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The Fushimi Sake District () is a charming, traditional sake brewing district along the willow-lined Horikawa River in southern Kyoto. Revered for the clean, soft water that flows in abundance from the river's underground springs, the district is home to nearly 40 sake breweries. Alongside Kobe's Nada District, Fushimi has been a leading sake brewing district in the country.

Among the local breweries is industry giant Gekkeikan which was founded here in 1637. Many of the district's buildings preserved their traditional appearance with wood and white-plaster walls. A few of the breweries in the area are open to the public and offer shops where you can taste and purchase their products (including some exclusive items not available elsewhere), restaurants and museums.

Fushimi grew during the Azuchi-Momoyama Period at the base of Fushimi Castle (on Momoyama Hill after which the period of history was named), the retirement palace of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the contemporary ruler of Japan. It flourished as a sake production site thanks to its strategic shipping location at the junction of two rivers, the availability of good water and the high demand for alcoholic beverages by the inhabitants of the castle and its town.

A few hundred years later, in the waning years of the Edo Period, Fushimi became a venue for the preparations and a battle leading to the Meiji Restoration. Sakamoto Ryoma, one of the most famous proponents of the restoration, frequented the local Teradaya Inn where he barely survived an attack on his life on one occasion. The inn was rebuilt since. It stands near the sake breweries and is open to tourists for daytime viewing and overnight stays.

At Fushimi's prime as a shipping port, flat-bottom, wooden boats plied the rivers, moving goods to and from the castle town. Wooden boats can still be seen on the river, although these days they carry sightseeing cruise passengers rather than mercantile goods. Cruises depart from docks near the Gekkeikan Brewery and the Teradaya Inn. The cruises both go as far as the junction with the Uji River and take about 55 and 40 minutes respectively.

Sake related sites

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

Hours: 9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:15)
Closed: New Year and Obon holidays
Admission: 400 yen
Gekkeikan is a leading sake brewer and one of the oldest family-owned companies in the world, established in Fushimi in the early 1600s. The well-done museum displays the tools and procedures of sake production with good English explanations. A tasting is included at the end of the self-guided tour.

Kizakura Kappa Country

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
Closed: New Year holidays
Admission: Free
Kizakura is another large brewery in the area that is worth a visit. Their facility is called Kizakura Kappa Country and includes a small museum about sake production, a restaurant-bar, a shop and a small art gallery and museum about the kappa, a mystical water creature that resembles a humanoid turtle.

Fushimi Yumehyakushu

Hours: 10:30 to 17:00 (until 18:00 weekends and holidays)
Closed: Mondays (except on national holidays)
The Fushimi Yumehyakushu serves as the local visitor center with information about the district's sake breweries, shops and restaurants. It also houses a well-stocked shop selling local products and a quaint cafe where visitors can select from several sake sample sets, sweets, coffee and tea.

Other attractions

Teradaya Inn

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00 (entry until 15:40)
Closed: some Mondays, January 1-3
Admission: 400 yen (6500-7000 for an overnight stay)
The Teradaya Inn is the ryokan where Sakamoto Ryoma was attacked by Shogunate forces in the run-up to the Meiji Restoration. The current building is a reconstruction as the original was destroyed in a local battle. Visitors can explore the inn during the day or spend the night is one of the rooms like Ryoma did.

Otesujidori Shopping Arcade

Hours: Varies by shop (typically 10:00 to 19:00)
Closed: Varies by shop (typically open every day)
The Otesujidori Shopping Arcade is a four block long, covered shopping street to the west of Momoyama Goryomae Station. The shopping arcade has a typical assortment of local shops and restaurants, including a few places that sell local sake.

Getting there and around

The sites around the Fushimi Sake District are within a 5-10 minute walk from Chushojima Station (15 minutes, 270 yen from Kyoto's Sanjo Station) or Fushimi-Momoyama Station (15-20 minutes, 270 yen from Sanjo Station) on the Keihan Main Line or from Momoyama Goryomae Station (10-15 minutes, 260 yen from Kyoto Station) on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. Alternatively, they are a 15-20 minute walk from Momoyama Station (12 minutes, 200 yen from Kyoto Station) on the JR Nara Line.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hotels around Kyoto

