Travel by train from Kyoto to Inari, where you will find some of the best sake in the country. Start with a small walking tour of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to the god of rice. The temple is famous for the thousands of brightly painted red torii (gates) that frame the pathways into the forest. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is also a place where locals come to seek blessings for prosperity. Those who have received good fortune return and place torii, which are inscribed with their thanks. The long tunnel of torii is one of the most iconic landmarks of Kyoto and a popular TV and film location.
Next, make your way by train to a sake brewery to learn the secrets of this popular Japanese drink. In traditional Japanese life, sake has an important place at festivals, ceremonies and rituals. Depending upon the combination of water, malt, yeast and steamed rice, sake has a very distinctive aroma and a fruity sweet taste. Just as it takes a special kind of grape to produce a good wine, making excellent sake requires the use of a special type of rice, usually with high starch content.
Tour the Gekkeikan Okura Memorial Hall and learn the history of sake. Wander the museum and see the tools used in sake production, before sampling three different kinds of sake from sweet to dry. Then walk a short distance to a small liquor store specializing in over 80 kinds of sake. Take a seat at the bar to enjoy a special sake tasting.
Finish your tour with a wander through the local shopping arcade before boarding the train to Kyoto, where you tour concludes.