Sake Consumption during the Showa Period (1926-1989)

However, the quality of Japanese sake was reviewed in the late 1960s, and consumers crusaded to demand the content of sake be labeled, as sake brewers started to actively brew “Honjozo” and “Junmai” sake.  

Also, the assignment of quota on sake rice was abolished, and various sake similar to wine and carbonated sake were released. Since enjoying peak sales in the late 1960s, sake sales slumped due to the increasing popularity of whiskey, beer, wine, and shochu. Although sake consumption is declining in Japan, each sake producer is engaging in various efforts to improve quality and diversify containers, while releasing a line-up of various sake products such as draft sake and Ginjo sake to increase sales. 

Adding preservatives to sake was banned in 1983, and The Sake Grading System of Japan was ended in April 1992. Since then, premium sake such as Daiginjo sake and Ginjo sake became mainstream and local sake increased in popularity. As more Japanese restaurants opened overseas, the sake boom was ignited in the U.S. Sake sales in the U.S. market, where many consumers enjoy wine, transition around ten percent in growth rate each year.   




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Tokyo Jizake Strolling: (Sake Nagatoro Gura Paired with Teppanyaki)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The rainy season started in Tokyo. Just when the rain was expected to continue, the weather suddenly turned scorching hot. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, an umbrella ultimately comes in handy in early summer, when teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in the Nakano ward of Tokyo held a pairing event serving teppanyaki cuisine paired with sake from the Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery based in Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture.  

As reported previously, Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery brewed sake in collaboration with merchants from Omni (modern-day Hino town, Gamo district of Shiga prefecture) and master sake brewers? from the Echigo province (modern-day Niigata prefecture). The brewery eventually relocated to Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture to access pure water used to mainly brew small volumes of “Nagatoro Gura” - a fragrant, non-filtered, and unprocessed sake.  

Sake “Nagotoro Gura” was noticed by the owner of teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in Tokyo, the venue of the pairing event. On this day, a sales representative of Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery elaborated on the sake product, followed by a special full-course dinner prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 

The special full-course dinner started with two appetizers, “Tofu Paste with Fruits” and “Seasonal Vegetables Marinated in a Spicy Sauce,” followed by “Oyama Fried Chicken with Apricot Chutney,” “Cod Meuniere and New Potato Potage,” “Gyoza Dumpling filled with Minced Duck and Crown Daisy, served with Coconut Vinegar Soy Sauce,” “Kure’s Navy Style Braised Beef and Potatoes with Tomato Farcies,” “Okonomiyaki (prepared specially for this event) with Musashi Barley Pork,” all delicious menu selections that compliment the flavor of sake. Lastly, the meal concluded with dessert, “Monaka Catalana with Sake Lees Sauce.” I later learned the owner personally headed to Nagatoro town to purchase produce and other ingredients other than meat that further enhances the paired flavors.     

This thoughtfully prepared menu was paired with four sake selections: “Nagatoro Gura Non-filtered Unprocessed Cloudy Sake” with sufficient carbonation, “Nagatoro Gura Junmai Ginjo Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with fragrances of apple and pear, “Nagatoro Junmai Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with refreshing fragrances of banana and pineapple, and “Nagatoro Pasteurized Junmai” with a gentle fragrance capitalizing on the characteristics of sake rice Sake Musashi, harvested in Saitama prefecture. 

The sake selections that pair well with fruits and vegetables left a refreshing aftertaste, even after the meat dishes were finished. Guests seemed quite content from enjoying sake products by Nagatoro Gura Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery, not readily available outside of Saitama prefecture; paired with delicious cuisine prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 



#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Just when humidity was first detected in the air in Tokyo, Italian restaurant “Karibe-tei” in Shimokitazawa district (introduced in a previous issue) hosted the event, “Third Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese Sake.”    

The theme of the cuisine for this event was “early summer,” consisting of: ① Mozzarella Burrata and Prosciutto, ② Sicilian-style Eggplant Caponata, ③ Kirishima Chicken and Celery Wrapped and Deep-fried in Pate Brick, ④ Yellowtail Grilled Tapenade Sauce from Kagoshima Prefecture, ⑤ Dried Mullet Roe and Pistachio Pasta from Sardegna, ⑥ Beef Skirt and Bavette Steak, ⑦ Duck and Foie Gras Risotto, and ⑧ Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry Grappa Flambé. 

