Travel and Adventure


A town famous for its sake breweries dating back over a hundred years.


Saijō is a town located in the mountains east of Hiroshima city. Here, the hot days and cool nights produce good sake brewing rice. The water is soft and was considered unsuitable for brewing, until a local entrepreneur, Miura Senzaburō, developed a method that not only worked, but produced fine, rich sake. Today, the streets are lined with sake breweries dating back over 100 years, marked as such by their tall brick chimneys, and elaborate tile and plaster walls. The chimneys were once important when the boilers used for steaming the rice were fired with wood. The tiles embedded in thick plaster were both an effective means of fireproofing, and an indication of prosperity due to their high cost. 

In this area are ten well-known breweries:

  • Chiyonoharu
  • Fukubijin
  • Hakubotan
  • Kamoki
  • Kamoizumi
  • Kamotsuru
  • Kirei
  • Saijōtsuru
  • Sakurafubuki
  • Sanyōtsuru

At many of the breweries, you can drop in for a tasting and browse their varied products. It’s very enjoyable to wander around the area taking in the elaborate architecture, interspersed with brewery visits. There are plenty of places to eat in the district too, so it’s worth planning to have lunch here. A nearby shrine has bronze effigies of some of the brewing heroes of Saijō.

Every October the Saijō Sake Festival is held before the brewing season starts, drawing crowds of one or two hundred thousand sake lovers (and let’s be frank, many simple drunks).

Interestingly, almost directly across the Seto Inland Sea from Saijō is another town called Saijō in Ehime. This is another major sake producing area, which enjoys a very similar brewing environment.


Name in Japanese: 西条

Pronunciation: sai-jō

Address: Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-0001

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