Not far from Naritasan Shinshoji temple on Omotesando Street, there is a shop which stands out from the many shops in the area. The shop is painted all black, in a simple but authentic Japanese style. That is what attracted me to walk in. Nabedana is a shop which sells sake from Nabedana Incorporated sake brewery in Narita town.
Nabedana have brewed sake for more than 350 years and the company has been in the family for 19 generations. Sake produced here has won gold medals 15 times in the national Sake Contest.
Inside the shop, there are many kinds, sizes, and prices of sake to choose from. There are single bottles to sets of two or more for gifts. I tried chilled plum sake. It’s sweet and tasty. I also tried another drink which I would recommend you to try if you go to Nabedana. A barrel in front of the shop contains something that look like soya milk. At first I thought it was, but when I smelled and tried it, it was far from the same. This beverage is called ‘Amazake’
Amazake is a Japanese traditional beverage made from fermented cooked rice. It’s sweet, with little or no alcohol and very nutritious. After some researching I found out Amazake is one of the most popular beverages in Japan and is often sold at festivals, especially New Years’ festival. If you happen to see some don’t forget to try it because it’s so yummy.
In addition to Sake, Nabedana also has Sake cups for sale, such as a little ceramic cup that looks like Chinese tea cup. It called ‘ochoko’ in Japanese and is used to serve hot sake. The flat saucer-like cup called ‘sakazuki’ is mostly used in weddings and at other ceremonial times like New Years or at the beginning of a kaiseki meal. The little wooden box called ‘masu’ is also for ceremonial use, and a little ceramic bottle called ‘tokkuri’ is used for serving hot sake.
To get to Nabedana, from JR Narita or Keiseinarita Station walk toward Naritasan Shinshoji temple on Omotesando Street, which is lined with shops and restaurants. The Nabedana shop is very close to the temple.
Usually Nabedana is open from 9:00 – 17:00 pm, but in the months of June to August the shop will close an hour sooner at 16.00 pm. The shop is normally closed on Wednesdays but will open every day during the months of January, May and September.
Nabedana Incorporated’s sake brewery which is located at Kozaki Honshuku 1916, Katori-Gun Kozaki-machi, Chiba, also has a plant tour. Nabedana Incorporated also has a sake festival that is held on the 3rd Sunday of March every year.