Gifu Breweries Aim To Reach Foreign Markets With Special Sake

Gifu breweries aim to reach foreign markets with special sakeBorrowing from the Beaujolais Nouveau tradition in France, six sake breweries here always release a special batch of rice wine to ring in the new year.
But in a special twist on the annual event this year, the sake breweries were seeking to attract foreign visitors.

The festivities kicked off Jan. 13 at the Hirata Sake Brewery with travelers from as far away as Britain and Australia sampling this year's brew.

The Sake Brewery Tour is hosted by the Hida-Takayama Tourism and Convention Bureau.

At the opening event to get things going, Yasunori Hori, the chairman of the bureau, said, "With sake now known throughout the world, we want to use this occasion to further share the wonders of this special tipple."

Helping to welcome foreign tourists to the day's event was Rio Harada, 26, who was chosen this year's Miss Sake Gifu representative.

The daily tour of Hirata Sake Brewery will continue until Jan. 19 and will be followed by similar tours over five weeks of five other breweries--Harada Sake Brewery; Kawashiri Sake Brewery; Niki Sake Brewery; Hirase Sake Brewery and Funasaka Sake Brewery.

All the breweries are located within a 15- to 20-minute walk from JR Takayama Station. Admission is free.

Visitors can sample the offerings at the end of the tour. This year marks the 43rd edition of the event.

Further information is available at the Takayama tourism website at (