Itami Airport is Osaka’s gateway to Japan. Just 20 minutes’ drive from here is the Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura, a complex that includes a museum showing the sake brewing process and tools. Let’s take a closer look at the charm of Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura, and find out why it continues to be a local favorite!
Founded in 1550 in Itami City, the Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura complex is operated by the long-established sake brewery Konishi Brewing. Guided by the concept of “study, play, eat, relax,” there is a restaurant on the 1st floor, a museum to learn about sake brewing on the 2nd floor, and an adjacent shop offering Konishi Brewing products. Let’s take a look at each one.
Shirayuki Brewery Restaurant Choujugura
This former sake brewery warehouse building of Konishi is 250 years old, now renovated and reborn as a restaurant. The wood construction of the spacious interior creates a calm atmosphere.
Dessert made with sake lees, pizza
The restaurant offers not only sake, but also pizza and desserts made with sake lees (a byproduct of sake production), and other items only available at a sake brewery.
Awa Nigori performance
Don’t miss one of the restaurant’s main attractions, the performance of having your glass of Awa Nigori sake poured from a height of one meter! The aeration is said to make the taste smoother.
There’s more than just sake here. In contrast to the Japanese facade and ambience, the Choujugura restaurant was created upon concepts inspired by Belgium in Europe. Sparked by the 1985 sister city tie-up joining Itami City with Belgium’s Hasselt City, the resulting beer imports led to deeper discussions between Konishi Brewing and Belgium. In 1994, Itami City’s local Shirayuki craft beer was created with the know-how learned from Belgian partners. This beer born from the Belgian connection is made at the brewery attached to the restaurant, so you can enjoy a pint freshly made onsite.
Steamed mussels with wine
In addition, Belgian dishes such as mussels steamed in wine are also popular with the locals.
Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura Museum
Once you’ve had your fill at the restaurant, visit the Brewery Museum on the second floor. The exposed ceiling beams of the museum interior add to the atmosphere of a sake brewery steeped in history and tradition. Sake brewing tools once actually used in the process are exhibited here, as well as a diorama recreating sake brewing as it was in the early Edo period (around 1600).
At the museum, the history of Konishi Brewing is also interesting to learn. The company not only developed sake brewing in Itami City in step with the times, but also contributed to the local community. Stop by the library and browse through books on the history of Itami and Belgium.
Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura Shop
After learning about sake brewing at the museum, it’s time to buy some souvenirs at the shop! Not only sake, but also sweets and Narazuke (pickled vegetables), both made with sake lees, are available here.
Window shopping is fascinating. Among the various goods you’ll also find a re-issued sake made following the mid-Edo period recipe as it was in 1702.
The shop is also a great place to find souvenirs from abroad including Belgian beer and imported glasses.
Based on the concept of “study, play, eat, relax,” Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura is a great place to experience Itami’s proud sake culture. When you come to Itami City, be sure to stop by.