How to Enjoy Mitoyotsuru TOJI
Mitoyotsuru TOJI is a private guesthouse that offers the image and feeling of a traditional Japanese sake brewery. When you step through the doors you will be transported back in time into a world of sake brewing. Enjoy the world of sake at your own pace and in total privacy.
Mitoyotsuru TOJI’s attractions
The cauldron previously used to steam sake rice and the large brewing barrels have been masterfully converted into baths that you can use to soak and relax in. (As this is a private space, please feel free to bathe in a swimsuit or naked as you choose.)
Spend your time surrounded by the original elements and traditional environments used so many years ago. For example, you can enjoy the room where the TOJI himself once slept, the original fireplace, refurbished doors and fittings expertly crafted by authentic Japanese craftsmen.
This is a completely private guesthouse, capable of hosting up to 11 people. Enough space to welcome large numbers such as family trips, group vacations or company retreats.
Here at Mitoyotsuru TOJI, you can see the classic room where the TOJI himself and his team of brewers had rested while brewing the sake. The fittings in this room, such as the door and window rims, the fireplace, and the doors themselves, were actually used from the time the brewery was operating. As you step into the traditional room, there is no doubt you will feel as though you have stepped back in time. Please enjoy every nook and cranny of this beautiful time capsule.
Click on each room to see their details
Brew a New You!
Our concept is “Brew a new you!” Here we want to guide you through Mitoyotsuru TOJI, the world’s first guesthouse where you can stay in a real sake brewery. We want to introduce to you the sake brewing experience through a wonderfully relaxing overnight stay.
When you park your car in the parking lot and proceed through the original sake brewery with its standing barrels, the entrance to the guest house will appear. A historical brewery invites you to the world of Mitoyotsuru TOJI.
Living room (4 person room)
Right as you enter, you will find the living room where up to 4 people can stay. This living room is where the TOJI, brewers and their friends would rest during the sake brewing process.
When leaving the living room, the veranda lines the spacious open area. You can lay down and cool off after a relaxing bath, or feel free to open your computer and get some work done. Please enjoy this lovely and relaxing space.
Koji room (Single room)
The Koji room once was the bedroom for the TOJI. This can be used as a single bedroom or simply to enjoy some peace and quiet alone in a little tearoom-like setting.
The bathroom accessible from the veranda, with a variety of amenity
A private indoor bath is also available in addition to the large brewing bath.
Rice milling room (changing/dressing room)
There are rice milling rooms (changing rooms) for both men and women here at Mitoyotsuru TOJI. The sake brewing experience begins when you remove your husk (undress) here.
Large brewing bath
The large brewing bath is where you can enjoy three types of baths: The brewing-cauldron-bath used for steaming sake rice, a “Neyu” or onsen-style lying bath, and an open air barrel bath. These are Mitoyotsuru TOJI’s main attractions. (You can also wear swimwear in these baths if you like.)
Open air barrel bath
There is also an open-air barrel bath outside the large brewing bath area. You can enjoy a soothing bath outdoors and view the original chimney and the sky above you.
At the rear of the courtyard there is a kitchen where you can do any basic cooking you like. In addition to the basin and bench, there are also kitchen knives and a stove.
In the courtyard there is a wonderful skylight ceiling so you can enjoy your meals or BBQ even in rainy weather. It is also ideal to hold meetings.
Sake barrel room (3 person room)
This sake barrel room has rounded corners so you can really feel like you are staying inside a barrel to mature as sake. It holds up to 3 people and can also be connected to the neighbouring “Masu” room.
“Masu” room (3 person room)
Just like the wooden sake cup that this room is named after, this room has a square shape. It can accommodate up to 3 people and be joined with its neighbouring barrel room.
Between the veranda and the courtyard there is a small bathroom (urinal and flush toilet).
Brewing experience “Trivia”
The special brewer`s rice comes wrapped in yellow husk upon being harvested from the rice paddy. This sake rice with the husk is called “momi”. In comparison to regular rice, the specialised rice for sake is characterised by a larger kernel, full of starch perfect for sake brewing. This feature allows much easier absorption of water and better growth for the “Koji” brewing yeast. The yellow husk of the “momi” is removed in a process called hulling or “momi-suri”, to be presented as brown rice or “genmai”. Surrounding the brown rice is bran which needs to be removed by polishing the surface in a process called “seimai”. The resulting clean white grain is simply called “white-rice”, or “hakumai”. The amount of polishing or milling is very important, as it greatly influences the taste and strength of the sake. For the grade called “Daiginjo-shu”, the rice is polished to have only 50% of the grain remaining while “Ginjo-shu” is polished to have 60% or more remaining.
