May 16, a day of fine weather, marked the tenth planting on Wakuden’s rice fields. A group of about 100 people, which included customers, staff, and various other people affiliated with Wakuden, departed from Kyoto that morning, bound for the mountain-wrapped terraces of rice fields in Kyōtango Ichinono.
After arriving, we headed straight into the fields and, guided by skilled farmers, got to work planting seedlings using a unique handmade tool called a himowaku, a wooden frame strung with rope that has been marked in equally spaced intervals. Koshihikari rice on three fields; Isehikari rice on two more, the latter used for brewing Wakuden’s sake “Wakuya Den’emon.”
After working up a sweat planting, we washed our hands and feet in the refreshing water of the river flowing nearby. Lunch followed, an excellent meal of rice balls and pickles made by local women and Wakuden’s special curry rice. Sipping with some of last year’s “Wakuya Den’emon,” everyone enjoyed a relaxing early summer moment. Wakuden’s rice fields draw crystal clear water from the mountains and use no pesticides. For Mr. Susumu Honda, caretaker of the fields, the real challenge starts from now as the battle with weeds begins.
We pray that good rice will come to bear again this year.