Celebrations call for a decorative 72 liter straw-covered barrel of sake to have its top hammered off and the contents drank at room temperature from a square (good luck) wooden ladle. Japan today is home to 3000 operational sake breweries, most as highly automated as Hakushika, whose name means "white deer". Legend tells of Chinese emperor Hsuen Chong, (712-756 A.D.) seeing a white deer over 1000 years old. Ever since then the Hakushika has symbolized "longevity of a thousand years." If planning activities closer to the present the merchandise counter offers great conversation piece souvenirs as well as bottled sake that allows you to enjoy part of this 300 year old Hakushika tradition today.