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The Thunder God's Spring Water

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > The Thunder God's Spring Water

 

Visit the legendary Raiden-sama Spring on Mt. Hakkai

MinamiuonumaCityResortTouristAssociation

 

 

Nestled in the Echigo mountain range of southern Niigata Prefecture, in Minamiuonuma City, is a legendary spring. Each winter the snow piles up on the peaks, and after it melts it permeates the rock, being filtered through layer after layer before eventually emerging as pure, refreshing spring water. Raiden-sama Spring, at the base of Mount Tochinoki, is one of the most famous.

The spring is named after Raiden, the god of thunder and lightning. Legend has it that the forest around the aquifer is filled with spirits serving him – so be sure to give thanks to him before you take a sip of the cool, mineral-rich water.

Access to such pure water, combined with a natural environment well-suited to brewing, has made Minamiuonuma City in Niigata into a highly regarded producer of sake. To make the national drink of Japan, you need to use around 30 to 40 times as much water as the final product yield, so the impressive annual snowfall in this region makes it the perfect place for sake production.

You can try sake made with the abundant waters of Raiden-sama Spring at the renowned Hakkaisan brewery, named after the sacred Mt. Hakkai (san means mountain). Each of the refined sakes being produced in Minamiuonuma have their own delicious spring water supporting it from behind the scenes. If you’re passing through Niigata City, you can taste dozens of local brews at the Ponshukan sake tasting rooms.

 

How to get there

 

30 minutes by car from JR Muikamachi Station.

 

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