Can you tell what this eye-catching white bottle decorated with bright red patterns is supped to be? While the look isn’t exactly conventional, this is actually a sake product called NISHIKIGOI, and the bottle is artfully designed to look like a beautiful colored carp.

The packaging concept is quite clever and fitting, as the word nishikigoi originally refers to a valuable ornamental variety of carp. Looking at the pictures, we have to say it’s no wonder that the sake has received considerable attention from the Japanese media and public. Not only is the product from a respected sake brewery, ensuring a pleasant drinking experience, the bottle is absolutely stunning, especially in the white box specially cut to enhance the look of the nishikigoi carp!

The sake in question is made by the Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery, located in Niigata Prefecture, an area known for producing fine rice and sake as well as lovely nishikigoi. The brewery actually began sales of NISHIKIGOI back in May of this year, but it gained such notice that it quickly sold out, with production unable to meet demand.

▼ The red and white pattern on the bottle is simple yet carefully designed.


▼ This is the elegant white box the sake comes in.


▼ While the bottle is beautiful on its own, it looks magnificent in the box with the cut-out in the simple silhouette of a carp!


▼ Place some bottles together, and it really does look like a group of carp swimming!


The unique and stylish packaging was produced by design studio BULLET, and we think they’ve done a brilliant job here, turning a sake bottle and box into a work of art, especially one showcasing the precious carp that the region is famous for.

As it turns out, there’s also another story behind the concept for the carp-themed product. Ages ago, there used to be a time when sake shops would sell sake that was so diluted with water that people would say a goldfish could survive in it. But even back then, Iamayotsukasa Sake Brewery apparently refused to sell diluted sake and would say that their sake was an impressive “nishikigoi sake”, not goldfish sake. Today, their NISHIKIGOI contains 15 percent alcohol, which is about average for Japanese sake, and interestingly, they’ve opted not to release some of the specific details of the sake itself, encouraging consumers to use their senses to really taste the sake instead of relying on provided information.

With the holidays and New Year’s approaching, this is sure to make a great festive gift, and at one point this month, sale of the sake resumed briefly at a price of 5,000 yen (US$41) for a 720-milliliter (approx 24-ounce) bottle. Unfortunately, it again very quickly sold out, but they’ve now announced that they expect to have some more bottles available in December.  If you’re looking for a smart-looking (and tasty) gift in Japan, you may want to check their online shop next month!

Source: Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery and Bullet via Japaaan
Photos: Bullet