I was in a sake brewery. I had seen the word of “Ikuji” many times on my way to the place, and the man standing in front me was also wearing a coat on which the same word was printed. I was curious about it.
There was an interesting tour visiting around Chita Peninsula on November 16. The participants looked on a Japanese sake brewery, tasted many kinds of sake there, went to an agricultural establishment, studied about vegetables produced in the area and had a healthy lunch set made from some of the products there, and then visited a temple related to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had established the Edo Shogunate. Actually, the tour was guided in English. I took part in it with some of my friends.
The man I asked is the president of the brewery named Harada Shuzo in Higashiura. He introduced an interesting episode: Long time ago, when Prince Yamatotakeru passed by this area, he got thirsty and he drove an arrow into the ground. Then water started gushing. Local people still use the spring and the well is called Ikuji. Nowadays no one knows the derivation of the name.
His brewery also uses the water and sells sake named Ikuji. The place is suitable for sake making because of the climate and good quality of water.
The building was filled with sweet sake flavor. The participants were able to look into a big tank in which sake was fermenting and to taste many kinds of sake. Interestingly, they have collaborated with Meijo University for creating new sake with yeast from carnations. The carnation sake was sweet and smelt like flowers. Actually, the university has also made ice cream from the sake lees. You can try it in a cafeteria of the collage.
Next we headed to an agricultural establishment in Obu for lunch half drunk. The place is called “Genki-no-sato” with many facilities, such as a farmers’ market, a spa, a bakery, and lots of cafeterias and so on. We went to a restaurant named “Dan-ran-tei”, where a man was waiting for us. He was a kind of vegetable geek… According to him, he can keep on talking about just tomatoes at least three hours…
We enjoyed the meal, hearing his lecture on vegetables. All of the foods were made from vegetables produced in the area: boiled sweet potatoes with tangerines, boiled crams and daikon- radish leaves, boiled garland chrysanthemums, boiled mushrooms with ginger roots, crabs with vinaigrette, grilled salmon with beans paste, fuki or boiled giant rhubarb with soy sauce, steamed egg custard, fried mushrooms, tomato-nabe (fish, crams, mushrooms, Chinese cabbages, garland chrysanthemums, tomatoes, and leeks), and sushi (shrimp, sea eel, fig, bell pepper, wasabi leaf)…Those were delicious!
After lunch, each of the participants spent free time there for a while. For example, I went to the farmers’ market and bought some fresh vegetables, dropped in the fish shop and the bakery, and bought some foods in the souvenir store. Then all of us head over to a temple named “Uchu-zan Kenkon-in”. Uchu means cosmos or space. Strange name…
This temple was built in the 15th Century and is related to the mother of one of the most famous feudal lords, Tokugawa Ieyasu. She was from a powerful family, the Mizunos. The temple was located southwest of a castle of the family. Both of “ken” and “kon” mean southwest, and “kenkon” means massive universe. That’s why, the temple has the name of cosmos or space as well.
Delicious sake and food, interesting stories, sites, and people…I had a wonderful time!