Here is the 2nd introduction to the ukiyo-e inspired new beer label designs for Aoi Brewing’s regular line-up: Shizuhata IPA.
Going against the trends of piney, hoppy West Coast or fruity, hazy New England IPAs, Aoi Brewing ( @aoibrewing) has always prided itself on offering English-style IPAs that balances malt, hops and drinkability. For the Shizuhata IPA label, the owner wanted to feature the mountain that is in its backyard, Mt. Shizuhata.
The other mountain in the heart of Shizuoka
Mt. Shizuhata (賤機山 Shizuhata-yama) is not that high of a mountain range at only 117 meters tall but it stretches for about 8km. It is known for having many shrines and temples including Sengen Shrine and Rinzai Temple, both famous for their connection to Tokugawa and Imagawa shoguns. It also houses an ancient kofun (tomb/burial mound). The “Shizu” of Shizuoka’s name is said to come from Shizuhata, even though the kanji is different
Artwork for Shizuhata IPA Beer Label
With Mt. Shizuhata being so long it was hard to decide on which part to showcase. Since I already showed Sengen Shrine in the Sengen Golden Ale label, I thought of connecting the labels by doing a view of Rinzai Temple where Imagawa Shogun held the future unifier of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu. But it just didn’t work out right. Again the Aoi owner found an unusual yet perfect view in the Hōeidō edition of Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi no uchi – Fuchu (東海道五十三次之内) by Utagawa Hiroshige.
The depiction of Fuchu, the name for Shizuoka when it was one of the fifty-three stations along the Tokaido, shows people crossing the Abe River with a mountain backdrop. While no one knows for sure, some say those mountains in this ukiyo-e piece are Shizuhata. True or not it’s a perfect shot.
Fuchū: Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi no uchi (Hōeidō edition)
(source: Ukiyo-e.org https://ukiyo-e.org/image/mfa/sc226540 )
Hidden within the artwork
As with the other labels, I wanted to give it some modern familiarity and not limit it looking like it was from the Edo Period. Can you tell what area of the city this viewpoint is located?
After drawing so many people for the Sengen Golden Ale label, you could say I was a bit tired. But, I didn’t neglect giving a closeup of our Aoi Man. The person in the river is also sporting a shirt from their favorite craft beer joint. Can you guess the name? And as an avid “no fruity beers please” female beer drinker, props are given to the rising numbers of “beer girls” in Japan with the yukata-clad, IPA-drinking gal.
When you say “Abekawa”, I say “Hanabi”!
Dai Star Mine! – A true Shizuoka City resident can not say this without elongating the vowels and a smile on their face. Usually held on the third Saturday of July, the Abekawa Fireworks is a 2-hour extravaganza of hanabi (fireworks) with up to 10,000 blasts total set off from the middle of the riverbed. The fireworks are sponsored by individual residents, groups, businesses and the city. Each firework is announced with a commemorative message by Kishi Yoko, who has been the distinctive voice of Abekawa hanabi since 1988 (and still does to this day).
Held for not just entertainment purposes, the fireworks festival has a somber history. Part of its purpose is to commemorate loved ones who have passed and a symbol of appreciation to the community. The fireworks festival began in 1953 as a memorial to the over 2000 victims of a two-day air raid over Shizuoka during World War 2. It is said that those who died were cremated along the banks of Abe River.
Here is an interesting interview with the festival announcers. (Japanese only)
Ichi-Fuji, Ni-taka, San-nasubi
Can you find which of the hatsuyume lucky items is included in the Shizuhata IPA beer label? (Sorry for the subpar pic.)
*Last but not least, each of the regular lineup labels has one of the objects from a famous saying attributed to Tokugawa Ieyasu about the first dream of the new year (Hatsuyume), “ichi-Fuji, ni-taka, san-nasubi”. It i is said that if the first dream of the new year includes Mt. Fuji, a falcon/hawk and eggplant (nasubi), the person will have good luck.