Experience Sake and the Sacred Atmosphere at the Doburoku Festival 2019 in Oita



Welcome to the Doburoku Festival page! I guess the word “Sake” might have got your attention. These days Japanese sake has been getting popularity more and more on a global basis. That’s partly because “Washoku” – traditional Japanese cuisine had been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013. In this article, I am going to tell you more about an ancient part of Washoku – Doburoku and the event where everybody can drink it for free!

Sake Festival With a 1300 Years History

Have you ever tried Japanese sake? If so, do you remember what the sake you drank looked like? Nowadays, most of the sake is transparent as you might have noticed. However, the original sake was entirely different. It was cloudy like a rice porridge.

Our ancestors started to make sake using rice in this country about 2000 years ago. The first sake had a cloudy color and was called “Doburoku” later. In Japan, sake has initially been a sacred drink and was offered to the gods to wish for long life and good harvest.

Doburoku Festival takes place every October in Kitsuki City in the north-eastern part of Oita Prefecture, Kyushu Island. The site is Shira Hige Tawara Shrine. Shira Hige stands for a gray mustache. The history of Doburoku Festival is very long and started in 710. That means that this tradition is over 1300 years! It’s quite amazing, isn’t it?

Priceless Doburoku Experience & Unique Beard Contest

At this festival, you will enjoy Doburoku which is produced in Shira Hige Tawara Shrine. The shrine is the only one having a license to brew sake in Kyushu. The Shirene – original Doburoku is distributed to the visitors for free. Doburoku might remind you of a rice porridge because it is white and thick. But don’t hesitate to try it. The sweet flavor will give you a new sake experience, drinking in the sacred atmosphere of the shrine. I’m positive!

You will also be having fun with the unique event – “The Beard Contest” there. As I mentioned above, “Shira Hige” means gray mustache. So, a lot of people having nice mustaches, beards and hair gather from all over Japan to compete. This type of contest is so rare that quite a few people come to the festival for watching the competition every year.

If you are proud of your mustache, beard or hair, why don’t you join the competition?

Enjoy Hot Spring Baths in Beppu Onsen

If you have time, I recommend you take hot spring baths in Beppu City, near Kitsuki City.

Beppu is one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan. The city is blessed with eight different springs! They are Beppu Onsen, Hamawaki Onsen, Kannawa Onsen, Myoban Onsen, Horita Onsen, Kankaiji Onsen, Kamegawa Onsen, and Shibaseki Onsen.

They are renowned for producing hotter spring water than any other hot spring resorts in the country. You will enjoy the wide range of bath types there.

Among them, the sand bath is a must! You are buried in a naturally heated sand instead of hot water. Of course, the sand doesn’t cover your face, so you don’t have to worry. The heated sand will get you sweaty in 10 to 15 minutes, and it will be quite refreshing!

Details & Access

Dates: It is held for two days on October 17th and 18th every year.

Place: Shira Hige Tawara Shrine

Address: Ota-kutsukake 1963-1, Kitsuki City, Oita Prefecture

Entrance Fee: Free of charge

Hours: 09:00 – 17:00


・It takes 20 minutes by car from JR Kitsuki Station

・It takes 45 minutes by car via Hayami Fureai Road from Usa Beppu Road Hayami IC

Special buses are also available from Kitsuki Station during the festival. If you would like to drink Doburoku, don’t drive a car and use the special bus.

Closing Remarks

The Doburoku Festival in Oita Prefecture is a unique celebration indeed. As only a few locations in Japan have permission to brew a sake prototype, this event attracts many sake lovers from all over the world as well. You can drink as much as you want during the festival, but do not leave anything in your cup.

If you would like to experience this festival with local guides or have a great time in Oita Prefecture, please click on the banner below!

Discover Oita Prefecture With its Fascinating Festivals and Hot Springs!

Would you like to avoid typical routes when you are in Japan next time? Then Oita prefecture is a perfect destination to see rural Japan, enjoy delicious local food, soak in numerous hot springs and experience the hospitality of local people at unforgettable festivals! The following article will guide you to the best activities you must try when you are in Oita Prefecture!


Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Don`t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!



I’m a SAKE evangelist! My dream is to enjoy fabulous Japanese SAKE with people all over the world!

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