The Niigata Sake no Jin is an annual festival held in Niigata City to celebrate the region’s famous Japanese sake. Niigata is popularly held to be the best rice in Japan, and since sake is made from rice, Niigata gets the Best Sake badge by default as well. As a sake lover, this is one awesome festival!
Last year we weren’t able to go because the day before was the Tohoku Earthquake. Even if we had wanted to go after that horrific event, the shinkansen were shut down and the festival cancelled. Because of that, we were anticipating a crowd for this year’s, but the reality was more people came than we had even imagined. It was AMAZINGLY crowded, and nowhere near as enjoyable as the last time we went, unfortunately. We will have to see about going to next year’s. But anyway, some pictures!
We took a mid-morning Shinkansen from Takasaki to Niigata City
Sampling some, and a super cute yuki-daruma shaped sake bottle! The tastings were really stingy this year… I think the sake venders were concerned about running out. That plus the million people made us decide really early to just buy a bottle and sit down somewhere
We finally found some people leaving (they actually called us over, how nice of them!) and sat down at a table of people who we, of course, immediately began talking and drinking with! I love meeting new people 😀
(All pictures up to this point have been Kenji’s, btw). The next day we decided not to go back to the festival, and instead explore a little of the area. We decided to head to a tiny town called Yahiko at the end of the train line, since it looked like it had some interesting temples and shrines.
Local trains… far cry from the shinkansen!