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Try making your own Ume drink at CHOYA
Refreshing, Tasty, and Traditionally-Japanese

Mid-May to July each year is the season of fresh and bright green ume, or plum fruit, in Japan. Since it was brought to Japan over 2000 years ago, ume has been a familiar and essential part of Japanese food, medicine and luxury tastes. However, ume are rarely eaten raw-they are too sour to enjoy, and more importantly, seeds of young ume fruit contain certain substances not suitable for human digestion-so ume are always cooked or preserved with salt or alcohol. One of the best ways to appreciate this aromatic fruit is umeshu plum wine.

This sweet and fruity liquor is easy to make and many families prepare their own umeshu every year according to their own recipe. It requires just a few ingredients (fresh ume fruits, sugar, white liquor) and time. That's it! But perhaps the best place in Kyoto to try and learn about ume and umeshu is CHOYA.

As the leading producer of umeshu, CHOYA has produced a variety of umeshu using no artificial additives in any of their products for over 100 years. Last year, in the very center of Kyoto, CHOYA opened a unique shop. Here, with a CHOYA Ume Kit, people can try their hand at making non-alcoholic ume syrup, or even umeshu with their own choice of liquor and fruit.

With a CHOYA Ume Kit, try your hand at making non-alcoholic ume syrup or umeshu with your own choice of liquor and fruit.

First, you will be taught by the shop concierge about the process of making beverages from ume, including how each drink tastes different depending on the sugar and liquor used. Then, choosing your favorite ingredient, you can make your very own ume style drink. Only the freshest ume fruit is used at CHOYA, since they are frozen right after picking.

Finally, choose the bottle from three sizes (S 1,080 yen, M 2,160 yen, L 3,240 yen; prices vary depending on the choice of ume, sugar and liquor). Taking your concoction home, you have to wait just a little while until it's ready. The non-alcoholic ume syrup will take about a week, and about a month for the umeshu.

Take-away ume drinks will also be available at the entrance where you can casually delight in a taste so typical of Japan. Whether you're an ume connoisseur or first-time-taster, you will be fascinated with this succulent taste of Japan.

*According to Japanese Law, only people over 20 years old can participate in the ''Umeshu Liquor'' course. People under 20 can try making the non-alcoholic ume syrup only. *The bottle cap is not completely sealed off. It is not suitable for long-distance travel, such as planes.

11:00-19:00; Reservation required from their website; www.choyaume.jp