Since last year, Knowledge Travel Partners has been working with Kirk Patterson on a plan for a cruise tour for foreign visitors using a chartered catamaran. In the middle of March, the first tour took place. As a Sake Sommelier and Educator, Rod Walters lead part of the tour in Hōjō, Matsuyama.
When the catamaran arrived in Horie Port, Rod got on board with the 12 Canadians and gave a brief explanation of Ehime and how sake is made and best enjoyed. Then we visited the Sakura Uzumaki brewery where the young master brewer gave us a tour, interpreted by Rod. We tried various products, including their freshly made daiginjo which won this year’s Governor’s Award, chatted with the master brewer and discussed which sake we liked best.
Next, we went to Kaisen Hokuto, a luxury restaurant overlooking the sea for a course dinner using local produce, and four types of sake, carefully chosen in consultation with the proprietor. Rod acted as sommelier, giving a short explanation of the different types of sake and how they match the food. The guests were astonished by the variety and beauty of the sake available in Japan and Ehime.
The guests on this occasion are all members of a Canadian yacht club. In future, they may bring their own yachts to cruise on the Seto Inland Sea.
This is a unique and pioneering plan, made possible by the deep knowledge of the foreign organizers, as well as the high-quality tourism resources and hospitality available locally.
There are many possibilities for development of this kind of tour, but there is room for improvement in the infrastructure and how it’s managed. For example, the toilets in the dock at Horie are closed for the night. They should be left open for yachters, especially when there are 12 who have been drinking Ehime’s sake.
After the cruise finished, Kirk had this to say,
“Thanks for your help in making it a success….educating them about sake on Day One turned out to be a master stroke…sake was their preferred beverage for the rest of the trip…”
A little bit of sake education helps to create instant sake fans.
To learn more about the opportunities for charter cruises in Japan, email firstname.lastname@example.org.