Jyake-gai is Japanese slang for purchasing basically anything (a CD, a book, a bottle of wine) simply based on the design of the packaging or label. I will definitely be employing this practice on my next trip to Shibuya to pick up a bottle of this new Shibuya Sake. Admittedly, the mega-trendy (and mega-crowded) Tokyo hot spot does not come to mind as an ideal branding strategy for sake. But the label, which features Hachiko and Shibuya Crossing (known locally as scramble crossing) are surprisingly charming and adorable.
The Sake was the brainchild of Shibuya’s tourism association, who realized that despite record numbers of tourists, the district had no official souvenirs. So earlier this year they launched a crowdfunding campaign to kick-start the project. And now, two varieties of sake are being made available, branded with two of Shibuya’s most recognizable landmarks: Hachiko and Shibuya Crossing. Unfortunately, it’s unclear who the designer is behind the labels. Hopefully the individual or team behind the design is getting the credit they deserve.
The sake, of course, is not made in Shibuya. But an extensive search was done to find two unique breweries and varieties. The Hachiko sake is made by Takarayama Sake in Niigata. It has a crisp and dry flavor with hints of grape. The Shibuya Crossing Sake is the Kazuma Shuzo Sake brewery in Ishikawa and is a little more fruity with hints of melon. Both bottles sell for 2000 yen but they’re only available at Shibuya’s Seibu Department Store in the basement level of Building A (look for the alcohol section).