Japanese sake served during this event were selected for their refreshing flavors suitable for the rainy season from late spring through summer as follows: ① “Shukufuku Yellow-label,” a new series of sparkling sake released by Sasaiwai Brewery that took two years of trial-and-error to produce, including the sample sake product. Opening the seal released fine foams that raised the sediments sunken to the bottom of the bottle of this beautiful, milky-white, cloudy sparkling sake. Guests toasted with Shukufuku sparkling sake to kick-off the event, followed by ② “Takizawa Junmai-Ginjo Draft” and ③ “Hiya-live Storage Sake” by Shinsyu Meijyo Brewery, ④ “Sanzui Junmai Daiginjo Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” and ⑤ “Hakuro Junmai Daiginjo” by Hakuro Shuzo, ⑥ “Nagatoro Junmai Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” by Fujisaki Sobei Shoten, and ⑦ “Kamakiri-shouzu Junmai” by Kanemasu Brewery, a total of seven different categories of sake in fifteen 720 ml bottles, all from Fujisake Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery 

This event was attended by fifteen guests, with each guest calculated to enjoy one 720 ml bottle of sake. The real thrill of this event was to ensure each guest was stuffed with delicious cuisine and enjoyed a nice buzz on their way home. The guests varied in age from their twenties into their sixties, all fans of Italian cuisine and sake, who hyped up the event. It’s surprising every time this event is held how each tipsy guest never gets into any trouble on their way home. We’re truly blessed. This event, organized without any regard to profit or loss, is so popular among guests that the guests beg organizers to raise their participation fee to ensure the event will continue well into the future.  

From the operation side, removing any concern for profit rate and financial state, etc., allows chefs and service providers to prioritize seeing the smiles of satisfied customers as their top priority. Hearing genuine feedback from customers who love to eat and drink sake helps professionals capitalize on the motivational benefit of getting back to the basics. Not to sound too altruistic, but there aren’t sufficient resources to hold this event multiple times a year. Although it’s not yet known when the next event will be organized, we hope fans of Italian cuisine and Japanese sake will look forward to it.   


 東京が湿気を空気に感じ始めた頃、以前も紹介した下北沢に有るイタリア料理店「かりべ亭」にて第三回イタリアンと日本酒の夕べというイベントが行われた。今回は「初夏」をキーワードに料理は、①モツァレラブラータと生ハム、②シチリア風茄子のカポナータ、③霧島地鶏とセロリのパートブリック包み揚げ、④鹿児島県産活みやび勘八のグリルタプナードソース、⑤サルディーニャ産からすみとピスタチオのスパゲティ、⑥牛ハラミのバベットステーキ、⑦鴨とフォアグラのリゾット、⑧苺のグラッパフランベをかけたバニラアイスクリームの全八品。日本酒は、①笹祝酒造が試作品も含めて2年間、数多のトライ&エラーを繰り返しながらようやくたどり着いたスパークリング日本酒の新シリーズ「祝吹・イエローラベル多酸」。抜栓をすることで瓶底に沈んだオリがきめ細かな泡によって持ちあがり、見た目的にも乳白色が美しい泡酒である。この祝吹を乾杯酒として、②③長野信州銘醸「瀧澤 純米吟醸生酒」「ひや 生貯蔵原酒」、④⑤新潟柏露酒造「さんずい 純米大吟醸無濾過生原酒」「柏露 純米大吟醸生囲い」、⑥埼玉藤崎宗兵衛商店「長瀞 純米直汲み無濾過生原酒」、⑦新潟金升酒造「カマキリショウズ 呑み切り純米」、の全七種類720ml瓶で15本、全て梅雨から夏にさっぱり飲める酒を用意した。参加人数は15名なので一人4合瓶1本が飲める計算で、お腹いっぱいになってもらい、しっかり酔っぱらって帰ってもらうのがこのイベントの醍醐味である。参加者の年齢層も幅広く20代から60代までのイタリアン好きで酒好きな人達が集まり大いに盛り上がった。毎回、泥酔者でトラブルが起こらないのが不思議なくらい参加者に恵まれている会だと思う。利益度外視のこの会は参加者から心配になるから参加費を上げてくれと頼まれるくらい高評価を得ている。運営側としては日々頭の中でモヤモヤしている利益率や経営状態などを頭の中から外すことにより、お客様の満足した笑顔で料理人やサービスマンとしての初心に戻り、食べるのが好きで酒飲むのが好きな人達の本音を聞くことにより、自分たちをもう一度原点に戻し見直すという大きい心の利益を獲得しているのである。などとカッコ良い事を言っているが、当然年に何度も出来る程余裕があるわけではない。次回はいつになるか解らないが、イタリアンと日本酒好きには是非期待していて欲しい。
#alljapannews #italianfood #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Japanese sake similar to wine) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Kanemasu Brewery (Shibata city, Niigata prefecture), producer of “Hatsuhana” and “Kinmasu,” partnered with the Tokyo-based wine importer and distributor Grand Cru Wine Company to produce “Domaine Takahashi,” a Junmai Daiginjo non-filtered unprocessed sake product inspired by wine production, condensed in flavor developed in the local climate. A suitable parcel was selected from Kanemasu Brewery’s rice field to grow the sake rice used to produce this product, a unique production method not common for Japanese sake. Domaine Takahashi is produced since 2020.    

