Events in Japan have long had deep ties with enjoyment of alcohol.
The experience that gathering around delicious food and gazing at cherry blossoms with a drink provides is a staple of cherry blossom viewing, an event synonymous with spring. Alcohol is a requirement for summer events, too. Festivals go without saying, but people even watch fireworks while enjoying alcohol in Japan.
It’s in this way that alcohol can be enjoyed alongside seasonal events in Japan and it’s so vital to seasonal events that there are some people who look forward to enjoying their alcohol more than the event itself.
So, we’d like to introduce a number of popular events in Japan that you can enjoy with alcohol, like cherry blossom viewing, festivals and fireworks.
We recommend sake if you want to get into the spirit when viewing cherry blossoms in spring
Cherry blossom viewing is one of the more popular spring events in Japan. Nothing really compares to the drinking experience that comes from sitting with good friends and good food under cherry blossom trees that are in full bloom. There are people who start drinking from mid-day and some hold parties as corporate events. Regardless of age, it’s one of the biggest events in spring.
At cherry blossom viewing parties in recent years, a wide variety of alcohol is consumed like beer, sake and shochu. However, if you really want to get in the cherry blossom viewing spirit, we recommend sake. The sake bottle and the Japanese-style label fit well with the surrounding cherry blossoms. Every now and then, you might even have a cherry blossom petal fall into your drink. When that pink petal happens to be floating in a glass of sake, it’s exemplary of spring in Japan and it makes a picture worth a thousand words.
The sake we particularly recommend for cherry blossom viewing is junmaishu, made with simple ingredients like rice, rice malt and water. It’s refreshing and easy to drink, pairing nicely with a wide variety of food, ranging from bland food to fried food and food with heavier flavors.
You can drink junmaishu at room temperature, so you don’t need ice or a cooler, cutting down on things you need to carry.
Festival sake is special! The reason why sake is vital to festivals
Alcohol is vital to the festivals held all over the country in summer. Beer is popular at the food stands that line festivals, but sake will let you experience the atmosphere of traditional festivals.
There’s a reason to drink sake at festivals beyond simple enjoyment. Particularly in festivals that are held as Shinto events at places like shrines, sake carries an important significance.
In Japan, sake is the highest order of offering that can be presented to the gods. At events like festivals, there is a ceremony where this sake is offered to gods and humans can partake of something gods have imbibed. Partaking of the same alcohol as the gods brings people closer to them, raising the likelihood that their prayers will be answered.
Normal people can’t drink the sake that is offered to gods at festivals. In a very broad sense, it’s thought that the alcohol consumed during festivals is that which the gods are drinking.
Alcohol can be enjoyed casually with fireworks! What’s popular?
Fireworks are as popular as festivals in summer. Compared to festivals, fireworks don’t have as long a history, so a more casual drinking experience can be enjoyed.
Just like with festivals, fireworks competitions have food stands lined up. Amid the mid-summer heat, eating street food while sipping on a cold one or your favorite drink, watching fireworks pop off in the night sky is an incredibly popular summer event.
We recommend sake for seasonal events like cherry blossom viewing and festivals. Sake can be enjoyed at room temperature, it pairs well with a wide variety of foods and it plays an important part in a wide variety of events.
Sake has been loved by the Japanese from long ago and is used for offerings to the gods and ceremonies, so it suits events exemplary of Japan. If you want to experience Japan’s seasonal events, you’ll be able to enjoy the atmosphere even more if you experience them with sake.