After making a splash at the box office, Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime leads to something you can pour into a sake cup.
Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, the biggest theatrical anime hit ever from a director not named Hayao Miyazaki, is unabashed in its championing of the power of love. At the same time, though, it’s also an expression of the power of sake.
Female lead Mitsuha is a Shinto shrine maiden, and part of her duties include making sake. Without getting into too many nitty-gritty plot details, the alcoholic beverage ends up having an unexpected significance to the film’s events, and now one sake brewer from Gifu, Mitsuha’s home prefecture, has created a variety of sake inspired by Shinkai’s latest anime.
The sake, called Horai–Sake of the Sacred Land, is produced by Watanabe Shuzo, a brewer based in the town of Hida. While Mitsuha is shown making sake in the ultra-orthodox way of chewing and spitting out rice, Horai is produced by more modern, hygienic means that involve no human chewing. The connection to the anime comes from the container, which matches the one in which Mitsuha’s sake is placed in the movie, and also that Horai is blessed by the priests of Gifu’s real-life Ketawakamiya Shrine, which served as the model for the mountaintop shrine seen in Your Name.
Horai is a junmai-style sake, meaning that no additional distilled alcohol is added during the production process, and made with locally grown Hida Homare rice. A number of Hida ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) are offering free cups of the brew to guests as a welcome drink at check-in, but if a trip there doesn’t factor into your travel plans, the Your Name inspired sake can also be purchased here through Watanabe Shuzo’s website or online retailer Rakuten for 3,200 yen (US$31).