Upon receiving notification that 2022 Domaine Takahashi was ready, I headed to an event organized at my sake shop in the Hatsudai district of Shibuya ward in Tokyo to sample this “wine-like sake” in the standing bar and compare to French and Italian wine samples. Four Italian wine samples were prepared for this event - rose wine from the Abruzzo region, white wine from the Calabria region, and red wine from the Marche region and Sicily - along with two bottles each of Languedoc red and white wine from France, totaling eight bottles of wine to sample comparatively against Domaine Takahashi.    

First, draft sake is commonly refrigerated between 32 degF to 41 degF to preserve the aroma and flavor. Sake bottles were opened thirty minutes before the event started and placed at room temperature to raise the sake temperature back up to 53.6 degF, the temperature recommended by breweries to enjoy sake, which also corresponds to the serving temperature of wine. Ginjo sake by Kanemasu Brewery released a sweet, fragrant ginjo aroma that is just right. The sake was smooth to the palate with a gentle lactic acid flavor and no odd taste.  

Sake was served in wine glasses used for tasting instead of sake cups, which helps the detection of aroma and flavor. It’s unclear if sake aroma and flavor are just as easily detectable in sake cups. However, the ginjo sake was decanted in the same fashion as wine to allow the gradual exposure of sake to air in the decanter, anticipated to enhance the above aroma and flavor. Perhaps the exposure of sake to air could enhance the sake flavor, even when drinking sake in sake cups? The sake aroma and flavor is enjoyable not only with Japanese cuisine, but also with Western cuisine. 

As a result, sake produced by Kanemasu Brewery was the indisputable winner. The smooth and refreshing sake flavor unique to Kanemasu Brewery was most notable for its “terroir” (characteristics of flavor unique to the production region) of sake rice harvested in Shibata city, Niigata prefecture. Many draft sake can now be stored at room temperature until unsealed due to improved sake brewing techniques. I hope this draft sake will break the stereotype of storage temperature and serving temperature of draft sake, commonly adhered to by sake fans. If Japanese consumers can rediscover the delicious flavor of draft sake, various new ways to introduce new Japanese sake products can captivate Japanese consumers in the future.  


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Sake Nation “New style of sake events following the Coronavirus pandemic”

By Kosuke Kuji

The past three years since the coronavirus outbreak witnessed the relentless scapegoating of “alcohol consumption” in Japan.

The first state of emergency declaration prohibited restaurants from operating, and left a lasting negative impression of alcohol consumption as “bad.” 

 Media outlets questioned whether the restaurant industry would be ensured or not with each state of emergency declared and movement restricted since. If yes, the public reaction would be, “Why only restaurants?” Either way, alcohol consumption was relentlessly scapegoated during the pandemic due to the perception of increased risk of aerosol contagion, causing great disruption to the operations of sake breweries and alcoholic beverage producers to date.    

 Needless to say, the annual kurabiraki, or warehouse opening, organized by sake breweries to invite guests looking forward to sampling their latest new sake, was canceled.

Events to enjoy sake at sake breweries were all canceled as well.

Popular sake brewery tours and sampling events were also canceled.  

As restaurants incurred great losses since the coronavirus outbreak, so did sake breweries supplying sake to these restaurants, restricted in their ways to recover from the fiscal impact of the pandemic.

 Now that Japan downgraded COVID-19 to Category Five, various events can finally resume.

All events held regularly before the pandemic, such as brewery tours, sampling events, kurabiraki (warehouse opening), will soon resume.  

We’ll soon reunite with many customers at various events, but not without restrictions.

For example, we can no longer reuse glasses, and hand sanitizers will be made available at all times.

Please look forward to future sake events in the new post-pandemic era.  













