How do you get warm and stay warm when the temperature in Hiroshima drops during the winter?
Ah, that’s easy, the locals tell me, hot sake!
With the weather getting cooler, now is the perfect time to take advantage of some of the best sake around and also the time to work out what type of sake you prefer. There are lots of factors to consider, including whether you prefer it dry or sweet and indeed, whether you want it hot, cold or served at room temperature.
Sure, you can go to a bar or izakaya and ask the staff to recommend something, but as far as knowledge goes, they may not be able to answer all your questions. Instead, why not head to a place where everything will be revealed by experienced and professional staff?
The place? Yamatoya! Located on one of the main street corners in Nagarekawa it offers both a bottleshop and bar upstairs which has regularly sake tastings.
In January of 2015 they held one such event and as it coincided with my birthday, I decided to check it out. It may have been below zero outside with snow falling from the sky, but inside it was warm and toasty. For 500 yen we were given three cups of sake with very distinct and different flavours. For a little extra, you could also buy some snacks, which paired well with the sake. Owned by the Omaya family who also brew their own sake, Yamatoya is the place to go when you want an expert opinion or when you’re looking to buy that special gift for family and friends.
Although they don’t speak a lot of English, they are very friendly and are always willing to try their best to help you find something you like. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed with their service. Although the shop is known for its sake, other alcohol is of course available. If you’re into other types of Japanese alcohol such as shochu, this is definitely the place to go.
The bottle shop is open every day except Sunday between 9am and 10pm. They also have a webpage where you can order without even leaving the comfort of your own home. It is, however, all in Japanese, so if your kanji isn’t too good, ask a friend to help you decipher it.
Their website is regularly updated and is also where their sake tasting events are listed. I highly recommend the events, especially for those who are new to drinking sake as it gives you the opportunity to work out exactly what you do and don’t like and is much cheaper than spending money on a bottle that you may not finish if it’s not to your taste.
All in all, Yamatoya is the place to go for all your sake and other alcohol needs. Service is friendly but professional and you will leave the place with more knowledge about just what it is you’re drinking than if you simply went to a bar or izakaya.