Calendar

【koyomi】

10 months of experiences that put you in tune
with the cultural and natural features behind sake

旅するように、地域文化を探究する。

Online classes featuring local artisans, cultural figures, and relevant artists who cultivate their area’s cultural and natural features will be provided once per month, so that you can count the months while monitoring the rice plants’ growth. While the course consists primarily of online activities, some in-person options are offered as well. We intend to continuously prepare activities such as tours of workshops and areas that are not normally accessible to the public.

Spring


The season when the water warms up and
rice gets planted is a prelude to the story of sake

  • May

    Religious rituals
    SHINJI

    Sake has deep ties to Japan's history, so much so that the topic of sake production appears in ancient documents such as “A Record of Ancient Matters” and “Chronicles of Japan.” Sake's roots allegedly trace back to “chewed sake,” which young female assistants in shrines produced by chewing rice. Ever since rice planting was passed along in the Yayoi era, sake has been an indispensable part of religious rituals as a sacred drink dedicated to the gods. We will explore the roots of the Japanese people by looking at the connections between sake and Shintoism.

    5月の旅について詳しく見る
  • June

    Agriculture
    NOGYO

    Sake begins with rice. Though sake and rice have not been as widely discussed as wine and wineries, today more and more brewing companies are beginning to get involved at the rice-making stage. That’s because being particular about how the rice is cultivated, fertilized, harvested, and milled leads to changes in the sake's flavor. We’ll visit a rice paddy and ask a young farmer who grows Yamada Nishiki, the sake rice used for “Saku,” about how sake is made in the Harima area.

Summer


During the Obon festival, the sound of prayers
resonates across vibrant green rice paddies

  • July

    Noh theater
    NOHGAKU

    Fukunishiki is the brewery that is making the sake for the first year of “ Saku.” In Kasai, where Fukunishiki has brewed sake for generations, Noh and “Kyogen” plays called “Kasai Noh” are performed every year on the subject of the “Record of the Cultural and Natural Features of Harima Province,” compiled more than 1,300 years ago, and the “Nehime Tradition,” a record of cultural and natural features and a legend of love in Kasai City. A look into sake’s historical ties to Noh theater may offer insight into sake-making as a part of traditional Japanese culture.

  • August

    Blacksmithing
    KAJI

    In the Heian era, when samurai warriors took center stage in Japanese politics against a backdrop of armed force, the job of armor-maker was born. From the Middle Ages until the start of the Edo era, things like armor-making and blacksmith techniques were finely honed during the Harima area, where rival barons from influential ruling families held various strongholds. Even now, there are some families who continue to pass down those techniques from the Heian era. Among those, we will visit an artisan who makes a living as a swordsmith, as well as a Harima blacksmith.

Fall


The products of golden, gleaming rice stalks,
each of these grains becomes sake’s lifeblood

  • September

    Art
    GEIJUTSU

    In art or paintings that are expressed through their creator’s sensibilities, the things the artist sees and hears, the earth and water, and their connections with people continue to have a significant impact on the art that is created. Nowadays, as management based on theoretical and rational decisions is reaching its limits, the world's top businesspeople are keen to hone their aesthetic awareness. In that context, we will explore the vision of artists associated with the Harima area and how the area's cultural and natural features influence it.

  • October

    Peasants
    HYAKUSHO

    The word hyakusho originally came from hyaku no namae or “100 names,” meaning someone who could do several different jobs. There are farming families who, as the name suggests, are born into a farming family, study art, and brew sake using only rice they harvest from their own rice paddies. That sake, called ichibo isshu, meaning “sake from a single paddy,” presents a new flavor that differs from the conventional sake-making style, which entails blending rice from several different rice paddies.

  • November

    Sake brewing
    SHUZO

    “Cultural and natural features and passion are what make sake,” says Fukunishiki Corporation president Takayuki Inaoka. When he took over from his father Koichiro, after thinking how he could contribute, he reportedly decided to focus on making sake exclusively with rice from his home city of Kasai. He got a designer from Kasai to design the label and used community-based funding to brew the sake, things he was uniquely poised to do as a local brewer, exemplifying sake-making that’s rooted in local cultural and natural features.

 

Winter


Yeast bubbling as it breathes in
the crisp chill of the morning air

  • December

    Calligraphy
    SHODO

    The history that is accessible to us began with the invention of writing. In Japan, calligraphy (shodo) is considered to have originated when people began copying sutras by hand upon the introduction of Buddhism in the Asuka era. Just as with traditions such as martial arts and the tea ceremony, calligraphy also has different styles, and historically, differences arose in the styles that are considered mainstream in western Japan and in eastern Japan. We’ll introduce a budding calligrapher from the Harima area as he talks about the link between culture and geography and calligraphy.

  • January

    Ceramics
    TOGEI

    Few alcoholic beverages are as closely linked to their drinking vessels as sake is, to the extent that some people say the fun of sake lies in the cups it's served in. There’s a saying that, “What goes best with native sake is ceramics made with native soil.” Perhaps that’s because both sake and ceramics are made from soil, water, and flames. We’ll learn about ceramic-making techniques that have been passed down in the Harima area and ways to enjoy the local soil, water, and living spaces, all from a craft potter who is committed to working in his local community.

  • February

    Cooking
    RYORI

    “Cultural and natural features and passion are what make sake,” says Fukunishiki Corporation president Takayuki Inaoka. When he took over from his father Koichiro, after thinking how he could contribute, he reportedly decided to focus on making sake exclusively with rice from his home city of Kasai. He got a designer from Kasai to design the label and used community-based funding to brew the sake, things he was uniquely poised to do as a local brewer, exemplifying sake-making that’s rooted in local cultural and natural features.

Travel starter kit

The kit for understanding Japan through sake is filled with exclusive items elaborately crafted just for “Saku.” Please use the kit however you like. For example, you might keep the towel in hand for the rice-planting experience. If you use the notebook to record your daily discoveries like you would in a journal, it may serve as a record of realizations and growth for yourself and those you love.

Experiences you can participate in either online or in person

Philosophy, art, religion, natural sciences... Through these original “Saku” experiences, you’ll encounter the local culture behind sake and discover the essence of Japan. While following along in real time the entire process from rice-planting to the sake's completion, you’ll explore local culture.

Others will be learning and traveling with you throughout the year

riends and colleagues are an indispensable part of visiting a place for the first time and learning new things. That's even truer when the finest sake is involved. “Saku” will bring together colleagues who will be learning and traveling together, both online and in person. We encourage you to join us, and enjoy a meaningful time together with colleagues brimming with curiosity and aspiration.

Sake you name yourself, delivered from the hometown of sake, Hyogo prefecture's Harima area

You’ll receive a total of eight bottles of sake divided into two shipments, one in spring and one in autumn, from Hyogo prefecture's Harima area, called the “hometown of sake.” After this sake arrives -- still nameless -- the moment when you look back over your 10 experiences and give it a name is a special experience in and of itself. Your own sake, the only one of its kind in the world.

English