#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake


Sake Ambassador

Rice milling with water wheels 

At a time when rice in the sake production regions of Itami and Ikeda was polished by stomping, rice milling using water wheels started in the Nada region in the fast-flowing river of Rokkosan with abundant water volume. White rice was used with 25~35 percent of the rice bran, etc., removed in the 1800’s. Using water wheels to mill rice required a longer time compared to rice milling today, thought to have produced quality white rice with low gelatinization and low fat oxidation.       

Around 1913, 277 water mills operated in the Nada region. Large volumes of rice were processed in a set period, which increased labor productivity and made mass production of sake possible.  

Focus on cold-weather brewing 

Traditionally, sake was produced seasonally over a nine-month period between June to March of the lunar calendar. Seasonal sake was produced five times a year throughout the four seasons as shin-shu (new sake), aisyu (in-between sake), kanmae-sake (pre-cold weather sake), kansyu (cold weather sake), and haruzake (spring sake). In the Nada region, new rice and seasonal workers were used to focus sake production during the cold weather season for economic advantages.     

Also, bacterial contamination was reduced and the quality of sake improved. To shorten the brewing period, the brewing days were shortened, the production volume was increased, and sake cellars were expanded, etc. 





また、細菌汚染も少なくなり品質的にも向上した。醸造期間を短縮するために、(1)酛(もと)日数の短縮、(2)醪日数の短縮 (3)仕舞個数(しまいこすう)の増大 (4)酒蔵の大型化等々が実施された。

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Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Gallery & Café)

By Ryuji Takahashi

“Gallery & Café Warehouse Garden” is a gallery and café attached to a beautiful garden, operating in a renovated house on the Keio Line Shibasaki Station in the Chofu city of Tokyo. Except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, lunch starts at 11:00 AM with Japanese and Western course selections, leisurely tea time at 2:00 PM serving homemade cake with coffee or tea, and happy hour at 5:00 PM serving beer, wine, whiskey, sake, appetizers, etc. Local customers often stroll in on their way back from the bathhouse across the street to grab a glass of chilled beer at this café, cherished by their local community.      

The café is attached to the gallery, where various events such as exhibits of paintings, workshops, and occasional musical performances are held weekly. I capitalized on a chance meeting with the owner of this popular café and suggested organizing an event together. My suggestion was graciously accepted, and we organized a seasonal event similar to an outdoor flower-viewing picnic, serving aluminum bottle-shaped cans of Japanese sake Nihonsakari with a seasonal spring bento in the garden.       

I chose Nihonsakari from many Japanese sake brands for their aluminum bottle-shaped sake cans with screw-tops for their practicality. The cans are easy to carry outdoors with the bento served by the café. A new sake product, “JAPAN SODA,” was also released around the same time as our event. JAPAN SODA is a low-alcohol sparkling sake product developed to encourage the casual consumption of Japanese sake, packaged in versatile 180 ml containers. Suzuki-san from Nihonsakari’s Tokyo store attended the event with six selections of their recent popular sake products in addition to JAPAN SODA, such as undiluted sake, Junmai Ginjo, and Daiginjo, each suitable to take outdoors on camping trips, etc.     

The café in a renovated house offers seating at large tables with low chairs and a relaxing ambiance reminiscent of a visit to one’s parents’ home. I snacked on the seasonal spring bento prepared by the owner Kurata-san, while each of us drank from our bottle-shaped cans of sake, enjoyed the garden view, and listened to the calming sounds of water splashing from the pail into the hot springs at this posh, relaxing event. Needless to say, I comfortably fell asleep on my train ride home. I’ve held many events at restaurants and izakayas, but never had the chance to get involved with a café prior to this event. It’s always fun to connect Japanese sake with professionals from a different industry.  


