Mar 22, 2009

Japan's Best Ume Grove and Sawanoi Sake

Yoshino Baigo in Ome City, Tokyo was recently ranked by Nihon Keizai Sinbun Newspaper as the top among the notable sites for plum blossoms in Japan. On March 21, I attended an event, in which we visited the Ume-no-koen Park in this Yoshino Baigo area to admire plum blossoms and then had lunch with enjoying Sawanoi sake. This event was sponsored by Ozawa Brewery.

I got to the park at around 10:30 when Mr. Junichiro Ozawa, president of Ozawa Syuzou, and other company's staff were waiting for us near the gate of the park. We waited further for a while until all the prospective participants came there. Then, we started walking to see the sights in the park. Park guide Mr. Makoto Sawada showed us around the park and explained about plum trees and other plants in the park.

He showed us a plum tree called "ogonbai" (literally translated as golden plum), which had small yellow blossoms, and other rare species of plum. In additions to plum trees, there were many plants to see, such as "azumaichige" and "omeso." I learned much of these plans.

[Left: ogonbai, right: azumaichige]

After admiring the plum blossoms, we moved to the restaurant "Ume no Sato Kyubei" ( to have lunch. This restaurant offered food in which they used pickled plum fruit as ingredients. Since this event is hosted by Ozawa Syuzou, sake was of course offered. We drank honjozo "Hanami-shinshu," slightly fizzy, murky "Haru no Yuki," and "Purari," plum wine made from plum and sake. Especially, "Hanami-shinshu" exhibited a fresh impression, seeming quite suitable for this plum blossom-admiring event.

After lunch, we enjoyed a hot bath containing plum and Korean ginseng essence. There, I could get quite relaxed. Beautiful plum blossoms, delicious food and sake, and hot relaxing bath ... , I enjoyed the day enough.

Today's Sake
Koshitanrei Junmaiginjo (Yukitsubaki Shuzo)
Elegant aroma mild sweetish taste. I also tried it warmed, which, I thought, was not bad.
Rice used: Koshitanrei
Seimaibuai: 60%
Alcohol: 15 - 16%

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