A Guided Tour to Suntory Musashino Brewery
On July 25th, we met for another guided tour at Kita-Fuchu Station. The station opened in 1956, initially on a branch line from the Chuo Main Line known as the Shimogawara Line. After a brief explanation of the station’s history, we headed south.
Suddenly, we saw an old railroad which appeared out of nowhere just to disappear a few meters further. The mysterious and old rail tracks are the remains of the former Japan National Railways Shimogawara Line. The predecessor of the Shimogawara Line was a gravel transportation railway company from Tokyo which transported gravel in the direction to the Tama River. With the inauguration of the Musashino Line, Shimogawara Line was closed in 1976.
Nowadays, built on the tracks of an abandoned railway line, there is an approximately 2.5 km long bicycle path/walkway called the Shimogawara Path. The path leads through a park-like landscape of trees and flowers. It connects central Fuchu to the Kyodo-no-Mori Museum close to the banks of the Tama River.
Next we came to Bubaigawara Station. From there we took a 5-minute free shuttle bus to arrive at the Suntory Musashino Brewery, one of the premier beer brands in Japan. Suntory offers free tours of their brewery on a daily basis. (Note that reservations are required and can be made by phone or website bookings. Tours take place every 30 minutes between 10am and 4pm but check the website before heading out as the factory occasionally closes for various events).
When we arrived at the factory, we were promptly greeted in the shuttle bus by their friendly staff. He invited us to the lobby where our eyes were immediately drawn to the center wall that features the hallmark blue and gold Suntory logo.
We had some time before our tour started so some of us went to check out the gift shop.
(Note that you don’t have to hurry, you can visit the gift shop again at the end of the tour).
When it was time to begin, we took the elevator upstairs where we were shown a short video about the quality of the spring water they use in their brewing process.
The first stop after the introduction was the hops display where we learned about the type of hops that Suntory uses. We even got to taste and smell some samples!
Next we were led through a long hallway to the area with large vats of beer.
Then we moved on to the filling and packaging area. We watched a short video about their process and we could look through the large windows that allowed us to see the factory floor.
And now for best part of the tour: the beer tasting!!! Children and drivers were served some soft drinks and the rest of us got to savor 3 freshly brewed Suntory beers straight from the factory, as well as some Suntory-branded salty snacks.
After the tasting we went back down to the lobby where we took our time checking out the gift shop and taking a souvenir photo at the hallmark blue and gold Suntory logo wall.
It was an amazing guided tour again!