Grapes For Wine Now Being Picked at Shiojiri Station’s Platforms
Shiojiri is a city in central Nagano with a population of 67,000 (as of April 2020). As a tourist destination, it’s a place that goes under the radar, but it’s actually home to the best quality grapes for wine in Japan, and also boasts 17 wineries (as of April 2020).
Shiojiri is a place with many tourist attractions, such as the historical town of Narai-juku whose streets still echo the Edo Period, Kiso-Hirasawa lacquerware, the Hiraide ruins which are one of Japan’s three biggest ruins, Takabotchiyama which has become known for appearing in anime and Japanese drama series in recent years, the local dish “sanzokuyaki” (large fried chicken), and more.
In 1988, the city of Shiojiri began growing grapes at Shiojiri Station to promote the city’s grapes and wine. It has gone on to become famous as the only station in Japan with grape production. They grow Merlot and Niagara grapes.
The station encourages volunteers to help pick the grapes. The first picks of this year’s season began on May 29, and the efforts are being posted about on the city’s official social media accounts and website. The Merlot wine made from the grapes picked in August last year is also ready and will be posted about soon too.
Platforms 3 & 4
Shiojiri Tourism Association Official Website: https://tokimeguri.jp/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Collaborates with 252-year-old Tsujun Brewery for LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her major label debut, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is having a busy year. The artist will perform at this year’s Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the United States, and released her first full-length album in three years ‘Candy Racer’ in October 2021. On January 16, Kyary embarked on the largest tour of her career, ‘Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 10th ANNIVERSARY JAPAN TOUR 2022 CANDY WAVE,’ which will see the singer performing 30 shows across Japan. In conjunction with the nationwide tour, the “LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project” was launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities, and has been attracting major attention. After concluding her performance in Kumamoto on March 6, Kyary is now collaborating with a local business in the area.
In the center of Yamato, a city in Kumamoto, lies the Tsujun Bridge, an important cultural property. The local Tsujun Brewery derived its name from this landmark and has been in business for 252 years. A special collaboration logo has transformed the breweries logo into an homage to Kyary’s 2014 third original album, Pika Pika Fantajin. Commemorative T-shirts featuring the new logo are also on sale!
A special beverage inspired by Kyary is also available. Despite coming from a brewery, this amazake is alcohol-free!
While the beverage is branded with Kyary’s likeness, this particular Ama-no-Tamuzake Hotarumaru is a big seller for the brewery. Made from Kumamoto rice and purified at a nearby shrine, this sweet beverage is sure to lift your spirits, just like Kyary’s music. This drink is also more nutritious than other alcohol, containing no sugar or additives, and can be enjoyed by children. Each purchase also comes with an original shopping bag, making it the perfect souvenir!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project x Kumamoto Tsujun Collaboration Sake
Where to Buy:
Tuzyun Sake Online Shop
On Sale until April 6 at 23:59
Yamato Sake Retailers and other Kumamoto Prefecture Sake Retailers
Available: March 14 – April 6, 2022
Where to Buy:
LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project Online Shop
On Sale until March 17 at 23:59
Official Site: https://localpowerjapan.com
VTuber Group ‘Sake Boys’ Features Alcohol-inspired Talents, Holds Competition Between Members
08.March.2022 | ANIME&GAME
Sake Boys, a VTuber project that reimagines alcoholic beverages as cute virtual personalities, held a team competition on February 25, 2022. Information about the new male trainees has also been released! Those who did well during the competition will be recognized as fully-fledged Sake Boys.
[From Left: Kuro (Kensho Ono), Alfie (Ryo Muraoka), Rico (Daiki Kobayashi)]
Kuro, a cat who happens to be the God of Alcohol, leads this team. The feline always does things by the book, but the other members hope to improve their skills by taking on tons of new challenges!
(From Left: Yasaka (Sonosuke Hattori), Draft (Daisuke Mannami), Shiro (Toru Itoga), Shaoxing (Mizuki Chiba)]
Fellow God of Alcohol Shiro tends to do whatever he wants, and this team isn’t exactly what you’d call ‘cohesive.’ This group sticks together for the sake of music, as they often are in charge of music projects and singing videos.
