It is their first visit to Saku.

Kou& Shou (Bloggers in their 30s)
Here they report on their experiences,
accompanying their reports with a lot of pictures.

It is their first visit to Saku.

Kou& Shou (Bloggers in their 30s)
Here they report on their experiences,
accompanying their reports with a lot of pictures.

Shinkai Sansha Shrine

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Day273 x film attraction pilgrimage
Today we have come to a shrine that is said to be in a scene from a renowned film 4 years ago.
Because it is such a cryptic little scenic spot, there are currently almost no tourists here.
Does anyone know where it is? (laugh)
Tip: It’s an animated movie

First day of the tour(Shinkai Sansha Shrine, Teijoji Temple, Big Ben, Kitsukura Sake Brewery, Saku Hotel)

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Day273 x The sacred location of “Your Name” – First day at Saku, Nagano
I don’t expect anyone to have correctly guessed this morning’s photo. (laugh)
Today and tomorrow, we are in Saku, Nagano, one of the sacred locations of “Your Name”.
The Shinkai Sansha Shrine (abbreviated to Shinkai Shrine) in Saku is said to be the scene in “Your Name” where the heroine, Mitsuha, dances the Kagura dance.
The scene in the story is the stage where the heroine, after finishing the Kagura dance, puts rice in her mouth and chews it into a “chewing liquor”. That place is said to be the Shinkai Shrine.
But it really isn’t a tourist attraction. So when we got here, the stage is covered by a curtain. It is a bit of a pity that I don’t even recognize it as the scene from the movie.
This is an experiential tour where we must take part in being revitalized by the location. Experiencing meditation at Teishoji Temple early in the morning is said to be the strictest rigmarole. The head abbot not only explains many things about meditation to us, he also lets us experience being beaten by a board when we almost fell asleep. (cry)
At noon, we go to Big Ben, a local western restaurant, to eat Saku’s famous “roasted half chicken set meal”. As soon as you tear the chicken legs apart, the soup flow right out. What’s more, the price is as low as 1,400 yen. It’s big in size, small in price and completely delicious.
In the afternoon, we visit the Kitsukura Sake Brewery to inspect the wine brewery. In addition to gaining an understanding of how Japanese sake is made, we have also experienced the rice pre-wash process and so on.
For dinner, we go to the Saku Hotel, which has a history of more than 400 years. It is a very atmospheric restaurant. The hotel interior is absolutely stunning and looks just like a Japanese garden.
Saku is famous for making Japanese sake. We have been offered many Japanese sake tasting at the Kitsukura Sake Brewery and Saku Hotel.
Although the two of us don’t usually drink much wine, the Japanese sake here tastes quite sweet and is very delectable.
Tomorrow we have another full day ahead with various itinerary events to experience. If you have a chance, turn on the live broadcast and have a look.

Kitsukura Sake Brewery

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Day 274 x Japanese wine making experience
Bright and early this morning, we visit the Kitsukura Sake Brewery to experience the process of making sweet wine. The first thing I do is evenly spread out the rice I washed yesterday and use a large steam machine to steam the rice.
After that, we move the fermented rice fungus out of the fermentation room and spread it out evenly. Because there are a lot of rice fungus, once we have move everything, the rice has already finished steaming.
We quickly move the steamed rice out of a wooden barrel to cool it, then move it into the fermentation room and sprinkle it with yeast, and wait for the fermentation.
In order to prevent other bacteria from being mixed into the rice, when sprinkling the yeasts, we are not allowed to move or talk during the waiting time, and must quietly wait for the yeast to settle.
After 5 minutes of precipitation, we mix the rice and yeast, spread it evenly and sprinkle the yeast again, and repeat 3 times.
Although I have visited the Awamori Brewery in Okinawa before, they are mostly operated by machines. It is quite rare to see a traditional brewing process being retained as it is in Saku.

