Around this time last year Enroute Magazine, Air Canada’s stellar inflight mag got in touch with me to shoot one of my favorite stories of the year – sake brewing in three different prefectures in Japan.
The first city was a real treat – Tendo city in Yamagata, which is home of Dewazakura and Mitobe sake, both very famous but operating on vastly different scales. The combination of snow and steam from the rice and hot water made for some of my favorite sake brewing photographs ever, and I’ve photographed a lot of breweries!
The next city was Nagoya, a major city in Japan but also home to some of the best breweries in the country. The first stop was Kuheiji Sake Brewery, whose owner believes in the idea that terroir has a great influence over the taste of sake, much like wine. He is also trying barrel-aged sake as a way of introducing something new to the market.
Next in Nagoya we went to the absolutely magnificent Marutani sake bar and restaurant- a real hidden gem in a beautiful neighborhood. This place should be a must on your list if you’re in Nagoya and like great food and great sake. The restaurant is run by the Marutani sake brewery in the hills of Aichi prefecture, and you’ll be able to sample their wide range of delicious sake there.
Lastly we went to Gunma prefecture, home of Mizubasho, which is a sparkling sake that gets its bubbles from natural fermentation. There’s an absolutely wonderful park in the town of Kawaba where the brewery is located, where you can shop local organic produce, have a barbecue, go blueberry picking, and of course drink some of the very exquisite sake they brew there!