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Tradition and Nature Combine to Produce Mie Prefecture’s Unique Undersea Aged Sake in Japan

Located in Japan’s stunning southern Shima Peninsula of sixty floating islands, Ago Bay is the site for an ingenious project of ripening sake underwater to take advantage of the sea’s constant temperate and environment. The first vintage of 150 bottles of "Hanzo Special Junmaishu" from Ota Sake Brewery were sunk to the bottom of the bay at a depth of 20 to 25 meters, famed for their nearby pearl farms. Six months after being submerged, the product was analyzed and found to have a smooth and mellow taste. The ageing process is still ongoing.

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Tradition and nature combine to produce Mie Prefecture’s unique Undersea Aged Sake in Japan (Photo: Business Wire)

One of the founders of the project Mr. Nishida of Ise Shima Tourism, said, “We started the Undersea Aged Sake project to support pearl farmers at a time when pearl larvae were experiencing extinction and because we wanted to connect local products like sake to our coastal environment and our community of pearl farmers so that international travelers can have a taste of our famous sake manufacturing process. Not only does this promote much-needed tourism to our region, but it fosters a partnership between the pearl farmers, liquor producers and fisherman, creating a sense of ownership and participation.”

As well as Ise-Shima's sensational seafood, the Mie Prefecture is blessed with perfect weather and soil conditions for brewing sake which is why it has 34 different sake breweries, each with a taste unique to its particular region. Of the eight million gods the Japanese are said to possess, the “Misakado no Kami” (god of sake) is enshrined in Ise Jingu, and the locals offer rice malt to the god to pray for the prosperity of the brewing industry.

The Mie Prefecture has been a destination for people from all over the country since ancient times, lying as it does at the intersection of the culture of food, art, and industry with people. Mie’s sake brewing values its traditional origins and is constantly renewing and improving them. "Undersea Aged Sake Project" was born from this spirit.

Mr. Nishida notes, “Local fishermen and farmers dedicate harvests in Shinto rituals to show their gratitude. I think Ise-Shima's seafood and its sake stand out because they have been consumed throughout our people and history. I hope this will attract international travelers to experience our region's traditions, nature, and beauty”.

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