Nigiri Sushi Experience & Inari Shrine

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Day 274 x Nigiri Sushi Experience & Inari Shrine
After experiencing the process of making Japanese sake this morning, at noon we visit Saku’s Japanese restaurant Remon, where we savor Japanese sake with a variety of Japanese dishes.
I mentioned yesterday that Saku is renowned for its Japanese sake production, so Remon’s cuisine is also tailored to its compatibility with sake.
We don’t usually drink wine, so merely enjoying the delicious food is enough for non-drinkers like us.
After lunch, we go to experience the Japanese style of making sushi. When we do the rolling, we must pay attention to the many small corners, otherwise the shape will easily collapse. It is no less difficult than I have imagined. (laugh)
After eating and drinking, we visit Inari Shrine to worship. When the name Inari Shrine is mentioned, many people think of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. After all, it is the most famous one. In actual fact, however, there are Inari Shrines throughout Japan. Saku also has one where the local citizens can come to worship.
There is a rocket-shaped building above the Inari Shrine. After asking our guide, we find out that Saku is known as “the closest place in Japan to the universe”.
Why is that?
It’s because Saku has excellent weather throughout the year, and the sky is not very cloudy. It is very suitable for communications with artificial satellites. Therefore, Japan’s space agency JAXA has chosen to set up a transmitter on Saku to remotely control the artificial satellites.
On the other hand, because Saku is a relatively rural location, with minimal light damage and fine weather, it is easy to see the starry sky, which is quite suitable for people who like to watch the night sky.
Finally, is anyone familiar with the manga “Fist of the North Star”? The author of “Fist of the North Star” is a Saku-born mangaka. Therefore, there are 7 “Fist of the North Star” gutter covers near Sakuhei Station.
If you are a “North Star” fan, be sure to check it out. (laugh)

Souvenir(Amacha), Saku hotel

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Day 275 x Amacha(Sweet Tea)
One of the biggest gains from visiting Saku, Nagano a few days ago is the discovery of a marvelous tea called Amacha.

Amacha is pronounced “Amacha” in Japanese, and the Chinese character for “Ama” can also be written as sweet. Ordinarily, it is written as sweet tea in Chinese characters. Only specially certified sweet tea can be called Heavenly Tea.
Amacha is a tea made by a special fermentation method. Generally, the tea is slightly sweet when you drink it. Amacha is so sweet that one wonders whether sugar has been added, which is quite amazing.
Amacha is rarely available in the general market. Only a few regions produce it. Saku Nagano is one of those places.
The next stop from Tokyo to Karuizawa via Shinkansen is Sakudaira Station, which is quite convenient!

Amazake-Kitsukura Sake Brewery

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Day276 x Amazake
“Amazake” is one of Japan’s representative alcoholic beverages. Since ancient times, it has been used as a health drink in Japan. It is often seen in shrines during special festivals such as the Lunar New Year.
As its name suggests, “Amazake” means a sweet wine. It is different from ordinary wines. It has almost no taste. Many Amazake are have no alcoholic content. Unlike ordinary wine, which has a clear color, it comes as a thick white liquid. (Keep your thoughts clean)
The first time I drank liquor was during the New Year’s worship in Putinmangu, Okinawa. At that time, there would be many shrine maidens carrying liquor for worshippers to drink. When I heard at the time that it has no alcohol content, I said I wanted to try it. I found it unexpectedly delicious.
On this current visit to Saku Nagano and this Japanese sake experience tour, non-drinkers like us are of course going to recommend the Amazake.
In general, Amazake is mostly white and thick. But the Amazake made by Kitsukura Sake Brewery contains traces of rice grains. It is a type of grained Amaazke. Its taste is also quite nice. Before leaving, I bought a large bottle to enjoy at home.
If you are like us and not big drinkers, you can try this non-alcoholic liquor. It tastes even better when it is chilled!

Nigiri Sushi Experience & Shinshu salmon

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Day278 x Shinshu salmon
There are local specialties in different places all over Japan. The most commonly known is the renowned Wagyu 〇〇 beef of various places.
Shinshu salmon is one of Nagano’s famous products and is renowned for its rich meat. It is used as a brand fish in many places in Japan.
On our current visit to Saku Nagano, we have learned how to make sushi. The master showed us a complete sea bream and Shinshu salmon and explained the characteristics of a Shinshu salmon, which gave us a shock.
Shinshu salmon is made by mating two different types of improved salmon. On account of its improved variety, Shinshu salmon does not have a male and female, and is a fish that cannot reproduce.
For this reason, the regulations on breeding are quite strict, and living fish cannot be casually placed in nature or other counties.
Although it sounds a bit scary, Shinshu salmon is very popular with restaurants because it has fewer internal organs and is rich in meat.
At the end of the experience, the master cut the Shinshu salmon on the spot and showed us how it looks like inside. If you have an opportunity to come to Nagano, you should try the Shinshu salmon.

Inari Shrine

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Day280 x Saku Inari Shrine
On my days off I don’t go out of the house anymore. I stay home and organize my articles and photos so that I don’t run out of face masks.
Last Saturday, I went to visit the Inari Shrine in Saku, Nagano. Among the many Inari Shrines in Japan, the most famous is Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
The Inari Shrine in Saku is mostly visited by local people. The Shrine is located on a slightly raised hillside. It is very suitable for jogging citizens to stop and worship.
Beside the main hall of the Inari Shrine, there are many statues of foxes symbolizing the god of Inari. In photos, they create quite an imposing atmosphere.

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