[Left: Cassieh (Akira Orihara), Trights (Masaru Ino), Soubi (Norihito Hase), Chacha (Yu Mizushima)]
Led by God of Alcohol Chacha, this group is made up entirely of geniuses. With lovely voices, these boys are in charge of talk radio.
Sake Boys includes characters inspired by alcohol from around the world. These are the perfect VTubers to watch while enjoying a drink, and will keep you from feeling lonely or sad if you’re at home drinking alone! Personifying these characters has been a joy for this talented cast and aims to bring joy to those still having trouble with the current state of the world.
On the Sake Boys YouTube channel, viewers can enjoy the many unique talents of these 11 members, including singing, chatting, quiz shows, and cooking. As the name would suggest, they also explain the intricacies of brewing! Be sure to check it out!
© Imagineer Co., Ltd.
Sake Boys ‘Heavenly Tasting Challenge’
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0aN-lCr_sF1o3Zs-D4en8Q
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/sakedanshi_ch
Official Site: https://sakedanshi.jp/
March 4 – Cha-Cha Team Round 1 Assignment Due
March 8 – Kuro Team Round 1 Assignment Due
March 11 – Shiro Team Round 1 Assignment Due
March 13 – Exam
March 15 – Cha-Cha Team Round 2 Assignment Due
March 18 – Kuro Team Round 2 Assignment Due
March 22 – Shiro Team Round 2 Assignment Due
March 25 – Announcement of Exam Results
March 29 – Announcement of Heavenly Tasting Challenge Results
Aomori’s Be Easy Brewing and UNITED ARROWS Release Collaborative Craft Beer
UNITED ARROWS has released its first craft beer in collaboration with Be Easy Brewing, located in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. The brew is available at the UNITED ARROWS BOTTLE SHOP, which sells select alcoholic beverages from both Japan and abroad. ‘Apple Pie Ala Mode’ went on sale starting January 2 at the UA BAR on the first floor of the UNITED ARROWS Harajuku flagship store, H BEAUTY AND YOUTH, and the California General Store.
Be Easy Brewing offers a selection of unique and constantly changing beers using ingredients found in Aomori like apples, strawberries and Tsugaru rice. From IPAs to wheat ales, the company is always experimenting with different styles. This strange collaboration was born after UNITED ARROWS expressed a fascination with the high quality and incredible taste of Be Easy Brewing’s beers.
‘Apple Pie Ala Mode’ is a Berliner Weisse with a slightly sour taste combining apple juice, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Apple Pie Ala Mode
Price: ¥770 (Tax Included)
Where to Buy: UA BAR（UNITED ARROWS Bar Harajuku 1F), H BEAUTY AND YOUTH, California General Store
※The UA BAR will serve the beer on draft for a limited time.
※There will be no lottery for in-store sales. The beer will be available to purchase starting January 2, 2022.
※Available while supplies last.
Spend the Winter in a Unique Shinshu Snow Hut with Limited-Time Package
17.November.2021 | SPOT
A part of Hoshino Resorts, KAI Alps is an incredible hot spring inn located in Omachi, Nagano prefecture, at the foot of the Northern Japanese Alps. In February 2022, the hotel will allow guests to book the Shinshu Snow Hut Experience, where visitors can enjoy the winter in a traditional snow-packed hut surrounded by bamboo lights. This area is one of the snowiest places in the region, and the locals have plenty of knowledge when it comes to getting through the cold.
Nagano prefecture is often called the ‘Space prefecture’ for its beautiful starry skies. Inside the snow hut, guests will be surrounded by lights, and bamboo lanterns will light the way. These gentle lights are perfect for the white of winter, despite the cold.
Exclusively for this package, a kotatsu (heated table) will be placed inside the huts, and guests can wear traditional local clothing perfect for the weather. Sweet sake made at the Hokuan Sake Distillery in Omachi City and local rice cakes with Nozawa pickled greens, a Shinshu specialty, will also be served up.
How would you like to partake in this traditional experience?
