Tokyo is bigger than you think. Most tourists do not have time to visit western Tokyo, but that’s where a great sake brewery, Ozawa Shuzou (小澤酒造), awaits you.
Hop on JR Chuo Line to Tachikawa and then onto Oume Line and get off at Sawai Station. Walk for 5 minutes or so, you’ll be in treat for a free tour on the century-old sake brewery (one hour) and free samples of freshly brewed sake. Kikizake – Sake tasting at a century-old brewery in western Tokyo
They don’t provide an English language tour, but you’ll get a handout that summarises the tour in English. And just walking in and out and around the brewery gives you that ‘wow’ experience anyway!
If the free samples on the free tour are not enough, then try sake tasting of about 10 different kinds of sake brewed right there. They are open between 10：30～16：30 and the price ranges from 200 yen to 500 yen per glass (90ml). You get a 100 yen discount from a second.
Oh, make sure you take public transport to get there – they won’t give you any free sake or let you do the kikizake if you are driving or riding.
Get to know Ozawa Shuzou
Ozawa Shuzou was founded in 1702. They were Oume’s best kept secret until 1966 when they started to welcome visitors and show them around the brewery.
In 1979 Ozawa Shuzou opened a restaurant, Mamagoto-ya (ままごと屋), across from the brewery, and has been running a museum of hair accessories nearby since 1998.
Ozawa Shuzou also runs a well-maintained garden restaurant, “Sawanoi Garden”, right by the beautiful Tama River (多摩川) where they offer a range of sake and reasonably priced traditional Japanese food to visitors.
Plan your DIY visit to Ozawa Shuzou
We know that traveling to Oume in western Tokyo can be rather challenging for visitors. So here are some ideas on how to plan your day-out to Oume.
Plan A: Kikizake (sake tasting) tour
1. Book the free tour for a 11am session online or call 0428 78 8210.
2. With knowledge acquired through the tour, try the kikizake session and get an Ozawa Shuzou original sake cup.
3. Try Mamagoto-ya (high end) or Sawanoi Garden (reasonable) for lunch.
4. Visit the Kanzashi Museum across the bridge (five minute walk from the brewery).
Plan B: Canoe/Rafting tour and Sake as a reward
1. Book the free tour for a 2 or 3pm session online or call 0428 78 8210.
2. Book a canoe or a rafting session online and enjoy outdoor activities first.
3. Go on the tour, get free samples, and if you wish to try more variety, try Kikizake.
4. Try Mamagoto-ya (high end) or Sawanoi Garden (reasonable) for lunch.
5. Visit the Kanzashi Museum across the bridge (five minute walk from the brewery).
How to get there
Go to Tachikawa on JR Chuo Line and from there get on JR Oume Line to Sawai Station (from Shinjuku it takes about one hour and 15 minutes). After you get off at Sawai Station, walk down the hill towards Tama River and you’ll find Ozawa Shuzo. It’s really easy and their restaurants and museum are just a stone away from the brewery. You can spend all day there and hop back on JR Oume and Chuo Lines to go back to central Tokyo. Remember – if you drive, you can’t drink!