Yamagata Sake

One of the primary forces currently driving the positive state of affairs in the sake world is the emergence of young brewers. The transition from an era in which those who actually brewed sake were farmers who had no work in the winter months and therefore worked for sake breweries only during that time period…

Sake of the South

People have long said that the warm climate of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four major islands, is not suitable for making sake, and it is therefore predominantly a shochu-producing region. Geographically, the island of Kyushu can be roughly split into north and south along the prefectural border of Miyazaki and Oita, with that line…

Tsuruoka

Mount Haguro is a holy place of such atmospheric dimensions with its towering, 600-year-old cryptomeria that one might imagine–or just as easily believe–the spirits of the mountain are quietly watching all who pass through their wooded realm. There are plenty of believers on the 2466 stone steps leading to the top. Some are travelers who…

Traipsing Through Tochigi

Nikkô, whose shrines and temples earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999, has greater name recognition than the prefecture of Tochigi which it calls home. It’s similar to how more people around the world are more familiar with, say, Chicago than Illinois, or Sydney than New South Wales. Such is the nature of iconic locales.…