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Hanging cedar orb signals arrival of seasonal sake

20 1 29
11.12.2018

When sake brewers start the "shikomi" (mashing) process for the season's new sake, they hang a green orb, called "sugidama" or "sakabayashi," under the eaves of their buildings.

These days, it can be seen at some "izakaya" Japanese-style pubs.

How is it made?

In the Gifu Prefecture city of Gero, Masatoshi Kumazaki, 69, and his 39-year-old son, Sota, run a forestry business that has been in their family for generations. They make sugidama at their craft workshop named Takabayashi, where shipping is now at the peak.

"In the past, every sake brewery made their own sugidama," said Kumazaki. "But a local brewery ordered one from us around 30 years ago, and that's how our workshop started. Lately, orders........

© The Asahi Shimbun