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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

2012 Newly Renovated Sake Center

Prologue to a series: My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan So good news for us drunkards who love the rice brew.   Echigo Yuzawa has undergone renovation since last spring.  Now that it is completed and open to the public I had a chance to get up there and see it for myself.

For those who don't know, Echigo Yuzawa Station is the first major  train hub in Niigata Prefecture.   It is situated in the very heart of the the rice and sake cultivating regions of Niigata, ensconced  within the Echizen Mountain range.   Most often,  commuters are simply just passing through on their way to Niigata Station, others, like myself, would rather stop here in Echigo and enjoy a sake bath, and great Hegisoba.   And of course delicious sake - kakure-shu.   And yes.  An authentic sake soak in a real spa.   They pour several liters of sake into the bath.    I like to arrive in the morning before other get there, have a dip and sigh.   The smell of sake lees  is noticeable and refreshing.

In the video I walk you through the sake room where you can sample dozens of amazing sake, and get a feel for the characteristics of real premium sake made right here in the snow country - the motherlode of sake and rice production.  


N. B.  To get your sake fix, leave Tokyo.    Head to the great Hokuriku regions of Japan, take an onsen and enjoy sake like it should be enjoyed.   Sure, you can probably sample the same sake in Tokyo, but why not in the land where it was created?    What about Kawabata's imagery.   Wait til winter.  

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