( " principles: nihonshu, natural hot spas, and Jukujo. I count food in with nihonshu because the two are inseparable").
Arriving in Sendai, I changed trains heading to Kuromatsu Station where I met a three car convoy of sake drinkers - old friends. Six men and six Jukujo! Love was in the air. We commanded three SUVs across miles and miles of Tundra, through pristine valleys and lowlands, across frozen lakes and icy plateaus. Ravines steamed down through snowed over rice fields half frozen and timelessly beautiful. This only confirmed that we had reached Akita in break neck speed. Heaven bound.
In the bottom picture you can see a mountain in the background. It’s called Chokkai and it’s located in southern Akita, in an area rich in natural beauty and delicious water.
_________________________________________________________________________________Akita has its own private highway that takes you through the heart of snow country. Our driver took the scenic route so that we could take out time and really enjoy the snow scenery.
Our first major stop was at a sake brewery called Akita Seishu, one of the top sake houses in Japan. Here we had a chance to tour the brewery to see how sake is made. Every sake house has its own particular way or method of doing something.
In the picture below the sake worker is emptying a bag of sakamai ( sake rice) into a machine. This machine washes the rice before it is used for making sake. Traditionally, the brewer would do this by hand.
After the tour my crew headed to the dining area to thoroughly soak our livers in some of the best sake ever made. It was fresh, clean, and crisp!
The Yama Toshi Tsuku was absolutely outstanding, and is a new favorite of mine.
The Yama Toshi Tsuku was absolutely outstanding, and is a new favorite of mine. After getting nice and drunk we were off to our onsen ryoukan. We went so deep into the sticks you had to pipe in the sunshine! In other words, there was no cellphone signal. My crew were all veteran Tohoku people. The Driver Ozawa lived in Akita for 15 years and had deep connections. It’s good having Japanese friends even though I still enjoy traveling solo from time to time. .