Saijo Sake Matsuri
October 10 - October 11
The biggest sake festival in Hiroshima. The prefecture annually ranks 4th or 5th in volume of sake produced and Saijo is one of Japan’s most famous sake brewing districts. In celebration of this, once a year everyone goes to the local park and attempts to drink as much of it as possible.
The Sake Hiroba is a fenced off park where you can, for a fee, you can sample as many, and as much of, the approximately 1000 kinds of sake on offer from all over the country. The festival, however, has grown in scale and popularity in recent years and there is quite a lot going on in the streets between Saijo Station and the Sake Hiroba. Most of it centers on sake (of course) and you can pop into the breweries and sample some of their products, bowse the food stalls and watch parades and performances. Although alcohol is very much at the center of this event, many families do attend. Be warned though, the narrow side streets do get very crowded.
There is no re-admission to the main Sake Hiroba, so if you want to do tour the breweries and stagger around the back streets, you should probably do that first.
Admission to the Sake Hiroba is ¥1600 if you buy a ticket in advance or ¥2100 on the day at the gate. The surrounding festival is free of charge. Advance tickets are available at convenience stores and ticket outlets.
Includes a sake cup, 7 sake tickets and a coupon to exchange for a bottle.
If you are planning on taking the train home, may be best not to wear open-toed shoes…
Saijo is 40 minutes east of Hiroshima on the JR Sanyo Honsen Line. One way tickets are ¥580 for adults. It’s worth buying your return ticket when you arrive as lines to buy tickets can be long in the evening.