Background of Hongo Inaseya
Hongo – The Town of History, Literature, and Tradition
Hongo is an area in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo. In the areas and surroundings of Hongo lived many famous Japanese literary writers. Amongst them were Soseki Natsume, Takuboku Ishikawa, Ogai Mori, Kenji Miyazawa, and the first Japanese female writer Ichiyo Higuchi. In fact, in the Hoshinji Temple in front of the Akamon is a piece of land related to Ichiyo Higuchi, where people gather during spring and fall seasons in her memory.
Part of Hongo is also known as the Hongo Campus of The University of Tokyo, one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. Hongo Campus was where the Maeda clan’s main residence in Tokyo was located during the Edo period. Their property was worth as much as 1 milllion Goku (where 1 Goku was worth 150 kg of rice). Later when the Meiji period came around, that residence became Hongo Campus.
Located right across from this historical Hongo Campus is Hongo Inaseya.
Hongo Inaseya is a liquor store that mainly sells unique, homemade sake (fermented rice wine) and shochu (distilled liquor).
Historically, the creation and drinking of Japanese sake started from around 4000 – 3000 B.C. It had independently changed and evolved until it reached its current form today, and even now is still ever-changing.
One type of sake that exists today that we sell is Junmai Ginjou Akamon.
This sake was named after “Akamon” (literally, “red gate”), which originated from the Edo period. During that period, when the Daimyo took the Shogun princess as his wife, she entered his residence through a gate that was painted red in anticipation of her arrival.
Comparable to the historical, literary, and traditional significance within Hongo is the Junmai Ginjou Akamon, which can be bought from Hongo Inaseya and in the co-op store on Hongo Campus.
Another popular sake we also sell is Rashomon, which was shown and is also the title of the movie Rashomon directed by Akira Kurosawa and starred Toshiro Mifune. If you are a fan of the movie and are curious about how it tastes, Rashomon is an absolute must-buy item.
Therefore, while meditating over Japan’s history, literature, traditions, and movies, we welcome you to try and enjoy drinking Junmai Ginjou Akamon, Rashomon, and many other delicious Japanese liquor at Hongo Inaseya!