Hida Furukawa (古川) is a small town in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture and the center of the rural municipality of Hida City. It is located only about a 15 minute train ride north of the city of Takayama.
The Furukawa Festival features large drums, barely dressed men and tall, beautifully decorated floats.
A quaint, unassuming town, has become a lot more lively since Makoto Shinkai’s movie – Your Name (君の名は) hit the theatre. The town serves as the inspiration behind many iconic scenes from the film! It can be accessed just 2 stations away from Hida Takayama City, which is a popular tourist destination in its own right.
The ancient brewery, Watanabe Shuzo, makes Hourai brand sake. We remember the very different room with the large ‘moromi’ brew tanks with all the sake brewing away in varying stages of fermentation, some of them bubbling and percolating in the height of the ‘multiple parallel fermentation’ process.
You can’t hear it, but in this room they were playing Manzai over the tannoy. Manzai is a traditional form of comedy based on high-speed banter, punctuated by lots of raucous laughing. While more ‘sober’ breweries play classical music to the sake to ‘harmonize the elements’, the Watanabe’s liked to do things differently. The brewers hope the laughter of the Manzai would enter into the sake and produce the same effect in those drinking it!
Here are some of their sakes. We hope you will drink them and enjoy the laughter and mirth enjoyed by those who make them. And when we are, one day, able to travel we hope to revisit Hida Furakawa.
Hourai Hatsugumi 720ml
One of Japan's three great naked festivals, the Furukawa Festival is the annual festival of Keta Wakamiya-jinja Shrine. This traditional event has been held for over 400 years. The festival is comprised of three major events conducted each year between April 19 and 20-a portable shrine parade, the Okoshidaiko and a festival float parade. The stunning Okoshidaiko event is held on the evening of the first day-a sort of competition, groups of men fight to position their smaller tsukedaiko drum close to a giant taiko drum being carried atop a mobile turret.
The canals running off the river are home to over 1,000 brilliant carp of many colors, bringing them to life.
Breaking up the koji infected rice in the early stages of sake making.
The Hida Furakawa station in real life and as appearing in the much loved anime ‘Your Name’.