Apr 20, 2010

Outdoor Sake

The Japanese, in general, tend to do the same thing as the majority does, and it seems people cannot help but go and see cherry blossoms in April. I am no exception, and I already began to think about where to go to view sakura when the flower buds were still small.

However, the famous sakura places such as Ueno Park or Yasukuni Shrine are very crowded and I don't like being in a crowded place. So, I try to think of any good un-crowded place for sakura viewing.

Several years ago, I went for a hike to the Oku-takao area. At that time, I saw some groups of people enjoying sake while admiring cherry blossoms when I passed by the place named "Iccho-daira." I thought this was a good cherry blossom viewing place, and wanted to come here later with bringing some sake with me. Then, two years ago, I visited the place with my hiking friends in the cherry blossom season and had some sake there. It was drizzling and very foggy then. We were trembling from the cold weather. It was a pleasant experience anyhow, but the conditions were far from the best.

This year too, I went for sakura viewing to the same place. It was Sunday, April 18.

Actually, Mt. Takao was awfully crowded. This state of crowdedness can probably be attributed to the appearance of the place in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2008. Now, I reclaim a quiet Mt. Takao!

Still, I had had some hope that it would not so crowded at Iccho-daira. However, when I got to Iccho-daira, it turned out the place was crowded too. Anyhow, I could find a vacant bench to sit.

My plan was to prepare warmed sake there and enjoy it under cherry flowers. I boiled some water with a portable outdoor gas stove, place cup sake in the water, and waited for a two or three minutes. Thus, I warmed my sake. It is great fun to enjoy warmed sake outdoors!

It is sometimes very cold at this time of the year outside, so warmed sake is better than cold sake. However, I did not drink sake too much at this time since I had to walk for at least 30 minutes on the mountain trail to go home even if I used the cable car.

At the kiosk of Takosan-guchi Station on Keio Line, I bought this to bring home. This sake is named "Takaosan" (literally Mt. Takao).


Timothy Sullivan said...

Thanks for showing us your sake warming method for the mountain top. You heated the sake to a very high temperature,right? maybe Tobikirikan?

Ichibay said...

Hi Tim san,
Thank you always for your comment.
The sake was not so hot actually, somewhere between jokan and atsukan.
Warmed sake is nice.
By the way, there are canned sake products that use the heat from the chemical reaction of quicklime and water to warm themselves.
When I find one, I will introduce it in a future post.