Here at Mitoyotsuru-TOJI, experience firsthand the journey of brewing sake, starting from being the freshly harvested rice. Leave your home rice paddy, step out of the husk and whatever you are wearing to ready yourself for a polish (swimwear = gin-jo, au naturel = daiginjo).
There is still some powder and fine dirt remaining on the surface after the polishing process. The next step is to wash the rice thoroughly called “senmai”, or washing rice. This is vital to making a truly delicious sake. After washing the rice, it is important to let it soak in water. The optimal soaking time depends on each variety of rice used and degree of polishing to ensure that the water is absorbed to the core. Once fully soaked, the rice can continue on to the next stage of steaming.
Now that you are the rice, make sure to wash yourself thoroughly in preparation for a successful and relaxing brew-bath to come next.
Once the sake rice has absorbed enough water, it is then heated and steamed in a process called “mushimai”. This step not only sterilises the rice, but also changes the starch into paste serving as a perfect environment for the Koji brewing-yeast to grow. All the next steps of growing the Koji, making seed mash or “mother of sake” and creating the main mash depends on this steaming.
Enjoy the steaming process by taking a bath in our authentic sake brewing tub, or lying down in the “neyu” onsen-style bath. Make sure to not oversteam yourself (there’s still more to come!). When you are heated to perfection, it’s time to start the fermentation process called “hakkou”
Finally, the fermentation or “hakkou” can begin! The next three steps are said to be the most important in sake brewing: Ichi-koji; Ni-moto; and San-zukuri.
Ichi-koji = Step1 Koji Fermentation
Ichi-koji is where the fermentation begins, known in Japanese as “seigiku”. At this stage the earlier prepared steamed rice is sprinkled with dry Koji brewing-yeast. The temperature and humidity are carefully controlled to allow the yeast to “activate” and grow at an optimal rate. The slightest changes in these conditions can have a significant effect on the sake produced.
Ni-moto = Step 2 Mother of sake
Ni-moto is the creation of the “mother of sake”, the main ingredient of sake brewing. In a small tank (usually about 700 liters), the pure Mitoyo water, rice malt, lactic acid (for healthy yeast growth), and the steamed rice with activated yeast are all mixed together to create the “mother of sake”.
San-zukuri = Step 3 Unrefined sake
San-zukuri is the third and final stage which produces unrefined sake. The products of the previous steps (alcohol, Koji, steamed rice, and water) are then divided evenly into 3 separate tanks. At this point extra water is usually added as the mash in each tank is left to ferment further.
Consider this bath powder containing actual sake lees (Daiginjo sake kasu) to serve as your Koji, or fermentation ingredient. Go ahead, put some in the warm bath and dissolve it using the sake paddle or “kaibou”. It’s time to jump in and brew yourself!
The water used in the bath here at Mitoyotsuru comes from the same water source originally used by the brewery (groundwater from the Shiun’ide Mountains famous for the scenic cherry blossoms). While groundwater near the beach usually has a high salt content, here at Mitoyotsuru there is an abundance of pure and clean water. It is said that because of this pristine water, Mitoyotsuru began as the best place to make sake years ago.
Having gone through the various steps (a long day of work!), we have everything needed to create a delicious sake. It usually takes a few extra days of fermentation before we are ready to continue. Using a special sake press, the mash is then squeezed to separate the liquid sake and the solid in a process called “jousou” . The sake is then filtered to remove any remaining fine rice particles and yeast and pasturized. Now the sake is clear, clean, and ready for storage and ageing. (Usually, sake is stored for roughly two months before it can be considered ready for ageing.) Ageing can take anywhere between 6 months to a year. As the sake ages, the flavour will change and develop into something completely different from that of the freshly pressed sake.
So how was your experience of sake-brewing? Take a moment to reflect on your day, and sleep on it to develop and mature like any good sake should. No doubt when you wake in the morning, you will have certainly brewed a new you.