Washi Paper & Sake Brewing Tour

Washi Paper & Sake Brewing Tour

Discover the hidden charm of Ogawa in northwestern Saitama Prefecture, just a 70-minute train ride from Ikebukuro Station or 40 minutes from Kawagoe. Surrounded by nature-rich mountain villages, Ogawa is known for its pristine underground water, which lends itself to making Hosokawa Paper, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage whose reputation is so great that it is used to restore paintings in the Louvre. This blessed water has also led to a flourishing sake brewing industry, making Ogawa a must-visit for fans of Japanese sake. This itinerary will allow you to experience the art of papermaking at the Ogawamachi Washi Experience Learning Center, and then enjoy a tour and sake tasting at Matsuoka Brewery, one of Ogawa’s top sake breweries.


Ikebukuro Station (9:00 AM)

Approximately 75 minutes : Tobu Tojo Line Express

In front of Ogawamachi Station

10:20 AM - 10:30 AM

In front of Ogawamachi Station

Explore the timeless charm of Ogawa, a town steeped in history. Wander through its well-preserved streets, adorned with antique townhouses, retro Western-style buildings, and old warehouses. Take a leisurely stroll and soak in an authentic Japanese atmosphere that has captivated visitors for centuries.

10-minute walk

Ogawamachi Washi Experience Learning Center

10:30 AM - 11:40 AM

Experience 1,300 Years of Washi Paper History

Ogawamachi Washi Experience Learning Center

To make traditional Japanese washi paper, you need harsh cold and clear water. Ogawamachi, in northwest Saitama Prefecture, is a region that has both of these conditions. The Hosokawa paper made here is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, and is highly regarded worldwide, having even been used to restore the Louvre and the British Museum. The Ogawamachi Washi Experience Learning Center is a historical building constructed in 1936 for the study of washi paper, and is a place where craftspeople can learn and practice papermaking. Visitors can also observe and experience the washi-making process, ranging from simple introductory courses to a comprehensive four-day experience. *Reservations are required for experiences. Brochures in English and Chinese are available, but staff explanations are in Japanese only, so if you need an interpreter, please contact the Saitama Tourism Support Desk.

Approximately 5-minutes by taxi

Sake Brewery Tour at Matsuoka Brewery

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

Unlocking the Secrets of Sake!

Sake Brewery Tour at Matsuoka Brewery

The taste of sake depends on many factors, and Matsuoka Brewery's Mikadomatsu sake largely depends on two vital ingredients: the mineral-rich natural water of Ogawa-machi, which is perfectly suited for sake brewing; and rice carefully curated from all over Japan. This is combined with the superior talent handed down over generations of brewers. On this brewery tour, you can observe the meticulous sake-making process and taste the aromatic and delicious brews of Matsuoka Brewery. *Children can instead enjoy the high-quality mineral-rich water used to brew sake, drawn from 130 meters underground.

(On the Matsuoka Brewery premises)

Mikadomatsu Shofuan

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

A Restaurant Run by a Brewery

Mikadomatsu Shofuan

Shofuan is a restaurant with a menu centered around the land and culture of Ogawa, using ingredients like high-quality underground natural brewing water, along with sake, koji, and sake lees. The restaurant building was constructed by renovating and extending a storehouse that was relocated in the Meiji era from Niigata, another famous sake brewing area of Japan. The terrace facing the garden allows diners to admire seasonal Japanese nature while they dine.

Approximately 5 minutes by taxi

Ogawamachi Tourist Information Center Musubime

1:50 PM - 2:20 PM

A Window Into the Charms of Ogawa

Ogawamachi Tourist Information Center Musubime

The Ogawamachi Tourist Information Center is named “Musubime,” which comes from a combination of the Japanese words for "connect" and "bud." It acts as a bridge between outsiders like tourists and the heart of Ogawa, harmonizing the town's past, present, and future, and embodies the hope that these connections flourish into something significant. Here, visitors can access local information, stay updated on events, and purchase souvenirs and locally grown organic vegetables. It also supports those who have moved into town, hosts workshops, and serves as a promotional hub for the town. The building itself, constructed roughly 90 years ago, exudes a nostalgic charm infused with the town's rich history.

Approximately 75 mins. (Take the regular or express train on the Tobu Tojo Line from Ogawamachi Station)


Ikebukuro Station (3:50 PM)

Contact Support Desk

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