Shinshu Snow Hut Experience
Running: February 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
Price: ¥2,000 per person (Tax & Service Charge included)
Reservations: Make on the website at least one week in advance
Capacity: 1 group per session (2-4 people per group)
Location: KAI Alps – Hoshino Resorts
Hours: 19:00-19:45 / 20:00-20:45
Limited to Hotel Guests Only
Popular SNS Character ‘Yosi Stamp’ Opens Pre-Orders for Limited Milk Liquor Collab
28.October.2021 | FOOD
Popular social media character ‘Yosi Stamp’ has collaborated with liquor store ‘KURAND’ to produce a limited edition drink. The ‘Yosi Stamp’s 100% Milk Liquor,’ which features a brand new ‘Yosi Stamp’ illustration on the label, will be available to pre-order for a limited time until November 7 at 17:00.
The natural milk liquor is free of preservatives, colorings, and additives, and comes with a unique illustrated label, where the rabbit and chick characters have been transformed into cows! For a limited time, customers will also receive a free ‘Yosi Stamp’ original glass, so be sure to nab it while you can.
Yosi Stamp’s 100% Milk Liquor
Availability: October 8 at 17:00 ~ November 7 2021 at 17:00
Delivery Period: Scheduled to start in late November
Retail Selling Price: ¥4,500 (Tax Incl.)
Bonus: Yosi Beads Original Glass
Official Site: http://yosistamp.co.jp/
Solo One-Day Hot Spring Plan Offers Complete Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Karuizawa
12.October.2021 | SPOT
Karuizawa Hoshino Area, a place known for bringing nature and culture lovers together, will be offering a new one-day hot spring spa plan from November 4, 2021, until March 19, 2022. This is the perfect way to unwind from the stresses of the past year while getting away from crowds and responsibilities. Because it’s only one day, it’s perfect for those who can’t take a long vacation, but who are still desperate for some relaxation! The package will include access to hot spring baths, body care, a choice of lunch and drinks, and plenty of skincare amenities.
Tonbo-no-Yu Hot Spring, open since the Taisho era, will serve as the main location for the getaway. The springs themselves are bicarbonate and chloride springs with soft and thick waters in which to achieve the perfect soak and detox. Getting out of the water will leave a veil of salt on your skin, moisturizing it and cleansing every inch of your body. The open-air bath is surrounded by trees, while the indoor baths offer excellent views through oversized windows.
Five Luxuries to Enjoy on the One-Day Getaway
[Power Up] Proper Bathing Instructions for the Best Hot Springs Experience
For those looking to maximize their hot spring experience, a comprehensive bathing guide will be provided to all guests, including breathing exercises and techniques for a great facial massage. The plan includes rental towers, and guests can feel free to enter the springs as many times as they like. At the reception desk, guests will also be given a bottle of Apple Vinegar Water to help them stay properly hydrated while soaking.
[New] Gentle Skin Care while Relaxing in the Spring
Those participating in the one-day plan will be given OSAJI amenities to use during their stay. The brand is made up of safe and organic products approved by dermatologists, to be applied before and after bathing.
[Power Up] Improve Gut Health with Healthy Beverages
When guests get out of the bath, a warm brown rice amazake will be waiting, shown to improve the intestinal environment and boost natural immunity. By using brown rice, the drink contains larger amounts of Vitamin E and dietary fiber than traditional amazake. This tasty drink will be served at Cafe Hungry Spot, adjacent to the springs.
Relieve Stiff Joints with Attentive Body Care
At Tokoyo, located within the Harunire Terrace in the Karuizawa Hoshino Area, guests will get a 30-minute body care treatment with their choice of foot massage or shoulder and neck massage. Unwind and let go of all of your stress.
Choose From Six Different Restaurants for Lunch
For lunch, six restaurants in the Hoshino area are at your beck and call, from Japanese cuisine to Italian. There’s no need to make reservations in advance; choose what you’re craving the day of, and don’t stress!
Solo One-Day Hot Spring Spa Plan
Running: November 4, 2021 – March 19, 2022 (Excluding Dec. 29 – Jan. 3 and Jan. 11 – 20)
Reservations: https://www.hoshino-area.jp (Reservations required by 18:00 the day before)
Location: Tonbo-no-Yu, Karuizawa, Nagano
Lottery Open to Snag ALIENS GALAXY 2021, a Sake That Traveled Through Space
05.October.2021 | FOOD
Want a bottle of sake that’s been to space? Liquor Innovation is opening a lottery through October 16 to snag a bottle of ALIENS GALAXY 2021, and as you would imagine the number of these items is extremely limited.
