New Year’s, or o-shogatsu is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Japan. As you might imagine, sake pays an important role during this time.
I had the good fortune to start off my new year again this year visiting the Kitano Hotel in New York City. As they did last year, the Kitano was offering Hakkasian sake as a new year’s drink to visitors to the hotel.
In Japan, it’s a tradition to drink sake on the first day of the new year for health and long life. This is sometimes done out of a sake barrel as the Kitano had on display. Guests were able to sample the Hakkaisan honjozo, with its smooth palate and crisp finish – a wonderful way to start any new year!
In addition to the sake, the Hakubai resturant at the kitano was serving their traditional osechi or New Year’s meal. This is presented with great style at Hakubai, with all the traditional fixings including large black beans, burdock root and shrimp. Most of these selections have a traditional meaning or symbolism for the new year.
It is often said in Japan that what one does on New Year’s day sets the tone for the whole year. What better thing to do than enjoy Hakkaisan and Osechi at the Kitano! This would certainly get anyone’s New Year off to the best possible start.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!