Cellar at Hakkaisan Breweries

The photo is of the sake (rice wine) cellar at the Hakkaisan Sake Brewery. Situated at the foothills of Mt. Hakkai, in the Niigata prefecture, part of the famous snow country region of Japan, Hakkaisan Brewery is a premium sake (Japanese rice wine) manufacturer. Sake is brewed at the kuro (brewery) from koji (a form of fermented rice). The sake is then chilled in the yuki muro or the snow refrigerator. Niigata experiences almost two meters of snowfall every winter, and the locals have embraced this to their advantage by building snow refrigerators to store the sake and preserve perishables.
In this way, the intimate relationship between nature that the Japanese people share, inspires many ingenious and novel technologies. For instance, the Mars Company has developed and commercialized a unique refrigeration system called the Kuraban that integrates electric field technology and sea-snow (snow made from sea salt and water) in keeping perishables fresh for a much longer time. The cost savings that accrue in transporting perishables by using this technology is significant. The Sumitomo Corporation of Japan is working closely with Mars in further developing, and in achieving large scale commercialization of the technology. The technology developed by Mars is registered with the UNIDO ITPO Tokyo’s Sustainable Technology Promotion Platform (STePP).