東京都調布市の京王線柴崎駅に一軒家を改装して造られた「ギャラリー&カフェ ウエアハウスガーデン」という庭が素敵なギャラリーカフェが有る。火曜と水曜以外、11時から日替わりランチが毎日和洋の2種から選べるランチタイム、14時からは手作りケーキとコーヒーや紅茶でのんびり出来るカフェタイム、17時からはビール・ワイン・ウイスキー・日本酒などとおつまみが楽しめるバータイムという営業なので、目の前の銭湯で、ひとっ風呂浴びてからビールを飲みにふらっと訪れることも出来る地元の人達から愛されているカフェである。そしてギャラリーを併設しているので、毎週のように様々な催し物が有り、絵画やワークショップなどが楽しめ、時には音楽会なども開かれる。そんな人気カフェのオーナーとひょんな事から知り合いになったので、折角なので合同で何かイベントをしませんかと問い合わせたところ、快諾していただけたので、時期的に日本盛のボトル缶と春のお弁当でお花見をイメージしたイベントをウエアハウスガーデンで開催する事となった。まずなぜ日本酒メーカーの中から日本盛にしたかと言うと、日本盛はスクリューキャップのボトル缶で有名なので、カフェのお花見弁当と一緒に外に持ち出せるというコンセプトと、ちょうどそのタイミングで、新商品の「JAPAN SODA」が発売になったからである。このJAPAN SODA はもっと日常の中にカジュアルに日本酒を楽しんでもらいたいというコンセプトの下、低アルコールで発泡性、容量が180ミリと誰でも手に取りやすい酒となっている。日本盛からは東京支店の鈴木さんが駆けつけてくれて、JAPAN SODA以外にも、既に人気商品となっていて最近はキャンプなどのアウトドアのお供として人気の生原酒や純米吟醸缶・大吟醸缶と熱燗専用缶など6種類を用意した。一軒家のカフェとあって、テーブルが大き目で椅子が低く、実家にいる様な落ち着く雰囲気である。そしてオーナーの倉田さんの花見弁当をつまみながら、皆各々ボトル缶を楽しみ、綺麗に手入れされた庭を眺め、時折聞こえる銭湯のお湯と桶の音に心を浄化される楽しい大人イベントとなった。そして帰りの電車で心地よくて寝てしまったことは説明するまでもない。今まで、レストランや居酒屋でイベントを開催することはあっても、カフェと関わる事は全くなかったので、ちょっと違う世界の人達と日本酒を繋げてみるのも面白いものである。
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Sake Nation “Sake breweries since the coronavirus outbreak”

By Kosuke Kuji

Sake breweries in Japan incurred major damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

The greatest blow was from restaurants forced to cease operations due to the initial state of emergency declaration. Although more consumers started to consume sake at home, consumption levels at home did not compare to sake consumed in restaurants. Sake not consumed in restaurants dramatically reduced opportunities for sake consumption overall. 

In the Japanese sake industry, the dramatic drop in sales of sake sold in magnum bottles (1.8 litres) still has not recovered to pre-pandemic volumes. 

Most sake in magnum bottles are sold to restaurants, purchased to sell sake “by the cup.” Opportunities to consume sake in restaurants still haven’t fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, 720 ml sake bottles (smaller than magnum bottles) are sufficient to meet the needs of restaurants, evidenced in the significant increase in production volume of 720 ml bottles since the coronavirus outbreak.   

Restaurants may have seen magnum sake bottles as more “economical” than 720 ml bottles before the pandemic. However, more restaurants increased their inventory of 720 ml bottles in their refrigerators since the coronavirus pandemic to maintain sake quality and offer samples of various sake brands. 

Since this shift in size was noted since the coronavirus pandemic, the magnum bottle may quickly become obsolete in the future.  

The most common size to export sake overseas was 720 ml since the beginning. Therefore, Japanese sake breweries may start to focus on 720 ml bottles in the future.

Quality is more easily managed in a smaller bottle. Hopefully, this change since the coronavirus pandemic will inspire favorable change in both directions.  











#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Wandering the Chugoku region) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Since discovering the named Honshu-Ichi from Hiroshima prefecture last fall, I was moved by the flavor and wished to visit the brewery. I finally visited Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery in Funakoshi town, Aki ward of Hiroshima prefecture. Founded in 1916, Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery draws water flowing 60 meters underground from the Iwataki Mountain, used as mother water. Sake ingredients used are all produced in Hiroshima prefecture. Recently, Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery has been garnering attention since winning a Japanese sake competition in Europe.  

First, I headed to Hiroshima Station on a shinkansen (bullet train), transferred to the Sanyo Main Line, and reached the Kaitaichi Station. From there, I drove approximately five minutes north along the river and arrived at the Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery. Hiyama-san, the second son of this family-owned brewery who works as a brewery worker, led me on a tour of the brewery. Hiyama-san returned home to the brewery two years ago to produce sake during the winter, and sell sake in the Kanto region and surrounding areas during the summer. Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery preserves the traditional sake flavor while introducing sake with notable aroma as main products for consumers from other prefectures and overseas.     

