The world’s first specialty store, Choya was opened in Kyoto, where people can experience the production of plum and plum syrup at a fashionable shop.
I heard that over 100 combinations of original plum sake and a variety of plum syrups can be made, and I have just experienced it!
Opened in April 2018 in the city of Kyoto, Choya is the world’s first specialty store specializing in the experience of plums.
The plums that were handed down to Japan two thousand years ago were nurtured in the long history of the plum culture, which produces plum sake and plum dried by hand in each family.
In order to pass on this culture to the next generation, Choya Ume Sake Co., Ltd., known for its plum wine, produced this restaurant.
When the original plum and plum syrup is made, it is popular among women, and it is now so popular that it is difficult to make a reservation.
Choya is sandwiched between Kawaramachi street and Karasuma streeet in the east and west, and lies along the Hexagon Street, a little north of Shijo Street.
When I went into the shop, it was a very fashionable atmosphere based on a white tone.
A simple, wasteful space is like a lab in the near future.
In the shop, there is a display of a case containing a glass bottle for pickling plums and plum syrup.
The logo motifs mountains, plum flowers, and honeybees.
It is said that honeybees flying to plum forests carry pollen and show the shape of plum fruit.
It’s a stylish design, but it’s very meaningful!
The plum is so deep! Combination-free and fun plum experience
The in-store hands-on experience is reserved and takes about 40 minutes.
You can make a reservation from two weeks before the official website to the previous day.
When the reserved time is reached, you enter the shop and wait at the designated seat.
There was a menu table with plums, sugar, and alcoholic beverages.
Once the experience has begun, a plum professional called the Ume Concierge can unwind the handmade plum wine and plum syrup.
First of all, I would like to take a brief overview of my experiences
There are five types of plum, five types of sugar and syrup, and four types of plum sake to pickle.
It is said that one plum can produce one cup of plum sake and plum syrup.
As for the difference between plum wine and plum syrup, plum syrup is made only from plum, sugar and syrup, and plum sake is added to the syrup.
Before choosing plums, sugar and syrup, there is an explanation and tasting time to confirm each taste.
Taste a plum drink made from five different types of plum and select the type of plum first.
We are able to taste varieties that are not readily available in the market, especially, such as Nankome which is made in Wakayama, and Purple Queen.
Until now, I have never really noticed the differences in plum varieties, but there was a fresh impression that “what is so different by varieties!”.
Some of them smelled cherry leaves, and some were flavored like green apples, peaches, and cherry blossoms, giving us a sense of the depth of the plum fruit.
Incidentally, the time for harvesting plums is limited to around early summer.
So, the plums for the experience is said to be frozen at -40 degrees Celsius after harvested.
Next is a choice of sugar and syrup
This time, we taste plum drinks made from five different types of sugar and syrup.
In addition to basic ice sugar, you can also choose some kind of pepper sugar that is unique to Kyoto.
Each of them had its own distinctive character, and each of them had a delicious taste that was hard for AAA and BBB to taste.
When tasting is finished, we will watch a display of the process by which plum syrup is made.
This is colorful and beautiful!
On the day of the interview, other participants also took pictures.
The plum sake basically matures for one to one and a half years, but at this experience facility, it is said to be a special recipe that can be made in one week for plum syrup and one month for plum sake, in accordance with the needs of young people.
It’s a great pleasure to taste what you’ve made early!
After the tasting time is over,the original plum syrup will be made.
I love alcohol, so this time I chose to make plum sake without hesitation!
For example, alcohol can be selected from four types: brandy, vodka, gin, and white ram.
In other words, a total of 100 types of alcoholic beverages (4sake x 5plums x 5sugur) will be used!
Well, Hesitate to choose…
The price varies depending on the size, type of plum, sugar and syrup, and whether or not alcoholic beverages are present.
In the case of plums, sugar syrups, and bottles, the amount of the “Choya plum kit” varies according to the size of the bottle containing one grain (S-size tax excluded: ¥1,000), three grains (M-size tax excluded: ¥2,000), and five grains (L-size tax excluded: ¥3,000).
Standard plums, sugar syrups are included in the kit, but if you choose a premium, you will be charged an additional fee.
Incidentally, the top sugar I chose as sugar is a premium, so there is an extra charge.
All alcoholic beverages are charged separately.
Making plum sake is super easy! just wait after putting the bottle in.
Then we’ll finally start making plum sake!
All of the equipment was original, and it’s a wonderful fashion, isn’t it?
First, clean your hands with a hand wipe.
When your hands are beautiful, remove frozen plums from the bag.
Then, Remove the stalks attached to the plum fruit with a special earpick-like instrument.
Please be assured that the stake is not so hard and can be removed quickly.
It’s the same equipment that the craftsmen use in the Choya factory.
Choya is a big manufacturer, so I thought it was done with a machine, but I was surprised to hear that it was carefully done by hand.
Next, add sugar
Sugar is a handmade product that requires a week to two weeks to produce.
The pepper sugar, which was poured into the mushroom, was colorful and fun, and even the man’s mind got a lot of tension, isn’t it?
Put the ingredients in a well-balanced bottle so that the layer can be made from pepper sugar → plum → pepper sugar → plum.
Finally, pour the white ram slowly and put the lid on
Finish the work!
Do you think it’s easy to make it?
After that, we are waiting for the time to blend plums with sugar and alcohol to produce delicious plum wine.
I’m looking forward!
After the experience
After the experience, take the bottle home and shake it once a day.
Good news for you who thought, “This is easy to do at home!” Choya will sell plums, sugar, sake, etc. individually for the second and subsequent visits.
As a matter of fact, if you try to make plum sake yourself, there are not many stores selling plums in small quantities, so you may be able to make a large quantity of plum sake, and you may be in trouble.
After the experience, taste the plum drink that your body wakes up
In addition to experiences, the store also sells takeout plum drinks.
Unlike the experience, you can buy it at a store without a reservation.
There’s a bench in front of you, so you can take a break while drinking a delicious plum drink.
Even if we look around the world, actually a plum culture is unique to Japan.
Do you have a chance to experience plum sake and plum syrup making in Kyoto, which has prospered since ancient times as the center of Japanese culture?
Shoya, a specialty Japanese plum shop
108 Higashi-Irinoboroumi-cho, Rokko Tsukai-cho, Nakakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
CASA ALA MODE ROKKAKU 1F
11:00 to 19:00 [Business Hours]
[Regular holiday] Year-end and New Year’s holidays, Bon. Other Unscheduled Holidays
[Fees] Handmade experience in the shop: 1,000 yen (S-size) excluding tax
Reservations * can be made from two weeks before the official website to the day before.
* The information in this article is at the time of the interview and does not guarantee the accuracy of the information.