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Flower and Sake Festival in Hizen Hamashuku


At the end of March, visitors to Hama Town in Kashima City may have encountered one of the following things within five minutes of leaving the station:

  • folk shamisen performances by Kashima locals
  • various sake breweries offering samples of their best products and new creations
  • a middle-aged gentleman covered in white makeup imitating a mythological Japanese “kappa” water spirit and intermittently blowing fire from his mouth through the use of sake and a torch

If any of these things piqued your interest or at least caused you to raise an eyebrow, consider visiting the “Flower and Sake Festival”(花と酒まつり)in the historic Hizen Hamashuku district of Kashima City in the spring. This year’s festival took place from March 28th to the 29th. The festival’s name is a pun on the Japanese word sake as it is written with the characters for “alcohol” as well as “bloom.”  Sponsored by the Sakagura Tourism Association, this event gives people from around Saga the chance to sample all of Kashima’s most famous sake brands. I participated in a shamisen performance on the second day of the festival, but I spent the first day exploring the festival with a friend.


Of the main six sake breweries featured in the festival, our first stop was the most famous: the Fukuchiyo brewery, known for their popular “Nabeshima” sake.
For a nominal fee, we received a souvenir glass branded with the Nabeshima name and unlimited samples of 14 different kinds of Nabeshima sake.  My companion and I partook heartily. The sweetness and smooth feel of Nabeshima’s higher-quality products made for an easy and pleasurable first drink. Amongst the flowing liquor and clinking glasses, we found a small pottery exhibition in the rear of the brewery featuring works from around the prefecture. The artists were more than happy to present one of their exquisite hand-formed cups to guests with an offering of Nabeshima inside, naturally.


Leaving the Fukuchiyo brewery, we continued down the street to the Mitsutake brewery, known for their flagship sake “Kinpa.” There were a variety of food stands and vendors that offered activities for those who do not plan on taking part in the sake part of the festival. In the shade of the impressive, Edo-period storehouses, one can feel how this location was once a stop for travelers between Nagasaki and other parts of Kyushu. A bit tipsy from our previous location, we mistakenly downed a glass “Makai e no Izanai” (Invitation to the Spirit World) shochu, a significantly stronger distilled spirit. The aroma of roasted sweet potatoes that went into that shochu’s brewing process gave some comfort as we reeled from the sudden change in alcohol content. Some fried snacks, some shopping, one delicious banana smoothie and several more sake samples later, my friend and I decided to make our way home. It’s too bad this event is only once a year. There are so many friends new and old to share a good drink with in the vernal sun.

sake kanpai



(Flower and Sake Festival”(花と酒まつり))
Address: Hizen Hamashuku Sakagura (brewery) street, Kashima city, Saga
Telephone: 0954-69-8004
Date: End of March
Access 1: 10 mins by car from JR Hizen Kashima station
Access 2: 20 km by car from Takeo Kitagata IC, Nagasaki Expressway
Distance to airport: 26km from Saga airport. 27km from Airport Nagasaki Airport.

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