Located right in the center of Japan, Nagano Prefecture is surrounded by land, and the mountain range, which soars as high as 2,000 – 3,000 meters, runs down north to south. Saku City in the eastern part of Nagano is known for its koi fish farming. The Chikuma river’s serene water is perfect for the production of rice and koi fish farming. Back in the day, farmers used to farm koi fish in the rice paddies while growing rice. These days, koi fish farming is done in farming facilities. The koi fish around the area is called Saku-Goi. The meat is dense with just the right amount of fat, and yet it has no distinctive smell of the koi fish. Some of the popular Saku Goi dishes are Arai, which is koi fish filleted and sliced, then soaked in ice water to remove the smell, Umani, a soy and sugar-simmered dish, or Koi Koku, which is also simmered but with miso. Koi fish is quite nutritious and it pairs well with Sake, the Japanese rice wine.
Located in the Chubu region, Nagano Prefecture is landlocked and mountains as high as 2,000 – 3,000 run through the region from north to south. Japan is unique in the sense that Sake is made all over the country and each region has its own renowned brand of Sake. Particularly, Nagano is known for its many distilleries. Sakudaira in Saku city, located in the upper reaches of the Chikuma river, is known for its production of rice. For over 350 years, the area has been making sake and developing new ways to grow rice suited for sake making. Saku city has a cold climate and it is surrounded by Mt. Asama in the north and the Yatsugatake mountains in the south, along with the Chikuma river that runs through, making it abundant with water. The pristine water, called Shikomi-mizu, is the main ingredient of Japanese sake and it makes or breaks the quality. These factors – Saku city’s climate and an abundance of water make their Sake unique and original. There are 13 distilleries around the area and each one has its own philosophy of Sake making. Many of them offer tastings, so it’ll be a fun experience. One of those places that attract tourists is KURABITO STAY, the one and only hotel in the world that offers its guests Sake making while staying at an old distillery.
Mt. Asama and beautiful countryside/Abundant water resources have supportedthe sake brewing culture
It is a plateau of Mt. Asama to the north, Mt. Yatsugatake to the south, and the Chikuma River in the center of the Saku Basin. There are many natural hot springs that overlook the magnificent Mt. Asama, whose ambience changes depending on the place, time, and season. It takes pride in the beautiful starry sky with a refreshing climate and a high rate of sunny weather throughout the year.
Authentic Japanese sake brewing experience/World’s first sake brewery hotel KURABITO STAY
KURABITO STAY is where you can actually experience being a brewer, make sake in the brewery and also stay there. The brewery’s dormitory called Hiroshiki on the brewery site has been renovated into a brewery hotel, making it a accomodation space for those who visit the brewery experience. Throw yourself into being a brewer at the miracle moment sake is produced, sharpen your five senses, and enjoy the great art created by the predecessors.
Fermented food culture rooted in daily life
At an altitude of 650m to 1500m, the sunny weather and cool climate nurture high-quality agricultural products such as highland vegetables and fruits. It has prospered as a post town on Nakasendo since ancient times, and the fermented food culture such as miso-based dishes and pickles is still rooted in the people’s lives. The nutritious carp dish is a local soul food. No wonder it’s a prefecture known for health and longevity.