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Iinuma Honke and Café

Iinuma Honke | An Immersive Sake Experience near Narita Airport

Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2023/12/22

Iinuma Honke is a famous family-owned sake brewery in the town of Shusui with over four-hundred years of history. Its storied past and countryside location make it a great place to experience traditional sake brewing that makes use of local ingredients and classical techniques, fused with modern day knowhow and technology. It’s located about a 20-minute drive from Narita Airport, and their brewery tours, shop, cafe, and restaurant make it an ideal destination for sake fans to unwind after a long flight or make one last travel memory before leaving Japan.

Brewery History

The family name of Iinuma belonged to a wealthy farmer and local leader of his time. During their four-hundred-year history on this site, the Iinuma family engaged in a wide variety of business: from forestry to tea, to the silkworm industry, and also the financial sector. With their property located in the Sakura Domain, in the Genroku era (1688-1704), the Iinuma family received permission from the Edo Shogunate to brew sake to be dedicated to shrines and temples, and thus they began to produce sake. During the transition period from Edo to Meiji, the government granted brewing licenses to influential people in the local area. This marked the beginning of the family’s commercial brewery. The township of Shisui is blessed with abundant sources of premium water. The Chinese characters of the town’s name are “sake, sake, (water) well”; based on a myth that a “well of sake” was found in this region.

Kazuyoshi Iinuma serves as the current Senior Managing Director. He told us that “We make efforts to try to pass on our history and information regarding our historical figures.” Today, visitors can experience this legacy by participating in a brewery tour, checking out the Sakagura Café and sake shop, and dining at their newly opened restaurant Kinoene Omoya.

Brewery Tours

Beyond the simple acts of buying and drinking sake, Iinuma Honke offers a chance to learn about the alcoholic beverage through first-hand experience. This is the raison d’être of their guest center; they want visitors to gain knowledge of sake culture. Visitors who partake in the brewery tour – limited to ten people at a time – can meet sake craftsmen demonstrating their time-honored process. At the end of the tour, you may sample three different kinds of sake. Kinoene Masamune Daiginjo possesses a delicate and elegant fragrance befitting this brewery’s history, and the taste – as one would expect – is refined and satisfying.

For those interested in taking the tour, reservations can be made on this website (Japanese): https://coubic.com/iinumahonke/885426

Sakagura Café

The Sakagura Café offers various meals, prepared with a focus on using local ingredients whenever possible. The reason the brewery started a café was that one of their staff produced a curry with sake dregs. Since everyone praised it, they wanted to offer it to their guests. The ambience on offer here also adds to the dining experience. The main floor’s decor reflects a classic Japanesque aesthetic conserved from centuries past, and the second floor dazzles like an Edo-period attic; complete with antique-looking fauteuils and vintage wooden-slat flooring. A shop is also located within the building where you can purchase their different sake varieties.

Restaurant | Kinoene Omoya

More Information to Come…

We recently took a visit to the newly opened Kinoene Omoya restaurant here on the brewery grounds, and we’ll be updating this page soon with the latest information. For now, please feel free to check out their website: https://www.iinumahonke.co.jp/lp/kinoene-omoya/

Sightseeing Spots

Iinuma Honke

Iinuma Honke, a sake brewery dating back 300 years located in Chiba's Shisui-machi, is famous for its "Kinoene Masamune" sake, among others. Come try their selections, and also enjoy dishes prepared with local ingredients at the attached cafe.

106 Umabashi, Shisuimachi, Inbagun

(A 10-minute walk from JR Minami Shisui Station)

+81-43-496-1111

Accessibility

  • Handicap parking
  • Written communication for the hearing impaired
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