Hida, Gifu Prefecture
Today, I have something interesting for all of you guys. Firstly, I am very sure you guys have heard or even watched an anime movie that took the world by surprised. Yes, you guessed it well, It’s “Your Name”. “Your Name” currently has earned over 19.5 billion yen ($174 million) and still counting. It even surpassed Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Monoke which earned 19.3 billion yen($171.4 million) during its theatre run.
Kimi no Na Wa
Putting the anime aside, I am going to talk about the real-life location that was inspired by the anime. One of them is in Hida which is located in the northernmost city in Gifu Prefecture.
In the anime, we see female-lead Mitsuha in one of the scene making sake by chewing in her mouth and spitting it out. Yuck, that’s gross right ? Its called “Kuchikami no sake” which translates to “chewing in the mouth sake”. It was a primitive alcohol brewing method. People will chew boiled rice and spit them into a big wooden vat. The chewed rice will be sat to brew for a few days. The eznymes in saliva helped turn starch into glucose, and yeasts living in the air transformed that glucose into alcohol.
Picture from one of the scenery in the movie
Modern Sake Brewing
The practice back then was incorporated into shinto religious festivals. The task will be given to young shrine maidens. It was strongly believed that fermentation was a divine process, and sake had a power on purification. But rest assured, the tradition had died out, probably because of health issues and shrine maidens being creep out.
Watanabe Shuzo, a sake brewer based in the town of Hida, has created a variety of sake inspired by the movie. It is called Horai – “Sake of the Sacred Land” which is sold at 3,200 yen(US$31) per bottle. Don’t worry, it was made with modern machinery with proper hygiene and it was even blessed by the priests of Gifu Ketawakamiya Shrine.
Sake of the Sacred Land
The town received a huge boost in economy due to pilgrimages. Who said that watching anime couldn’t contribute to society, well now it does.
Hida-Furukawa Train Station, which was also inspired by the movie.