Sake from Saga, Under the Sakura: The Sagansake Sakura Chill Bar
The cold weather in February left us all longing for spring. Now, a few steps ahead of the season itself, the Sagansake Sakura Chill Bar is here: a limited-time-only bar where you can admire the sakura (cherry blossoms) as you savor “Sagansake”—sake from Saga Prefecture, which is home to the liveliest sake scene in Kyushu.
The fertile Saga Plain makes Saga one of Japan’s leading rice producers, and since ancient times the prefecture has also been home to countless sake breweries. Even within Kyushu, Saga is known as “the sake prefecture.” In recent years, sake from Saga has won prestigious prizes and drawn attention internationally as well.
Earlier in March, Sakura Chill Bar offered visitors a chance to try 22 different varieties of “Sagansake” (sake from Saga) as they chill out beneath the blizzard of falling sakura.
The most unique thing about Sakura Chill Bar is the “sakura pool,” on the second floor—a knee-deep pool filled with 1.2 million sakura petals that visitors are welcome to stand in as they enjoy the sake. On the first floor, the standing bar is dominated by a single gigantic sakura tree. The counter is a long tank in which sakura petals drift through the same water that Saga’s breweries use, brought to Tokyo specially for the occasion.
Each visitor can choose three of the 22 types of sake on offer and enjoy a tasting. The wooden masu cups used for the tasting come in two original—and photogenic!—designs: one set of three designed to be arranged vertically into a sakura tree, and another set of three that reveal a single blossoming bough when placed side-by-side.
The first weeks of March are the season for new sake. The next time you’re in Japan, why not enjoy some early flower-viewing on Omotesando with a glass of delicious Sagansake?
Sagansake Sakura Chill Bar
Dates: March 1 (Thu) to 11 (Sun), 2018
(Note: Now closed, but you can still view photos and movies from the event.)