Recently we went to Zen, a restaurant located on the 16th floor of the Next 21 building near the heart of Furumachi. Here, you can practice Zazen meditation and have breakfast fit for a monk in the morning and come back to have a Tanita Shokudo balanced meal for lunch.
The sake cup in the picture may look pretty shallow, but for two very special days in March, it’s as deep as the sea. That’s right, Sake no Jin is back, and on March 10th and 11th (Sat & Sun) anyone with an official cup can drown themselves in unlimited samples from nearly all 90 of Niigata’s sake breweries. Sake no Jin is the ultimate sake lover’s event, and busloads of sake drinkers come from around the nation to drink their fill.
The spotlight this time is on the Nakano House Museum-an absolutely gorgeous place that I am surprised even NEEDS the spotlight in the first place. Not only is it a photographer’s paradise (especially in the fall), but it holds so much history and art that it is definitely worth a visit (or three).
Main Entrance to the House and Museum
Bus stops behind the sign in front of the main entrance.
Come to learn how to fold origami this pretty!
The Niigata City International Exchange Foundation is offering a Japanese culture class for foreigners. The class will be taught in Japanese by Japanese people who do these activities as a hobby. However, I will be attending so English interpretation will be available for you so don’t be afraid to sign up!
Practicing how to write the kanji for happiness- which there will be an abundance of at this year`s event as well!
Every year, NCIEF offers various chances for cultural exchange and this is another one of them. During this 3 hour event, professionals and long time practitioners of the crafts will teach you about and be able to experience traditional Japanese tea ceremony, calligraphy, and origami.
Professionals will prepare for you a beautiful cup of tea. Won`t you join us?
This class is limited to 25 people so sign up before all of the spaces are filled!
Date: November 7th (Sat)
Place: Crosspal Niigata 2nd floor, lecture room 201
Fee: 500 yen
Number of People*: 25
*Reserve your spot via phone (025-225-2727) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have walked around Niigata City at all you have probably come across this sign at least a dozen times already:
This is Niigata City`s official logo marking it as a 2015 Culture City of East Asia. From the official site a Culture City of East Asia is described as thus:
“From among the cities in Japan, China, and Korea that are aiming to develop their ties through culture and the arts, one city in each country is chosen, each year and a variety of cultural and artistic events are held.
In this way mutual understanding within East Asia can be deepened, and the ability to internationally promote the diverse culture of the region is strengthened.
In addition, the cities chosen as Culture Cities of East Asia also aim to use the implementation of the project as an opportunity on a continuous basis by taking advantage of their distinguishing cultural characteristics in order to promote culture, the arts, creative industries, and tourism.”
As such a huge range of exhibitions and events have been held and there are more to come through the end of the year. On the English version of their website you can learn more about Niigata as a Culture City of East Asia, as well and search through their events.
Every year on the first night of the Niigata Matsuri thousands of citizens gather to dance in what is known as the “Minyo Nagashi.” Companies, organizations, and neighborhood associations make floats and organize themselves into groups along the length of Masaya-koji, stretching across the Bandai Bridge and extending toward Niigata Station.
Winter in Niigata, the land of sake, or Japanese “rice wine,” as the brew is often incorrectly termed. With over 90 sake breweries in the prefecture, and 15 located within the Niigata City limits, Niigata is not only the country’s largest per capita consumer of sake, but a well respected producer.
The bottle may be the most typical guide to the unadulterated world of sake, but the journey doesn’t need to stop there. This entry is about the Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery (est. 1767) free brewery tour, and some of what goes into the crystalline brew before it finds its way to your cup. (For details on how to participate in a tour, see the end of the post)
(A hand made glass bottle in an empty room at the Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery)