Tokyo Jizake Strolling: (Nippon National Products Exhibition 2020) 
2021-01-06

By Ryuji Takahashi

As nationwide restrictions imposed on events, etc., throughout Japan due to the Coronavirus pandemic relaxed in November, we covered the “Nippon National Products Exhibition 2020,” held over two days inside the Sunshine City Shopping Mall in Ikebukuro district, Tokyo. The event was cut short to 2 days instead of 3 days the previous year, with only half of the number of restaurant exhibitors compared to the previous year to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading. The venue implemented thorough countermeasures to prevent the spread of infection with a thorough ventilation system in full operation, a large fan on, and doors and windows open at all times. Only attendees and even vendors registered beforehand were allowed entry with hand sanitizers readily available to ensure a safe environment to prevent infection.
The event was reduced in scale, yet over 100 corporate exhibitors showcased over 1,000 regional specialty products, divided into 2 floors with each prefecture exhibiting a souvenir booth, a food court, and a jizake (regional sake) section offering samples starting from only 100 JPY, bustling with many customers. Of course, the booth attracting the most attention was the jizake section.
Approximately 100 jizake selections from 17 regions total (2 regions each from Tokyo, Fukui and Saga prefectures, along with Aomori, Akita, Fukushima, Tochigi, Niigata, Shizuoka, Gifu, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima prefectures) lined the booths with samples available starting from 100 JPY per cup, an irresistible section for sake fans. Each booth sold regional snacks, etc., a sure bet to compliment any sake. Recommendation booths with a kikisake-shi in attendance were available for customers not sure which sake to sample due to the vast selections available, along with various canned food products. Needless to say, sake can be sampled with various regional specialty snacks purchased from one of the souvenir floors.
This event could be a great opportunity for sake breweries to meet other breweries from various regions with whom they normally have few opportunities to interact. Strolling past the souvenir section on the evening of the second day, attendees can witness bargain sales starting for food products, another event to look forward to in the souvenir exhibit. I also strolled past booths for various regions, where I found smoked octopus for a discounted price at a booth by Hokkaido prefecture. I hesitated trying to decide how many packs to buy when the exhibitor gave me another discount, so I purchased 3 packs. The exhibitor pushed further saying this was the last day, so I received another discount to purchase 1 more pack.
I had an enjoyable day, receiving leftover regional snacks from sake brewery booths for free. I pray joyous events like this that brings smiles back to consumers, producers, and vendors will revive in various regions once the coronavirus pandemic ends, hopefully soon.


東京地酒散歩(ニッポン全国物産展)

 全国的にイベント等の規制が緩和した11月、東京池袋のサンシャインシティにて「ニッポン全国物産展」が2日間に渡り行われたので取材に行った。イベント等が出来るようになったとはいえ、コロナウイルス感染防止の為、出店数は前年の半分、開催日数も前年は3日間だったのに対し、今年は2日間と縮小された開催だった。会場の感染対策も完璧で換気設備をフルに稼働させ、大型の扇風機を配置し空気の循環を行い、扉や窓は常時開放状態で外気を取り入れ、来場も事前登録制で業者も登録がしっかりされていないと入場できず手指の消毒の徹底等、来場者が安心して参加できる感染対策がされていた。今回は縮小されたとは言え、100社以上1000点以上の物産品が並び、2フロアに別れて各都道府県の物産販売コーナーやフードコート、地酒が1杯100円から飲める酒ズキ横丁などがあり、多くの来場者で盛り上がっていた。やはり、一番目を引いたのは、地酒の酒蔵が並ぶ酒ズキ横丁だった。全17の地域(青森・秋田・福島・栃木・東京2ヶ所・新潟・静岡・岐阜・石川・福井2ヶ所・滋賀2ヶ所・京都・奈良・広島)の地酒が約100種類並び、それが1杯100円から飲めるので酒好きにはたまらないコーナーだ。各ブースでその地域のおつまみなども売られており、酒と間違いない組み合わせの肴が買えるのは嬉しい限りである。その他にも、沢山酒が有り過ぎて何を飲んだらよいか迷う人の為に唎酒師によるお勧めコーナーや沢山の種類の缶詰が並ぶ缶詰コーナーがあった。勿論、物産販売フロアで買ってきた各地方の食べ物をつまみに酒を飲む事も出来る。酒蔵も、この様なイベントで普段交流する事の無い各地の酒蔵と話が出来るのは良い体験なのかもしれない。2日目夕方から物産販売コーナーを歩くと、食品系は叩き売り状態が始まる。これも物産展の楽しみのひとつである。私も各地域のブースを回り、北海道のブースで蛸の燻製が安くなっているのを見つけ、何パック買うか悩んでいたら、さらに値下げしてくれたので、3パック買うと、店主が最後だからという事で、もう1パックおまけしてくれた。酒蔵ブースでも余ったつまみを貰ったりと、お得な気分で一日楽しむ事が出来た。こんな皆んなが楽しめるイベントが少しづつでもコロナが終息して各地で復活し、製造業・販売業・消費者の全ての人に笑顔が戻ることを祈るばかりである。


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