Make a Wish on Tanabata with Kizakura Nigori Sake!

04 Jul 2019

What Is Tanabata?

Tanabata, which literally means "evening of the seventh", also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on 7 July of the Gregorian calendar.

As the date approaches, long, narrow strips of colorful paper known as tanzaku, vibrant ornaments, and other decorations are hung on bamboo branches. They bring color to  the decor of homes as well as shopping arcades, train stations, and other public spaces. Before hanging tanzaku, people write their wishes on it as it is believed they come true during Tanabata.

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The Legend of Tanabata

The story goes that Hikoboshi, the star of Altair, and Orihime, the star of Vega, are two lovers separated by the Milky Way. Orihime was a skilled weaver, but because she spent most of her time weaving, she had no time to love. Her father, Emperor Tentei, saw how sad she was about this and arranged a marriage for her with Hikoboshi. But now Orihime had no time to weave because of her newfound love, so Tentei forbid the two from seeing each other, except for one day a year if they wished hard enough every other day. Tanabata celebrates the lovers’ reuniting.

The festival gained widespread popularity amongst the general public by the early Edo period, when it became mixed with various Obon or Bon traditions (because Bon was held on 15th of the seventh month then), and developed into the modern Tanabata festival. Popular customs relating to the festival varied by region of the country, but generally, girls wished for better sewing and craftsmanship, and boys wished for better handwriting by writing wishes on strips of paper.

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Tanabata Is the Time to Drink Refreshing and Light Sake!

July is also the season when heat and humidity hits with startling force, so people search for ways to refresh themselves.

One of the popular drinks during Tanabata is natsuzake, and  many sake producers create drinks designed for summer sipping. While styles vary according to the brewery, most versions of it tend to be light, clean and refreshing. Natsuzake is often — but not always — nama (unpasteurized).

A perfect natsuzake would be nigorizake, which is milk-white, unfiltered (or lightly filtered) sake. Fermented rice solids left in this sake create creamy, mouth-filling clouds complementing notes of pear and lychee. We recommend Kizakura Nigorizake which is a fresh light flavoured nigori sake with low alcohol content. It has a mild sweet and sour taste reminiscent of yogurt and best chilled or on the ice.

Make a wish on Tanabata with Kizakura Nigori Sake!

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