Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




New Sake Festival 2018 -Excellent sake from 24 Fukui Local Sake Breweries-



a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City
a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City

On March 21st, 2018, a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City.

sake barrels stacked in a triangular pyramid at the venue
booths for snacks

24 sake breweries from Fukui Prefecture and 6 restaurants and stores participated in the event. The number of the visitors had been increased. There were about 1,600 visitors came to the event last year, and about 2,000 visitors came this year. The venue was full of people enjoying the sake.



the venue was full of people 10 minutes before the event was started

10 minutes before the event was begun, the door was opened, and visitors rushed into the venue and they lined up in front of their favorite sake booths.


there were long lines in front of popular booths

Right before the event was started, the people in front of the sake booths seemed very excited for the event to be started. Staff members of each sake brewery were standing quietly and being ready to serve their sake. Somehow, by looking at the staff members with traditional uniforms and beautiful sake bottles lined up in front of them, I felt both solemnity and excitement.



the sake was poured into the visitors’ cups one after another

a woman with a sake cup, she is getting her cup filled with sake at a booth

As soon as the event was started, the sake was poured into the visitors’ cups one after another.



a man brought his own sake cup

Some visitors had brought their own cups like the man in the photograph above. He put the belt around the cup with perfect balance, so the sake would not be spilled from the cup. I was amazed by how he has so much passion toward sake.



three smiling women are serving sake

After the visitors had a few cups of sake, they started being more relaxed and chatty. The atmosphere of the event had been raised more and more.



a woman serving sake
a man serving sake

Even it was very busy from beginning to end, the staff members of each sake breweries were serving sake politely and elegantly. Each sake brewery had brought a few of their recommendation, the visitors enjoyed sake tasting and asking staff some questions.




There were some snacks which go well with sake, so the visitors could also enjoy them as well. Some of them felt very nice after having some cups of sake, and then they started chatting with people around them, even with strangers.


I would like to visit next time as a visitor and try different kinds of sake.


If you have a chance, how about visiting the new sake festival in Fukui City?




Fukui’s secret sake of a feudal lord with more than 400 years of history



There is a sake brewery “Aoki Ranjado”, which has run for more than 400 years quietly in Togo District, Fukui City. In fact, they produce medicated liquor “Ranja liquor” adding a dozen crude drugs. It is a secret sake handed down in a feudal lord, Asakura clan and even today, Aoki family continues to produce, from father to only child, by the same method.


Because we visited them to take a video last year, I always have the Ranja liquor ready at home. I have a capful before going to bed, when I felt tired or wanted to get a good sleep. The taste is similar to Kahlua. It’s good with a mellow sweetness. Although it was very cold and snowed heavily this winter, I didn’t catch a cold. Maybe it’s thanks to the Ranja liquor. Come to think of it, Ms. Aoki also said that she had the Ranja liquor like gargle when she had a slight cold and she recovered next morning.


By the way, don’t you think the word “Ranja” is difficult but unforgettable?
As Ms. Aoki told about that in the interview, “Ranja” is a genuine Japanese which is listed in the Kojien dictionary.
*Ranja – The scent of orchid and musk. Good smell. (From the Kojien)


Aoki Ranjado is located in a quiet environment centered nostalgic beautiful irrigation streams near Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins. If you visit Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins, why don’t you drop by? Mr. and Ms. Aoki will welcome you. You can buy their products at Seibu department store in Fukui City as well. (H.S)


Quaint entrance and surround of Aoki Ranjado


Inside. Its wall was hung with pictures of the old method of Ranja liquor


Ranja liquor and approx. quantity at one time


Here is the video when we visited.

Traditional Harvesting Rice Experience Part-3 -Arigato Project presented by Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation and its supporters-



As soon as the participants of "Arigato Project 2016" arrived at the rice field,

the farmer showed them how to harvest the rice plants safely. He repeated that they must be very careful not to cut themselves when reaping rice with sickles.


First, cut the bottom parts of rice plants with a sickle.
This looks simple and easy but it is not.

One must cut them from the right angle to cut them properly.


Second, one puts the two bunches of the cut rice plants as to resemble an alphabet “X”

and tie them with a string. This process is to dry the rice plants later.


And then, the farmer threshed the cut rice plants with a threshing machine.


Towards the end of the harvesting the rice plants, the farmer asked the participants for

riding the harvesting machine. Two of them volunteered. The machine was large and looked very powerful. As the farmer and the participants started driving in the large rice fields and harvesting them, so much of the rice plants were harvested right away which looked very exciting and interesting.


Because the farmer warned everyone at the beginning of the harvesting, no one was injured. However, because of the rain from a day before and early in the day, the rice field was soft which made it difficult for people to walk.


One of the Kokuryu staff fell holding the rice plants. The rice plants were not damaged at all but he got mud all over himself. What a kind person caring the rice plants rather than himself.

I am sure that there will be good and delicious sake completed with the caring!



From beginning to end, everyone concentrated on harvesting so they finished much earlier. They even got to harvest other areas of the rice fields that day.

They all looked relieved and had smiles on their faces after finishing the harvest.

They are looking forward receiving the completed sake next year.


Traditional Harvesting Rice Experience Part-2 -Arigato Project presented by Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation and its supporters -



On August 28th, 2016, early in the morning, the participants of Arigato Project started arriving at Ono City in Fukui Prefecture. All of the participants seemed that they were looking forward to that day. Some participants were wearing a pair of cute boots, nice hair clips and stylish T-shirts. There were also some participants holding large bags with towels and many other things. Everyone looked so ready to harvest them!

The president of Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation and a farmer of

the Arigato Project made speeches at the opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremony, everyone walked to the rice field.

There were two new members had just joined from that day

and everyone seemed to have higher enthusiasm.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Traditional Harvesting Rice Experience -Arigato Project presented by Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation and its supporters-



As a part of the activities of “Arigato Project”, (Arigato means thank you) the baby rice was planted in May of 2016 and it had become 1 meter tall four months after that.


The scenery of the rice field with the beautiful tall golden rice plants shows us that

it is the end of Japan’s hot summer and the beginning of the Japan’s autumn.

On August 28th, 2016, staff of Kokuryu brewery, authorized dealers of Kokuryu, “

Yushi-no-kai” and participants of “Arigato Project 2016” harvested the rice plants.


On that day, a large-scale typhoon was coming to Japan so the weather was unstable

and it was mizzling at the beginning. Kokuryu staff and authorized dealers were

running around to take care of the weather situation to be able to harvest the rice plants.

With their efforts and also it stopped raining, so they were able to harvest the rice plants.
Although the weather was not perfect for farming, it was perfect for the participants to harvest the rice plants in the cool and nice weather.


Stay tuned for more updates!