So after a pleasant day walking around Shirakawa-go we headed up to the temple for the doburoku matsuri (raw sake festival). Once a year, when the sake finishes brewing, the temple in Shirakawa-go holds this festival. There are tons of good eats, and as much sake as you can drink out of your 400 yen “cup”.
Usually, when they finish brewing sake is it filtered and ends up clear, sometimes with a slight tint. Doburoku is unrefined or raw sake. This means that it is kind of chunky. There are small pieces, and sometimes entire grains, of rice floating in the alcoholic goop. The first “cup” was a little strange, but we quickly got used to it and the atmosphere was fabulous.
Before the drinking started there was much pageantry. Including a parade of temple people. I don’t know the official names of these groups but in my head I referred to them as the funny hat parade. At the end of the funny hat parade was a giant o-daiko.
After the funny hat parade was some dragon dancing.
Finally, the sake maidens came out and started pouring the sake. It was great, Danielle and I were something of low grade celebrities. Our neighbors across the way were sharing snacks and taking our photos, we were talking, laughing, and taking pictures of them. We also had our pictures taken by a newspaper and by the TV crews, all the while we were drinking sake. Don’t worry though, we didn’t drink to much, the “cups” were kind of a built in sobriety test. They are really more of a shallow bowl. If you were not careful, you would send a cascade of goopy sake down onto the ground, or, more than likely, your pants, bags or neighbors.
In the end, the festival went too quickly, and soon we were on the bus back home.