Vast waters of the deep sea remains unexplored but hold a great many treasures, including thousands of bottles of sake.

About 3,200 bottles of sake from 15 breweries across the country were lowered onto the ocean floor as part of an experimental project to age Japanese rice wine in the deep cold waters of the sea.

Over the course of two days, a group of project team members started to load 720-mL sake bottles into iron containers. About 300 meters off the coast of Minami-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, divers lowered the containers with 400 bottles of sake each to the seabed 15 meters below the surface.

“They say bottles effectively roll by tidal movements,” Nobuhiro Ueno, one of the project coordinators, said. Ueno also operates “Shusaron,” a sake bar specializing in matured sake, near Tokyo’s JR Shinagawa station.

Deep-sea maturing of wine and Awamori—distilled rice liquor made in Okinawa Prefecture—is believed to make the taste milder, although it has yet to be attempted with sake. Ueno urged other sake brewers throughout Japan to engage in the project.

Divers will take photos and regularly inspect the condition of the sake in the seabed. The bottles are scheduled to be recovered at the end of May.

“The image of the sea sake ‘sleeping’ should excite many people like me who have a romantic spirit,” Ueno told the Asahi Shimbun. “We are selling a dream with (deep-sea) sake.”

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Sebra /