Mar 19, 2009

Niigata Sake Festa Report

Also this year, on March 14 and 15, Niigata Sake no Jin, an annual sake festa event, was held at the Toki Messe ( This annual event was first held in 2004, and this year it is the sixth time for this event to be held. About 78,000 people visited the site during this two-day event this year. The number of attendees is increasing year by year.

At the venue, booths of sake breweries from every part of Niigata Prefecture were arranged. On tables, there were a lot of sake bottles waiting for visitors. Other booths were selling soba noodles, sushi, deep-fried tofu, and other foods of Niigata. In places, tables and chairs were provided for visitors, who could eat and drink there.

Because of too many people, tables and chairs were difficult to secure if you went there late. I got to the venue about 12 o'clock, but my friend living in Niigata was get there earlier just after the opening, and kindly secured some space for me and other friends.

[We gathered at the place of this flag. "愛" means "love."]

Over 90 sake breweries operating in Niigata Prefecture gathered to attend this sake trade show. By purchasing the entrance ticket, which cost 2,000 yen and was valid for the two days, each visitor could enjoy limitless drinking of Niigata sake with a given sake cup, whose design had specially been arranged for this event. This event was really a paradise for sake lovers.

I brought a tray that can be hung from the neck so that it is placed in front of my chest. Carrying a PET bottle of chaser water, sake cup, and memo pad on the tray, I walked from booth to booth, drank various types of sake, sipped a mouthful of water sometimes, and took notes about sakes I tasted. Actually, I used this tray also last year, and some people remembered me. Also, since I was wearing kimono, it seemed that I attracted people's attention. As a result, I was approached by some people saying like, "I saw you last year," or "I know you because I saw your photo at an Internet site."

[Left: Tray is useful for a stand-up meal, Right: Tupperware used for bringing tavern nuts etc.]

Staff from sake breweries also noticed me and addressed me, saying, "Thank you for coming also this year," or the like. To me as a sake lover, people from the sake industry are all venerable persons as they are making such wonderful products. So, I feel quite pleased to be addressed by such people.

Finally, sake lovers from every corner of the country seemed satisfied in enjoying Niigata sake very much, and then left the Toki Messe with pleased expression on their faces.

Today's Sake
Gunki Ginsen (Sekihara Shuzo)
I was impressed by this sake, when tasting it in the 2009 Niigata Sake no Jin event. When drunk chilled, it smells like washed cheese. When warmed, it smells and tastes like Parmesan Cheese. Sake with strong characteristics and complex taste.
Alcohol: 15%
Sake meter value: (+)7

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