In the heat of summer there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of carbonated water.
The birthplace of this bubbly beverage is right here in the northern Hanshin area, and there’s more than one “sacred site” around here.
○ “Wilkinson Tansan” (Takarazuka City)
In 1889, while hunting in the then vast forests of Takarazuka, the Briton John Clifford Wilkinson stumbled upon a natural carbonated spring near the source of Takarazuka Onsen hot springs.
(Source: Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
“There is natural carbonated water under here”
A 1.2-meter-high stone pillar is located in the Takarazuka Onsen town near the Mukogawa River in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture.
A vending machine found only in Takarazuka City
All products are “Wilkinson” at this vending machine in the birthplace of the brand, Takarazuka City.
In front of the hot spring facility “Nature Spa Takarazuka” in Yumoto Town, Hyogo Prefecture, stands a signboard telling the history of Takarazuka City as the birthplace of the carbonated drink, “Wilkinson Tansan,” and a vending machine selling only the brand’s sparkling soda.
Carbonation has fascinated people through the ages, and the movement to establish a “sacred place for carbonation” is gaining momentum.
In May 2019, Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Takarazuka Hotel, Takarazuka Ryoin Sogo Kumiai (Takarazuka Food and Drink Association), and Takarazuka International Tourism Association joined forces and gave shape to their passion for carbonated drinks by creating the “Takarazuka Highball.” Offered to wide acclaim at hotels citywide, the purple “local highball” is named after Takarazuka’s city flower, the violet, and brings a wide range of people together united by a love for carbonation.
○ Mitsuya Cider (Kawanishi City)
In 1881, a foreign scholar, William Galan, analyzed the carbonated water gushing from the Hirano mineral springs of Kawanishi City and praised it as “an ideal mineral spring for beverages.”
Three years later, this carbonated water was bottled and sold under the name “Hirano Sui,” a product aimed at foreigners. Later, after adding spices and sugar, the “Mitsuya Champagne Cider” appeared. Advertised under the name “Mitsuya Cider,” it became a hit product that has been loved ever since.
Origin of the Name “Mitsuya”
In the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), Minamoto no Mitsunaka (military commander, 912-997) offered prayers at the Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine for the construction of a castle. The oracle of the shrine shot a special arrow which flew to the land of Tada and Hirano. The man who searched for and found this arrow was given the surname of “Mitsuya” and a crest of three arrow feathers. Minamoto no Mitsunaka is believed to have discovered the Hirano mineral spring, which became a unique episode in Kawanishi City, related to the Genji Clan.
In Hirano, Kawanishi City, the “Kyu Mitsuya Kinenkan” (Old Mitsuya Memorial Hall) and “Gensenchishitsu” (Room of the Source) built in the birthplace of Mitsuya Cider were certified as “the first registered cultural heritage properties in Kawanishi City” on March 28, 2019.
* Currently not open to the public.