Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Sake of Fukui / Part-6 / Passion for Japanese sake at Kokuryu



I visited Kokuryu Sake Brewery, one of the greatest breweries in Japan, to participate in an activity of “Arigato Project” (Arigato means thank you in Japanese).


I got to know how passionate Kokuryu staff, brewers and participants are about sake
and the project.

Today, I would like to introduce some of the passion of them.

There is a staff member who handles putting labels on bottles. These labels are made of Japanese paper called Washi from Fukui. This process takes so much concentration that she remains silent to put the label on the proper place. Any misalignment is not acceptable at all.

She said that she wanted young people to know “good sake”.

Also, she said “The sake which people have for the first time in their lives is important

because it can influence their perspective and/or image of sake throughout their lives.

So I would especially like young people to have the good first experience

with their first sake and I want them to like it.

I want the young ones to have good sake.”

I was deeply touched by her passion and straightforward feelings toward Japanese sake

and young ones’ experience with sake.

I was also strongly impressed by Kokuryu brewery which has such a dedicated employee like her and I became much more honorable toward the brewery.



Another staff mentioned how he wanted more and more young people to know Japanese sake. Especially, through “Arigato Project”, he wants them to know sake and how it’s made, and give the sake that they make from scratch to the people whom they feel they want to thank to. He feels that some of young people feel uncomfortable, shy and or hesitated telling their family members, friends and/or anyone “Arigato” (thank you), so he strongly hopes that the participants will be able to show their appreciation to anyone that they want to thank to.


It was heartwarming to see his kindness that not only he wants sake to be known to people, he also wants the young ones to improve their relationships with their family members and/or friends as well.


Another impressive words were from Mr. Mizuno, the president of Kokuryu brewery.
He said “I would like more people from all over the world to come to Fukui, and experience the nature of Fukui and have great foods. I want our sake to be set next to them quietly and humbly.”

How humble he expresses about the sake.

I was deeply moved and very impressed by his words.

I also felt the passion and love toward sake and Fukui from his words.


I thought his words show how Japanese spirit is which is to be humble and peaceful

with “after you” attitude. I definitely affirmed the charms of Japanese spirit.


I said to myself, no wonder, Kokuryu brewery has been making “good sake” for over 200 years.


What is your “good sake”?

If you have a chance to have foods from Fukui, how about enjoying them with sake?



For more information about Kokuryu,

Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation Official Site


Please enjoy our previous blogs.

Sake, Kokuryu

Sake of Fukui / Part-1 / One of the Greatest Sake Breweries, “Kokuryu” 

                      Part-2 / Fans of Kokuryu

                      Part-3 / Arigato Project / Passing on Japanese Sake to the Next Generation

                      Part-4 / Arigato Project / Learning about Sake

                      Part-5 / Arigato Project at Kokuryu / Brewery Tour




Walking in Pontocho Street, which has traces of geisha district in Kyoto City


Kyoto and Nara

The Pontocho Street is very close to Shijo-ohashi Bridge in Kyoto,
and the street is packed with lots of latticed restaurants.
As I walked along the street, it is so hard to decide to go into one.
Here not only many foreign tourists but also the local office workers are often seen,
so the crowds might be natural.
And, from early to late summer, I highly recommend dinner at a breeze-enjoying floor.
By the way, “Pontocho” sounds cute, doesn’t it?
Town name that starts with “Po” is very unusual in Japan.
I looked up the etymology of the word and found that “pont” meant “tip” in Portuguese.
The truth is unknown, but this theory seems most probable. (H.S)


Passing in front of Minamiza(Kabuki theater), crossing the Shijo-ohashi Bridge,
you come to Pontocho.


For some reason, it is fun to walk through a narrow alley.


Japanese-style vermillion umbrellas attracted my attention.


Window decoration with Ikebana(flower arrangement) at a restaurant.


Pontocho was once flourished as a geisha district. Even now there are some “teahouses” which refer to places where geisha entertain their guests.


Rainy season and “Yakishime” (the potteries which are fired with the unglazed firing technique)


Arts and crafts



I just took photographs of works by Reiko Kouen, Echizen-yaki pottery artist, at her studio today. As I was taking photographs, I started getting carried away and putting her works outside in shrubberies and weed outside the studio and they looked nicer than I expected them to be.

The potteries which are fired at high temperature with the unglazed (without “Yuyaku”=”Uwagusuri”) firing technique are called “Yakishime” in Japanese. When these potteries are arranged in the rainy season scenery, they look more alive as similar as plants.


Sake of Fukui / Part-5 / Arigato Project at Kokuryu / Brewery Tour



In our previous blog, I introduced about "Arigato Project".

We went on a brewery tour after learning about how sake is made including knowing the water, rice, terminologies and process of making sake, and the passion of pepole who make the sake.


Inside the brewery, everything is kept organized and cleaned. The whole building and some equipments that they use every day look very old which show the history of the brewery.



Most of the brewers are much younger than I expected them to be, they are in their twenties and/or thirties. It is because Kokuryu wants to train young ones for the future of making sake.


After the brewery tour, participants discussed how to promote Japanese sake to the younger generation. They seemed to have great ideas and opinions about it.


It was interesting for me to learn about sake and Kokuryu brewery, go on the brewery tour and discuss about how to promote sake to the young generation.

If you are 20 to 30 years old, how about participating in this project?



*The observe tour of the brewery is not available to the public,

they let us do it specially for this project.



For more information about Kokuryu,

Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation Official Site


Please enjoy our previous blogs,

Sake, Kokuryu

Sake of Fukui / Part-1 / One of the Greatest Sake Breweries, “Kokuryu”

                      Part-2 / Fans of Kokuryu

                      Part-3 / Arigato Project / Passing on Japanese Sake to the Next Generation

                      Part-4 / Arigato Project / Learning about Sake




Evening stroll along Gion Shirakawa Street of Kyoto


Kyoto and Nara

There are many places where I like in Kyoto, and here is one of them.
The Gion Shirakawa Street has been often used for locations for TV dramas and travel
programs. In particular, its atmosphere from the evening to the night is wonderful,
and you can feel like “This is Kyoto!” there.
I stayed at a Japanese-style Inn along the Shirakawa River once before, from the room
on the second floor, I could see the stream through the weeping willows and an egret
stands gracefully, which I felt the elegance and the aesthetic value of Kyoto’s own.
Also, I thought that the view could even be called as if it was Venice ( I’ve never been
there though) in Japan. (H.S)


The shop also looks as a traditional Kyoto-style house


Dedicated fences around Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine.There are many ones by Maiko (young geisha) and people related to show business.


Shimbashi Street right next to Shirakawa Street was selected as an important traditional building preservation area. And you may meet Maiko in the evening if you are lucky.