Event – Hatsumomiji Sake Festival

Shunan city sake brewery Hatsumomiji Shuzo, makers of popular brand Harada, held a small festival on November 16th and 17th to celebrate their 200th anniversary. Since I’m a fan of not only their sake, but the brewery staff as well (I’ve toured it twice and have met many of them several times at events), I figured I had to go. The fact that they were selling special bottles limited to 200 each really sealed the deal.

A sign depicting Hatumomiji’s original eponymous label.

I went Saturday morning to ensure I got the limited editions. One was a tobingakoi junmai ginjo in special bail-top bottles, which the toji was filling AT THE TABLE from a tobin. The other was a junmai daiginjo in a special serial-numbered bottle and wooden box. Yes, they were expensive. No, I don’t care.

The brewmaster filling bottles from a glass tank
Harada Toji is filling bottles directly from a tobin, the glass tank on the right, for immediate sale.
Right: Junmai Ginjo Tobingakoi limited edition.
Left: Junmai Daiginjo Genshu Limited Edition w/ Serial Number

The event kicked off with a kagami biraki, when VIPs use wooden mallets to break the lid of a specially prepared keg of sake. This sake was then sold in special masu drinking boxes to attendees. I was planning to drive later in the day, so sadly I couldn’t partake. But it sure did look good…

Kagami Biraki Money Shot
Filling wooden masu from the keg.

The event also offered snacks, soft drinks (including Harada Junmai Amazake), and games for the kids. They also had a drawing/bingo game which you could enter by exchanging stamp cards for bingo cards. You earned stamps with every 200 yen purchase, and ten stamps got you a bingo card. I got 4 bingo cards…

And I’m glad I did! Because one of my bingo cards hit a bingo, and that earned me a chance to draw a prize slip, which turned out to be a bottle of Harada Junmai Ginjo Reiwa Hatsushibori. Yay! So much sake!

Harada Junmai Ginjo Funashibori Reiwa Hatsushibori

The event really was fun. I ran into familiar faces (who were all pretty raucous for a Saturday morning in a residential area, honestly) and got to see some history of this local favorite. And I also got a totally neat commemorative Tenugui towel just for showing up!

It’s the perfect sake backdrop!

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