The Narrow Road to Deep Yamagata

Yamagata, meaning “shape of mountains,” is an appropriately named prefecture with distinctive rural character and a noticeably slower pace of life. It is one of Japan’s least populous prefectures and also home to one of its oldest average populations, despite the ruggedness of the terrain and climate. Even its larger cities seem sparsely populated compared to their counterparts in other prefectures along Japan’s Pacific Coast. Nearly one fifth of Yamagata is natural park area. The prefecture is rich with outdoor attractions, too, not simply undisturbed…

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Sake in 2016: by the numbers

Export numbers for Japanese sake in 2016 extend a trend from the last few years, namely robust growth in demand for premium brands overseas. According to data released in late January from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, exports of Japanese sake reached 15.5 billion yen, the 7th year in a row of record numbers. Experts believe it is tied to overall growth in the popularity of Japanese food and Japanese restaurants overseas (exports of Japanese green tea saw massive growth as well). An earlier report measuring…

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