all images courtesy Furuya Design
Eshikoto is a brand created by Nizaemon Ishidaya, proprietor of the Kokuryu Sake Brewery which was founded in 1804 in the mountains of Fukui. With a motto not dissimilar to the famous quote from Field of Dreams–”if we make good sake, people will support it”–the brewery has been hand-crafting small batches of sake for over 200 years. Last year, the brand opened a new restaurant and sake tasting center that is nestled between the mountains of Fukui and sits along the Kuzuryu: the River of the Nine-Headed Dragon.
The new sake tasting center is surrounded by the raw ingredient of sake: immaculate rice paddies and pure water, which starts as snow on the high reaches of the Hakusan mountains, percolates slowly through rocky layers and becomes the subterranean flow of the Kuzuryu. And it was architect Shinichi Furuya, who created a slender structure that looks like a floating and protruding terraced paddy.
Cantilevered slabs on all four sides of the terrace create views can be enjoyed from the dining space. Silhouettes of people sitting on the benches add to the landscape, rather than detract from it.
If you’re travelling through Fukui, do plan on stopping by Eshikoto, not only for sake but for breakfast, lunche or dessert, which are served by the restaurant Acoya. Eshi in local dialect means “great”, while koto means “thing.” And the location certainly lives up to it’s name.
Note that you do need to be 20 or older to enter the facilities, even if you aren’t drinking.