‘Kanpai‘ or ‘cheers’ greeted our arrival in Handa city. Holding onto ice cold Kabuto beer, it is as good as slurping up the history of this good old beer. The Kabuto beer was the origin of many big names like ‘Sapporo beer’ and ‘Asahi beer’ and is currently very rare to find at restaurants in Japan.
Slurp outdated famous japanese beer
Standing out in red bricks, the Handa Red Brick building saw its glory moments dated back from the Meiji period. In the building, you can see some of the dated advertisements that were used to publicise about the beer, the equipments used to produce the beer, how the beer is distilled and even traces of machine gun fire holes from World War II.
It is quite rare to be able to visit a beer factory – we’ve too many of sake breweries visit and to witness some german-imported installations in this treasured architectural designed building.
You can also find many original advertising posters of the Kabuto Beer which used beautiful lady (rare due to previous discrimination) to position the brand and outdid its competitors. The quality of beer was so well-received that it was accredited a gold prize at Paris World Expo in the 1900s.
The visit also ended with views of holes created by machine guns at the backyard of the building and was so precious that it was declared as the National Tangible Cultural Property.
Ponzu ‘Vinegar’ local famous
Ponzu also known as ‘Vinegar’ is a popular local produce in Handa City. The MIM (Mizkan Museum) brings you through the traditional history of producing vinegar from sake lees and also has many interesting activities for you to participate in. Admission fee is just 300yen and you’ll need to spend at least 2hours walking through the museum.
The MIM isn’t just all about promoting Ponzu production. It also features Japanese cultures, history and MIM clothes that were usually hung across the street. MIM is now one of the leading manufacturers for soy sauce and Ponzu among the other products.
It is clear on how Mizkan museum tries to showcase Japanese’s history. A replica of the 20m long ‘Bezaisen’ is on display, which was commonly used in the Edo period.
The best part of the musuem visit – bring home your very own Ponzu sauce bottled with your photo. For just 200yen, you can take selfie and paste those instant prints on the bottle.
Enjoy free Sake
The Kunizakari Sake no Bunkakan Museum in Handa city is a stopover to taste free sake. Before you enjoy those sake made from ground water, take a look at some of the tools dated back from 300 years in the Edo period.
Here, you can spot some of the original sake manufacturing tools and Kanzake or ‘warm sake’ that is heated in a warmer. Both museums are set along the scenic waterway which was previously used for shipment of goods and recently awarded Japan’s 100 most beautiful places.
Dashi festival, the grandest.
Make your last stop at the Handa City museum. Take a look at the city’s old remains ungraved from the ground and some interesting artifacts that are on display.
Since the city relies heavily on agriculture, there are visible signs of farming equipments and also display some norm living lifestyle of the people.
It is important to note that the Handa city celebrates its grandest Dashi festival once every 5 years. You can take a glimpse at some of the photos highlighting the festival, a life-scale Dashi float and also the preparations ahead right here.
Handa City tourism: city.handa.lg.jp