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In many parts of the world, craft beer is getting more and more popular. In fact, it is quite common nowadays find out that areas produce their own brand of beer locally! The rural region of Kiyosato, Hokuto City, is no exception.

Kiyosato was developed under the patronage of Paul Rusch, an Anglican missionary from Kentucky in the United States. He most notably contributed to the expansion of the region in the 1940s by building farms and other infrastructures. Even today, one can see this American influence from the architecture of the well-preserved buildings to the food served in local restaurants, featuring the high-class meats of Kiyosato.

Restaurant ROCK (Hokuto City)


Today, we visited restaurant ROCK in Moegi-no-Mura. Mr. Joji Funaki founded the restaurant 50 years ago, and decided to add a brewery in 1997. Finding inspiration in Paul Rusch’s pioneer spirit, Funaki wanted to create craft beers in Japan, despite there only being a small market for these hops-flavored beverages. With a true Japanese taste, Yatsugatake Brewery was born.


Yamada Kazumi, the first masterbrewer of the brewery, placed a great importance on crafting a quality beer that would line up with Japanese taste preferences. He even went all the way to Germany to try and find some of the best ingredients. The uniqueness of German beer lies in its simplicity: no added preservatives—only barley, hops, and water. This model served as a reference for Yatsugatake Brewery in its quest for pinpointing the perfect flavor.

The company carefully selected the ingredients and where they came from: the yeast is imported from Germany, the barley from Germany and Canada, and the hops from Germany and the Czech Republic. Water is also an essential element when it comes to creating a good alcoholic beverage, and its quality can have a big impact on the taste of the final product. This is something that companies such as Suntory and Hakushu are well-aware of when making use of the clear waters of Hakushu to produce their whisky and sake respectively.

Here, the pristine and good quality water of Yatsugatake gives a refreshing aftertaste to the Pilsner, Dunkel, and other beers from the Yatsugatake Brewery. 

Speaking of freshness, most craft beer is not filtered, which means that the beer does not go through an extra filtration process before bottle conditioning. This allows the yeast to remain in the beer. Yatsugatake Beer also follows this practice, and that is why it is necessary to keep your beer in a chilled place, and drink it within three months of your purchase. The flavor tastes as though you’re drinking it straight from the cask!

The beer from Yatsugatake Brewery has won several competitions for its flavor, including:

- International Beer Cup 2015: 1st place for the Premium Bock, Bock category
- World Beer Awards 2016: 1st place for the Kiyosato Lager, Rice-based beer category
- International Beer Cup 2017: Gold medal for the Weiss (white beer), Weizen category

▲Copper brew kettles in the restaurant


To accompany your beer tasting, there is no better option than the beef curry with a stellar reputation across the nation. The serving is generous, and only local ingredients are used. A piece of dried fruit butter and jam come as toppings. It is a rather uncommon sweet and savory mix, but I thought it perfectly enhanced the curry’s deep flavor.

ROCK restaurant and Yatsugatake Brewery are definitely must-go spots for craft beer fans!


You can easily spend the whole day at Moegi-no-Mura: shopping, lunch and beer at restaurant ROCK, walks through the forest, the Music Box Museum, whisky tasting at Bar Perch, etc. You can spend the night at the nearby hotel “Hut Walden.” It’s literally just a stone toss away from restaurant ROCK!

More Info

Yatsugatake Beer website:

Address: Yamanashi-ken, Hokuto-shi, Takane-cho, Kiyosato 3545 Moegi no Mura
(Moegi-no-Mura is only 2 hours away from Shinjuku via the Chuo Expressway. If come by train, take a limited express train bound for Matsumoto, get off at Kobuchizawa to transfer to the Koumi Line, and take a train to Kiyosato. From there, Moegi-no-Mura is a 10-minute walk, in total a 2.5 hour trip.)

Published on

  • April 14, 2022


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