A Spring Journey to Toyama Japan with IWA Sake

This spring, with a desire to learn and exchange knowledge, our team traveled to Toyama, Japan to collaborate with local Chef Gejo on an immersive Kaiseki-inspired lunch. In the incredible setting of Shiraiwa, the home of IWA Sake and founder & maker Richard Geoffrey, we created an exclusive and intimate experience designed to shine a light on the region of Toyama and its diversity of ingredients and artisans.

Chef Taka Gejo, a local Toyama chef, along with Katina & Kyle Connaughton, and Richard Geoffroy, founder & maker of IWA Sake, collaborated on the project.


The dialogue began last year following a shared visit to Shiraiwa where Chef Kyle, Katina & Chef Gejo exchanged ideas and inspirations, uncovering meaningful ways to build connections between the region of Toyama and in turn, to bring elements of SingleThread and Sonoma County to Toyama.

This unique experience was a beautiful celebration of the spring season and of enduring friendships. The journey started in nature at the sacred mountainside water temple Nisseki-ji to discover the pure water source and experience locally foraged sansai. Chef Kyle and Katina welcomed guests with wild wasabi leaf chilled soup with olive oil to savor the moment. 


Symbolically tracing the flow of water, guests then descended to the Shiraiwa kura to be welcomed by Richard Geoffroy for an immersive Kaiseki inspired lunch, crafted by Chef Kyle and Chef Gejo, in perfect harmony with IWA 5 sakes. A truly unique and transcendent sensorial experience.

The setting for lunch was the doma located inside Shiraiwa kura, which serves as IWA's stunning brewery and home to their team.

It was an honor to learn and collaborate with Chef Gejo, sharing traditional technique and local insight into the seasonal inspiration for our dishes. 

Wagashi, Saya Peas and Saikyo Miso Chilled Soup with Sansai, Pea Tofu and Toyama Shiro Ebi (a rare shrimp found in the Toyama region) & Spring Hassun

The connections made through our partnerships and friendships have inspired each new project we set out on, striving to embrace the creative challenge of innovation while maintaining familiarity in every experience we create together. The chance to travel with our SingleThread community further drives our commitment to creating an unforgettable experience.

We hope you will join us on a future journey. 

Thank you to Richard Geoffrey for welcoming us into your home and to Chef Gejo for sharing your knowledge and talents with us in this memorable collaboration. We are incredibly grateful for your friendship.

All imagery provided by our friend and travel companion Justin Taylor Smith.