Apr 20, 2012
Sake "Sugi-no-mori" of Ｎａｒａｉ Inn Town
Narai is an old inn town located in
Shiojiri City, . The town is
on the Nakasendo that connected Edo ( Nagano
Prefecture Tokyo in
the present day) and Kusatsu-juku ( Kusatsu
in the present day). The roughly 1-km-long main street of the town is lined
with inns and various shops including local food shops selling oyaki, goheimochi,
buckwheat noodles, or sweets, lacquer ware shops, Japanese pickle shops, liquor
shops selling local sake, and craft shops. Shiga Prefecture
The sake brewery Sugi-no-mori Shuzo is also located on the main street of this inn town. I searched for a Web site of this brewery but could not find such a site. Maybe it does not have one. This company seems to have gained in popularity through word of mouth.
Recently, my sake-drinking friends and I attended a bus tour that traveled to Narai and other sightseeing spots. In this tour, we stopped at this old town for about 50 minutes, so we dropped in this brewery.
There was a big cedar ball under the eaves of the brewery building. I think this type with a straw festoon is very rare.
I bought a bottle of Junmai Ginjo Suginomori at this shop. At this time, the shopkeeper gave me some plastic cups so that we could enjoy the sake in the bus on the way home.
After leaving the last sightseeing destination of Takato Joshi Koen, an old castle ruin park, which is famous for its cherry blossoms, the bus traveled from
to . Chino City
In the bus, when I opened the cap of the sake bottle I bought at Narai, the bus was running along the winding road that climbed up to
My sake cup in which I poured some sake, sometimes slid on the tiny table
attached on the backrest of the seat in front of me. I had to be very careful
and needed to hold my sake bottle and cup to prevent them from toppling or
falling down. I gradually began to feel dizzy from the bus movement on the road
with frequent curves and it became difficult to continue drinking the sake. What
is worse, after passing Tsuetuki Pass. , the descending road
was much steeper than the ascending one and it had many hairpin bends. I was
sure that this was the most unsuitable condition for drinking sake. Tsuetsuki
Although this is a junmai ginjo sake, its aroma is quite subdued, and flavor is unaffected. So, I recommend this sake for someone who wants to enjoy carefully a substantial flavor or acidity of junmai sake. Many people describe such sake as being flinty and dry, but this sake exhibits a bold and impressive taste deriving from koji rice, and just "flinty" or "dry" is not a right word for describing this sake.
Anyway, after the bus finally entered the express highway from the Suwako interchange, the seat is no longer shaky. So, we resumed enjoying the sake in peace. I like a bus tour because, unlike a drive trip, I don't need to drive a car and can drink sake freely.
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