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Niigata is known as a land of rice and is famous across Japan as an origin of sake. Inside the Joetsu Shinkansen's Echigo Yuzawa station is the Ponshukan sake museum. The museum is home to a host of exhibits about sake, plus an area where you can sample and purchase a range of sake. By visiting Ponshukan, you'll find out what makes Niigata's sake so desirable.

You can taste famous sake from 93 sake breweries

The most popular spot in Ponshukan is the sake sampling corner, Koshinomuro, where you can sample sake from 93 sake breweries in the Echigo region. Sake sampling machines adorn the entire wall, offering limitless choices. For just 500 yen, you can try up to five varieties.
To find the sake sampling section, look for the drunk dummies in front of the entrance and have a laugh!

Taste the sake of your choice

Just buy five tokens at the reception desk, put your sake cup in the machine, and insert a coin. When you press the button the machine will dispense cold sake into the cup. Each machine carries a card explaining each sake's character, explaining whether it's sweet, dry, refreshing, rich, and so on. It's a useful guide for choosing your favorite sake. (Some sake requires two tokens.)
The card also carries brief English comments.

Sake is also great served hot

There are many ways to enjoy sake, hot or cold. The machine dispenses chilled sake, but you can also warm it up. Simply place your sake cup gently in the hot water and it will be just right in two to three minutes. Experience the many ways of enjoying sake.

Many ways of enjoying sake

Sake can also be enjoyed with salt. In the sake sampling section there are many types of salt from different regions in Japan, from very savory to faintly sweet. It's fun to think about which salt to pair with your sake.

Sake can also be purchased in another section

Ponshukan also has another section called Eki no Sakagura, where visitors can purchase sake. You will see new or seasonal sake every time you visit, including those especially selected from countless breweries. The knowledgeable staff will tell you about their favorites.
Aside from Ponshukan, there are many souvenir shops in Echigo Yuzawa station. Every alley is lined with shops, as if it were a main street.
photo & text : Chiho Kuriyama

Facility Information

Ponshukan

Address
2427-1 Ozawa Yuzawa Mondo, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6100
Notes
Access: Inside Echigo Yuzawa station, Joetsu Shinkansen. About 80 minutes from Tokyo station to Echigo Yuzawa station by Joetsu Shinkansen.

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