Japan’s most popular sake brand is part of the collection.

The Japanese written language is distinctly beautiful, but you don’t have to go to a museum to see artistic calligraphy. With the industry’s value for tradition, there’s a wealth of outstanding examples to be found on the labels of sake bottles, which brings us to new line of capsule toys.

A joint effort between toymaker Bandai and online sake portal Sake Times, the Famous Japanese Sake Collection (“Nihon no Meishu Sake Collection” in Japanese), are decorative replicas of five well-known, much-loved bottles of the country’s representative alcoholic beverage, and each one is a work of art measuring six centimeters (2.4 inches) in length and accompanied by a to-scale ochoko sake cup.

Starting things off, on the left in the above photo we have a bottle for Kuromatsu Hakushika sake, from Hyogo Prefecture, whose brewery traces its roots to 1662, when the original owner dug a well near his house and found the pure, clean water perfect for making sake from. Next to it is Kochi Prefecture’s Suigei, a fragrant and flavorful sake whose name means “drunken whale” and is a reference to local Edo-period samurai lord Yamauchi Toyoshige, whose love of liquor and coastal domain earned hi the nickname Geikaisuikou, “Drunken Lord of the Ocean of Whales.”

Moving on, we come to a bottle of Kubota Chizu from Niigata, renowned for the crisp finish and strong rice flavor characteristic to brews from the prefecture. Next to it is a bottle of Ichinokura,, whose brewery was formed through a merger of four historic sake breweries in the Tohoku region’s Miyagi Prefecture.

And finally, you can’t take about great sake and leave out…

Dassai, Japan’s most popular sake (and deservedly so). Brewed in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Dassai means “otter festival,” and is a nod to how the river otters in the area would lay the fish they caught on the riverbanks, almost like they were showing off to one another.

The capsule toy line goes on sale next week, priced at 300 yen (US$2.90).

Source, images: PR Times
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Casey feels like he showed considerable willpower by not cracking open his bottle of Dassai in the middle of writing this article, and you can reward him for his restraint by following him on Twitter.