ALIENS GALAXY 2021 started brewing on October 1, 2005, also known as ‘Sake Day.’ Using Kochi-grown yeast and rice, this brew then spent ten days orbiting the Earth on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz. This is only the second year ALIENS GALAXY 2021 will be available, after an incredibly positive response in 2020. With a refreshingly light and dry taste, the sake is a great example of Kochi’s dry sake culture, and showing up to a party with this in hand is sure to have people talking!
ALIENS GALAXY 2021
Price: ¥7,800 (Tax Included)
Lottery Period: October 1, 17:00 – October 16, 12:00
Far Yeast Brewing Opens Branch in Taiwan’s East District, Serving Japanese Craft Beer
Far Yeast Brewing Co., Ltd., a craft beer maker that shares original Japanese beer with the world beer, will be opening their first directly managed overseas store in Taiwan. The Far Yeast Taiwan Craftbeer Gasteopub will be celebrating its grand opening in Taipei City, Taiwan on October 16 2021.
The Far Yeast Taiwan Craftbeer Gastropub is the fourth directly managed store following the Tokyo-Gotanda, Shizuoka-Atami, and Fukuoka branches, as well as the first overseas location.
The Far Yeast Taiwan Craftbeer Gastropub” will have 15 taps, offering not only the core brands Kawa KAGUA and Far Yeast, but also their special Japanese craft beer that can’t be found anywhere else in Taiwan. You can enjoy the beer alongside a selection of modern Japanese-themed meals.
Far Yeast Lychee Haze
To commemorate the opening, the company has brewed the Fruited Hazy IPA ‘Far Yeast Lychee Haze’ in collaboration with Taiwanese brewery UGLY HALF BEER, using Taiwanese lychee to flavor. The drink will be pre-released in Japan, available from September 30 with preorders opening from 13:00 on September 21.
The combination of Nelson Sauvin hops with a grape-like aroma and the tropical scent of the citrus and coconut Sabro hops compliment the gentle and sweet flavor of lychee, enticing all craft beer enthusiasts to Taipei.
Far Yeast Taiwan Craftbeer Gastropub is expected to have an international customer base, as the gastropub is located in Taipei’s East District, an area with a high population of foreign nationals and business people. Now that overseas travel has become much harder, the new branch will allow customers to enjoy the varied tastes of Japanese craft beer and the richness of Japanese food.
Far Yeast Taiwan Craftbeer Gastropub 源流台灣精釀啤酒餐酒館
Address: No. 322, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City,Taiwan 106
Access: A four minute walk from Taipei Metro (MRT) Bannan Line’s Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station
Opening Hours: 11:30 ~ 14:30 (LO 14:00)
17:30 ~ 24:00 (LO 23:30)
*Opening hours subject to change
Far Yeast Lychee Haze
Sales Start Date: September 30 2021
Retail Price: Subject to retailer
Purchase Online: https://faryeast.stores.jp/
The Westin Tokyo Hotel to Offer Premium Autumn Parfaits for Limited Time
05.September.2021 | FOOD
Three delicious desserts are coming to The Westin Tokyo for a limited time! Beginning October 1, visitors to the hotel can enjoy a collection of premium parfaits filled with seasonal ingredients and western liquors unique to the executive bar, simply named The Bar. These will be available until November 28, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday nights only.
Chocolate Parfait with Figs and Red Berries
Chestnut and Apple Parfait
Chestnut and Hazelnut Mont Blanc Parfait
The chocolate parfait includes whole figs and bright red berries, and is finished with rich port. Calvados was added to the Chestnut and Apple Parfait, allowing guests to enjoy a refreshing combination of nuts, fruits, and mascarpone. The Mont Blanc Parfait includes a fragrant rum from Martinique, and has a richer dessert flavor.
The executive pastry chef carefully layers each parfait by hand, and these unique treats combining flavors of both east and west can only be found at The Westin Tokyo!
