These intriguing spheres are crafted by gathering the tips of cedar leaves and forming them into balls. Annually, fresh sugidama are hung around the time when new sake is produced. The colour of these balls transforms from vibrant green to rich brown over the course of the year. The appearance of sugidama signals the completion of new sake, coinciding with the season when sake breweries celebrate their annual openings which happens around December.
As the vibrant green shades gradually give way, it marks the transition into the hot summer season. During this time, you'll find a variety of refreshing and crisp "summer sake" products available in stores.
In autumn, the sugidama reflects the traditional Japanese colour known as "kare-iro" or dead color. This signifies that the sake has undergone a maturation process during the summer in the brewery, resulting in a fuller and richer flavour. It offers a unique tasting experience distinct from that of new or summer sake.