Happy Sake Day! There are loads of events large and small happening all over Europe and the US, so I hope you have enjoyed, are enjoying or will enjoy one. Kanpai!

What do the Japanese do for Sake Day? One celebration is the Nihonshu Go Around (abbreviated to NGA), a sake bar-hopping (はしご, hashigo) event held in cities all across Japan and covered by Sanyo News and Suginami Go-Guy.

The system is simple –buy a special badge featuring mascot character Sakazukin either in advance for JPY 500 or on the day for JPY 800. Wear your badge and wish the staff a happy Sake Day, and you’re entitled to order a special side dish (おつまみ, o-tsumami) with a free 60 ml serving of sake.

Bars team up one-to-one with sake breweries for the event. To bars develop a suitably paired snack, and breweries send a representative to their partner bar to answer questions about the sake.

The event started in Osaka in 2008, and today is held simultaneously in 14 cities across the country. Okayama City is taking part for the third time this year, with 16 bars in the Okayama Sake Consortium group serving sake from inside and outside the prefecture. The owner of one shop selling the badges says he feels the number of sake fans is growing year on year, and that the event helps people to discover sake’s charm.

Participating cities this year are Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Shizuoka (new), Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Matsue (new), Hiroshima, Kochi (new) and Fukuoka. Inside Tokyo there are seven separate areas taking part.

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The translations/summaries of Japanese language news articles and other content provided on this site are part of a personal project to increase the amount of information about Japanese sake available in English.

Coverage of an organisation, product or event does not imply approval or endorsement.

All translations/summaries are © 2017-2019 Arline Lyons.

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