Premium Autumn Parfait
Available: October 1 – November 28, 2021 (Only available Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays)
Price: ¥3,000 each (Tax and Service Charge Included)
Location: Executive Bar “The Bar” (1F)
Suntory’s Flagship Single Malt Whisky ‘Yamazaki’ Gets Limited-Edition Bottle
17.January.2021 | FOOD
Suntory has announced the release of a special edition of its single malt whisky, Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021, which will be released in Japan in limited quantities from May 25, 2021.
The whisky comes from Japan’s first and oldest malt distillery, multi-layered with fruit and Mizunara aromas. It is rich in Japanese nature and craftsmanship and has gone on to become one of the most popular whiskies in Japan for its delicate flavour. The prestige of the drink has also led it to be praised by whisky lovers around the world. The malt is carefully aged over the years and throughout the four seasons in its casks.
The new limited-edition version has been prepared in new Mizunara malt casks and is perfect as a gift. It’s also limited in stock making it a rare must-grab for drinkers of the brand.
Japanese Sake Brand SAKE HUNDRED Launches Overseas Sales
07.January.2021 | FOOD
SAKE HUNDRED, a sake brand managed by Japanese sake company Clear, began exporting its products overseas in December 2020. Currently, the brand is available in Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong, with plans to expand to other areas in the future as well as into restaurants and via overseas e-commerce websites.
UAE | Dubai
Zuma Dubai is a restaurant located in the international financial centre of Dubai, at the heart of the city. Diners can enjoy contemporary Japanese cuisine in the vicinity of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. It’s a sophisticated restaurant visited by many celebrities and wealthy people. The restaurant’s sommelier, Ryuji Hamada, personally chose SAKE HUNDRED for the restaurant.
Zuma Dubai: https://zumarestaurant.com/locations/dubai/
Whistler established itself in 1999 in an effort to prove alcoholic beverages from Japan for consumers to enjoy in Singapore. SAKE HUNDRED has been made available via the company’s official online shop with plans not only to sell the beverages but to feature them in local restaurants and at pairing events.
Whistler Wine & Spirits: https://whistler.com.sg/
SAKE HUNDRED is now available in-store and on the official website of LIQUID GOLD, a luxury alcohol store situated in the business district and financial centre of Hong Kong with skyscrapers towering up into a million dollar view of the night sky.
LIQUID GOLD: https://www.liquidgold.com.hk
The USA is the biggest importer of Japanese alcohol. SAKE HUNDRED plans to take its stock to major cities across the country such as New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, and more. It will subsequently branch out to the UK, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.
Official Website: https://sake100.com/
The North Face and ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon to Co-Develop Mountain Resort
14.November.2020 | SPOT
The North Face is set to collaborate with ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, which opened in Nagano’s city of Omachi in July, to develop a new mountain resort where guests can enjoy outdoor activities. The first part of the collaboration will see activities offered which have been made under the supervision of athletes contracted to The North Face. The activities will make full use of Omachi’s gorgeous natural environment which is surrounded by stunning mountains.
The North Face has had a high affiliation with this region for a long time. The brand created an original uniform for the staff that work along Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a 37km mountain sightseeing route. It also opened the outdoor clothing and equipment shop The North Face Gravity in Hakuba.
ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, too, embraces the outdoors of this region as it sits embedded within the lush natural landscape of Omachi. It hails as one of Japan’s best mountain resorts which offers guests the chance a sojourn amongst nature. One of the brand’s concepts is cultivating real human communication which it offers through its hospitable service, aiming to increase the number of smiles to those who visit.
The North Face x ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon
The collaboration will see the two companies coming together to serve up a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year to encourage more families to spend time outside. The hotel will offer equipment that can be used for the activities, and there’ll also be workshops for people to create their own items that can also be used. They will also work to increase sustainability with local businesses and groups in Omachi in an effort to revitalise the local region.
The hotel is also offering a workation plan for guests to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city to work somewhere more quiet and peaceful. The plan takes into account well-being and is a way for people to up their creativity and motivation. Guests can work and relax at the same time with Wi-Fi and electrical outlets available as well as off-work treats like the open-air baths, spa, gym, and more. The hotel will also offer other plans this winter which include snow biking, family skiing, and more.