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Travelers’ Treasures / Kotaki White (Rice in a gift box)

At a glance it looks like a bottle of wine, but the real content is rice. Kotaki rice, a variety of Koshihikari rice, is carefully tended in the fields of Kotaki district in the village of Sakae, Nagano Prefecture, which is part of the Shinetsu region, a land of deep wintertime snows.

Influenced by the climate of this region, Kotaki rice is characterized by a somewhat small grain, yet there is a sweetness and a strong body. While it was already known for its delicious taste, harvests are small and in the past it was generally not broadly marketed. Life changed, however, on March 12, 2011, with the North Nagano Prefecture Earthquake. Approximately 70 percent of the rice fields in Kotaki suffered enormous damage, and as a recovery project, sales of the Kotaki gift bottle commenced.

The novelty of selling rice in a bottle gained attention, and it became so popular that approximately 1,000 bottles sold out within a week after sales began. But even while the design concept is fashionable, this is a product that enables one to experience the delicious flavor of Japanese rice.

Price: ¥2,160

Manufacturer: Saegusa & Green Co., Ltd. in Chuo Ward, Tokyo (www.kotakirice.jp)

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Photos and information except for prices from The Wonder 500 (https://thewonder500.com/)

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