Currently, brand recognition is low outside of Hiroshima along with the low production volume. However, I’m convinced this sake brewery will one day captivate the attention of a sake connoisseur and become a popular brand. Their product concept, attentive sake production, and the character of each brewery worker are each reasons that prompt encouragement for the brewery’s success. I look forward to seeing this brewery grow into a global brand. While visiting the Chugoku region, I decided to revisit Ichinomiya Sake Brewing Company in Oda city, Shimane prefecture; for the first time in seven years. 

I headed north from my parents’ home in Fukuyama city, Hiroshima prefecture to Oda city, Shimane prefecture. The halfway point is the Chugoku Mountains, with the possibility of snow. I frequently checked the weather report as I continued north, but eventually encountered snowfall. Luckily, snow did not accumulate, and I arrived safely in Shimane prefecture.  

The weather was sunny in Shimane prefecture. I drove along the scenic coast, taking in the beautiful and vast Sea of Japan until I arrived at the Ichinomiya Sake Brewing Company. The Master sake brewer and his wife were as healthy as ever. I enjoyed a lengthy discussion with them about new ideas and strategies to sell their current inventory of sake and create an exciting future for their sake brewery. Their passionate thoughts and efforts recharged my own motivation as well. I toured the brewery for the first time in seven years. The interior was considerably remodeled and cleaner since my last visit.  

Both Umeda Shuzo-jo Brewery in Hiroshima prefecture and Ichinomiya Sake Brewing Company in Shimane prefecture cherish tradition, reconsider customs that pose a negative effect, hire young workers to brew sake, and continue to evolve their passion and efforts to pass on their respective sake brands onto the next generation. Motivated from my visit to two breweries in the Chugoku region during my brief stay of two nights and a wake-up, I concluded my trip by gazing at the 400-year-old Fukuyama Castle from the bullet train on my way home.  


#alljapannews #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Tokyo Winter Sake Festival in Yoyogi 2023)

By Ryuji Takahashi  

The “Tokyo Winter Sake Festival in Yoyogi 2023” was held at the Tokyo Yoyogi Park over three days from January 27~29. 

The concept for this event was to select delicious jizake (regional sake) and regional gourmet nibbles (to enjoy with the jizake) from Hokkaido to Kyushu prefecture for attending guests. Selections were divided into four categories: Jizake, Nibbles (to accompany alcoholic beverages), Festivals, and Campfire Cuisine. An original menu of campfire cuisine by an apparently popular YouTuber I was not familiar with was prepared and served at a booth.    

The “Festival” category was reminiscent of food stalls at festivals, complete with target shooting games, raffles, sweets, etc.

The “Nibbles” section exhibited the highest number of booths, packed with guests. Describing each booth would require unlimited space, starting with the tuna filleting show, Matsuzaka beef specialty store, Sapporo ramen served with premium beef tongue, and various other booths that turned heads. The Jizake section was divided into booths serving samples to sell, national jizake samples to sell, Nihonsakari sake samples to sell, and the craft beer sales booth. The craft beer booth was bustling during the early hours.   

Apparently, the custom to “start with beer” when consuming alcohol at an izakaya restaurant is also practiced at event venues as well. The opportunity to enjoy delicious nibbles with jizake from nationwide is very exciting for guests like myself. Guests can enjoy both sake and nibbles from the same prefecture together, or enjoy jizake from Kyushu prefecture with gourmet nibbles from Hokkaido prefecture. The discovery of new delicious Japanese sake and foods entices guests to visit the production region of these products, the true thrill of this event. Compared to recent sake events with many Japanese sake breweries present, events that showcase local nibbles with regional products better entices guests to seek regional sake with regional specialty foods, drawing people to the countryside. Considering revitalization of the countryside and Japanese sake breweries, perhaps there is no point in holding sake events that don’t spotlight regional foods with sake. 

I focused on the booth exhibited by Nihonsakari Co., Ltd. Some readers may wonder why the sake brewery attended an event serving jizake with regional nibbles. Despite being a national brand, Nihonsakari Co., Ltd. actively participates in regional sake events, garnering praise for their active involvement. Of course, the quality of sake products by Nihonsakari Co., Ltd. is safe and reliable compared to jizake, considering the brewery is leading the industry’s brewing technology. At the Nihonsakari booth, I sampled heated sake resistant to degradation even if continuously heated, and purchased Jyunmai Daiginjo draft sake, Samurai rock, and canned sake as souvenirs. I vowed to enjoy more regional foods with jizake this year as I headed home.  

東京地酒散歩(地酒&地肴 in 代々木)

 1月の後半3日間に渡り、東京代々木公園にて「冬祭!地酒&地肴 in 代々木2023」



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