My first full day in the Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan began in the town of Fujikawaguchiko, which sits in the shadow of Mount Fuji. There, I began another freezing day with a trip to the Ide Sake Brewery, which is the only sake brewery in the Five Lakes of Mt. Fuji region! Come along with my on my sake brewery tour near Mount Fuji and then join me for a Samurai wheat noodle hot pot lunch!
The Ide Sake Brewery dates back over 300 years and 21 generations and used to produce miso before they started making sake. Sake-making dates back 2,000 years and began in Shinto shrines around the country.
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There are only 1,200 sake breweries in Japan, and only 15 in the Yamanashi Prefecture. We started our sake brewery tour by visiting the fermentation room, where they have giant barrels, each of which has a different sake in it. The room smells like fermenting rice!
They make 8 different types of sake at Ide Brewery. We then visited the holding tanks where they age the sake. The aging process is different than that of wine and whiskey. It takes 2 years and can be aged in either bottles or tanks.
Then it was time for the tasting part of our sake brewery tour. My new friend Haley and I started with a 40%, which was the best sake I’d ever had! The second one was also really great. I bought a bottle of each of their two best sakes at only $33 each for my wife, a sake cup and pourer, as well as a little sake barrel for my house!
Next, we headed to the Fuji-San Deck, an observation deck that looks out at Mount Fuji. We had to run because we were running late! It takes five minutes to get to the top. The view is incredible! They were the best I’d had so far during my time in Japan. You can also see other mountains and lakes in the area. It’s stunning!
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From there, it was time for lunch at a houtou noodle restaurant called Houtou Fudou. The restaurant is beautiful and has two types of dining hall. On the left is traditional, samurai-style seating, and on the right is regular seating.
I started with inarizushi, which is sticky rice inside a deep-fried tofu pocket that has a sweet sauce on it. It was incredible. The sauce on the outside was almost like honey. I loved it with ginger and it was super filling!
Then it was time for the houtou! Houtou is a hot pot dish that consists of udon noodles and vegetables in miso broth that originated in the Yamanashi Prefecture. The noodles are huge, flat, and thick and it smells amazing! It comes with red chili flakes on the side, which I added to my bowl. The houtou was incredible!
I put a lot of spice in it, but it was still phenomenal, even if the size of the bowl was a little overwhelming! It was served boiling hot and also contained fried tofu, mushrooms, carrots, and more. It’s a nice, hearty meal that’s perfect for the winter!
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The dish is so big because samurais would eat it before going into battle. It contained all the vitamins and nutrients they needed, and they wouldn’t eat again for another day or more, so they needed a filling meal. This was my favorite miso soup with noodles!
My lunch cost 1,500 Yen, or roughly $13.50 U.S., for both the inarizushi and the houtou. The houtou by itself is 1,200 Yen, or just under $11 U.S.
Then it was time to head to the station to catch another train to another Japanese prefecture!
I hope you enjoyed coming along with me as I explored more of the Yamanashi Prefecture! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up, leave me a comment below, and please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of my upcoming food/travel content!