAZUSHI shop that's been in business for generations, and peek behind the scenes to see how this fish is prepared for sale over the course of up to four years. The receipe this shop uses has been handed down for generations and is known only to the owner and his son.
Next we'll visit a sake brewery that's been in business for 17 generations and you'll be treated to an exclusive tour of the current brewery that has been in active use for over 150 years. You'll see the ax marks on the huge oak beams, the evidence of "modern upgrades" like the addition of electric lighting, and "new" fermenting tanks from the 1950s.
The brewery is not open to the general public and has not been retrofitted for handicapped access; tour participants will be required to exercise due caution not to harm this historically-important building or disturb its current operations. Before departing the brewery, we'll sample some of its produce in a tasting exclusive to this Tour du Lac Biwa tour. Again, this is not in a museum or a banquet hall, but on a workshop table right in the heart of the brewery. Select tour groups will have the various sakes explained directly by the current 17th-generation head of the company.
We'll next visit a shop that's prepared pickled goods (mostly vegetables and fish) for six generations. If you're not familiar with Japanese pickled foods, you'll be surprised and delighted at the wide variety of tastes you can explore.
The shop we'll visit enjoys the extremely rare distinction of having actually sold their goods to the Imperial Household Agency in generations past, to be consumed by the emperor of Japan back when he was considered to be a living god. At the time, it was a rare privilege to be able to even give ones produce to the emperor, but this shop's pickled goods were so sought after that the emperor actually purchased them.
This Japanese pickle store was established in 1850 and appointed by Royal Warrant in 1916.
Enryaku Temple on Mt. Hiei, which is registered as a World Heritage Site, uses Yaoyo pickles for their Buddhist vegetarian dishes!
The store is like a museum with it’s precious antiques.
Finally, we'll make our way to the rear of the shop and pass through a narrow door to the owner's attached home to enjoy a gorgeous lunch in his private living room.
The tour takes you to visit Shinise Touzaburouhimo after lunch in the afternoon.
Enjoy a Craft Workshop in the old atelier.
The graceful kumihimo or silk braid, a Kimono accessory, will surely fascinate you.
You can learn how to make the braid strap from Mr. Touzaburou IV himself.
Shinise Touzabrouhimo was established in 1867.
The beautifully graceful silk thread artwork, coloured with natural plant and tree dyes was registered as a ‘Special Cultural Heritage’ by the Japanese government. Nowadays the fourth generation owner, Mr. Touzabrou, has taken over and carried on their traditional artwork.
This concludes our culture tour.
The tour conductor takes you to Keihan Otani station and gets you boarded on the train to Kyoto. The conductor has to see you off at Otani station.
*Please understand that the itinerary may be changed without notice due to the weather, traffic and emergency situation.