    • Sancoinn Kyoto Hachijoguchi
      A hotel with a Japanese modern aesthetic just across Kyoto Station's Hachijo Exit, within walking distance of Kyoto Tower and not far from popular areas like Arashiyama and Kiyomizudera Temple.
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    • Guesthouse Engawa
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse Engawa offers accommodation in Kyoto. Guests can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of Kyoto in their rooms. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, and an electric kettle will be provided upon request. Bathroom facilities are shared with other guests. Free toiletries and hairdryers are also available. There is luggage storage space at the property. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 600 metres from Guesthouse Engawa, while Heian Shrine is 2.4 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Kyoto, this traditional Japanese guest house features free Wi-Fi and a free public computer. Shichijo Onmae bus stop is 3 minutesf walk away. A seating area and shared bathroom are provided with each room at Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS. Free toiletries are provided and blankets are available upon request. Select rooms have a garden view. A shared living area and bicycles are available for guestsf use during their stay at this Kyoto Guesthouse Compass. Access to the shared kitchen is available upon request. The guest house is 4.5 km from Imperial Palace and 2.2 km from Kyoto Station. Nijo Castle and Toji Castle are within a 30 minutesf bus ride away.
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    • Ryokan Mugen (Adult Only)
      Mid-range
      Mugen is a property that was built 160 years ago, situated in Kyoto, 1 km from Nijo Castle. Every room at Mugen features an en suite shower room, toilet, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property. You will find a shared lounge on site and a bar at the annex building. The ryokan also offers bike hire. Imperial Palace is 1.1 km from Mugen, while Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is 1.6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Gallery Nozawa Inn
      Budget-friendly
      Gallery Nozawa Inn offers accommodation in Kyoto, 25 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Every room includes a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. Each room is equipped with a private toilet, and bathrooms are shared. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. Guests can sample Japanese-style breakfast featuring seasonal ingredients. There is a public bathhouse located a 10-minute walk away. Nijo Castle is 2.4 km from Gallery Nozawa Inn, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.4 km from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 36 km away.
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    • Guesthouse tu casa
      Budget-friendly
      Attractively located in the Higashiyama Ward district of Kyoto, Guesthouse tu casa is situated 1.2 km from Sanjusangen-do Temple, 1.4 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple and 1.9 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The guest house has family rooms. At the guest house rooms are equipped with a shared bathroom. Samurai Kembu Kyoto is 2.2 km from Guesthouse tu casa, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • Mitsuki Kyoto
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Kyoto, within 600 metres of Kyoto International Manga Museum and 1.7 km of Nijo Castle, Mitsuki Kyoto offers accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property. The property is located 2.1 km from Kyoto Imperial Palace, 2.3 km from Heian Shrine and 2.3 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The accommodation provides a concierge service, ticket service and luggage storage for guests. At the ryokan every room has a private bathroom. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at Mitsuki Kyoto. Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kyoto, like cycling. Shoren-in Temple is 3.2 km from Mitsuki Kyoto, while TKP Garden City Kyoto is 3.4 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 39 km from the ryokan.
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    • Guest House Oumi
      Budget-friendly
      Well set in Kyoto, Guest House Oumi provides air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi and a garden. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and room service for guests. At the guest house every room comes with a shared bathroom with free toiletries. A continental breakfast is available daily at guesthouseoumi. Nijo Castle is less than 1 km from the accommodation, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 37 km from Guest House Oumi.
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    • Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie
      Luxury
      Ideally situated in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie is situated 1.3 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, 1.9 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto and 2.3 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and luggage storage for guests. All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. Featuring a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries, rooms at the hotel also feature free WiFi. Shoren-in Temple is 2.7 km from Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandere, while Nijo Castle is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • IMAYA Hostel Kyoto
      Budget-friendly
      Attractively situated in the centre of Kyoto, IMAYA Hostel Kyoto features air-conditioned rooms, a bar, free WiFi and a shared lounge. The property is around less than 1 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, a 16-minute walk from Nijo Castle and 2.4 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, a concierge service and ticket service for guests. The rooms at the hostel are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a kitchenette. The shared bathroom is fitted with a bidet, a hairdryer and free toiletries. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Kyoto Imperial Palace is 2.9 km from IMAYA Hostel Kyoto, while Heian Shrine is 3.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • Ryokan Tori
      Mid-range
      Ryokan Tori is located in Kyoto, 2 km from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The property is around 2.3 km from Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. The property is 3.2 km from Kinkaku-ji Temple and 3.7 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. All guest rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a kettle. Each room has a shared bathroom, while selected rooms are fitted with a balcony and others also offer a garden view. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at tori can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Heian Shrine is 5 km from the accommodation. Itami Airport is 50 km from the property.
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