Sake Nation: “Seasonal Sake – Part 1: Summer Sake”

By Kosuke Kuji

Sake is representative of its brewing season, consumed seasonally when the flavor is most savory and delicious. 

Since ancient times, the Japanese custom is to savor seasonal flavors during each of the four distinct and beautiful seasons. 

This report introduces how to enjoy seasonal sake flavors during each season in four separate issues.

Japan endured a scorching hot summer that neared a boiling point this year. In the past, few sake products were released for consumption during the hot summer season. Until recently, the sake industry appeared to yield their summer business to beer products. However, a new genre of “seasonal summer sake” was developed within the last fifteen years. Summer sake is a refreshing draft sake enjoyed during the summer season with an alcohol content of 12 or 13 percent, lower than the usual sake.   

While diluted water is usually added to pressed sake to lower the alcohol content, recent advancements in brewing technology enables “undiluted sake” to be brewed with an alcohol content of 12 percent, the defining characteristic of summer sake. 
Draft sake is subtle in flavor and refreshing for the summer season. Please try this delicious summer sake if you have an opportunity to visit Japan during the hot summer season.  







#alljapannews #coldsake #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #summersake


Four different types of sake

Sake consists of four different types – Aromatic Sake, Refreshing Sake, Pure Sake, and Mellow Sake. This issue introduces two of the four sake types. 

Pure Sake: Rich, Junmai sake 

Delicious season: Fall to winter 

Serving temperature: Room temperature or lukewarm 

Sake cup: Small glass  

Compatible cuisine: Combination pizza 

Mellow Sake: Golden hue, aged for a long period   

Delicious season: Winter 

Serving temperature: Room temperature or lukewarm, same as brandy  

Sake cup: Brandy glass  

Compatible cuisine: Grilled eel  

Junmai: Brewed from rice, koji mold, and water only 

Honjozo is alcohol added to Junmai sake in small quantity (10%)

Changes according to the rice polishing ratio. The regulation is abolished for Junmai sake. Polished rice shavings are discarded at the brewery’s discretion (rice shavings can be used to make rice crackers and confections).

Various kinds of sake are enjoyed according to the season and event. For example, Toso (spiced sake) is enjoyed celebrating the New Year, yukimi-zake (sake enjoyed watching the snow fall) is enjoyed during the winter, shiro-zake (amazake) is enjoyed celebrating Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival), etc.



醇酒 コクがある   純米酒系 

美味しい季節:秋  から冬




熟酒 黄金色がつく 古く、長期熟成タイプ 


飲む温度:常温かぬる燗程度 ブランデーと同じ感じで







#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #seasons


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (an evening of Italian cuisine with sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The scorching summer heat just started to ease slightly in Tokyo, yet still too hot to change out of short sleeved shirts in early September, when the “Fourth evening of Italian cuisine and sake” was held at Italian restaurant Karibetei in the Shimokitazawa district of Setagaya ward. Reservations instantly fill to capacity for this very popular event organized once roughly every three months. Seasonal ingredients and sake are selected for each event. For this latest event, fall and summer sake selections were mixed with products available year-round and some fall ingredients to serve many delicious dishes to the guests’ hearts’ content. 

Since the summer heat was still scorching, the course served started with Chilled Peach Soup Topped with Prosciutto, Chilled Bagna Cauda Bagna Freida, and Horse Carpaccio shipped directly from Kumamoto prefecture – horse loin and mane are chewed thoroughly together the local way. Afterwards, Uni (sea urchin) and Fruit Tomato Salad concluded the first half of the course, followed by fall seasonal dishes such as Oven-baked Sarde a Beccafio, Mackerel Pike Sicilian Spaghetti, and Beef Tagliata. As we started to feel full, the meal concluded with Champagne Risotto.     

Champagne Risotto is prepared by pouring champagne with risotto lined around it in the center of a pot. The simmering champagne mixes with risotto, complete with cheese sprinkled at the end, a very interesting feast for the eyes as well.  Lastly, watermelon was served as dessert and the satisfying meal concluded with every stomach full. 

The courses were served with four sake selections from Niigata prefecture -  the well carbonated “SHUKUFUKU Yellow Label” by Sasaiwai Brewery (Niigata prefecture), summer sake “Hakuro Junmai Daiginjo” by Hakuro Brewery (Niigata prefecture), an autumn sake with a lasting aftertaste, “Hiyaoroshi Junmai Daiginjo Takarazukushi” by Kanemasu Brewery (Niigata prefecture), and “Cowboy Yamahai” by Shiokawa Sake Brewery Co. (Niigata prefecture). The four sake selections from Niigata prefecture were followed by two satisfying bottles of sake, the full-bodied and crisp “Honshu-ichi Muroka-Junmai-Ginjo” by Umeda Sake Brewery (Hiroshima prefecture), and the deeply flavorful “Akagisan Junmai Hiyaoroshi” by Kondo Shuzo Co. (Gunma prefecture), concluded with slightly sweet and fruity sake selections such as “Nagatoro Junmai Daiginjo” by Fujisaki Sobe Shoten (Saitama prefecture) and “Ichinomiya TANE Draft” by Ichinomiya Sake Brewing (Shimane prefecture), totaling eight sake selections served two bottles each, totaling sixteen sake bottles consumed in two and a half hours.  

A lot of preparation is needed for this event, but seeing satisfied participants heading home is the motivation to keep going, said Chef Karibe. Participants of various ages in their twenties to sixties attended. The speed at which the food and sake disappeared was incredible. The next event is planned around November. We look forward to seeing the smiles of many participants as they get comfortably tipsy. 


 真夏の厳しい暑さが少しだけやわらぎ始めたが、まだまだ半袖から衣替えは出来ない9月の頭に、「第四回イタリアンと日本酒の夕べ」が世田谷区下北沢のイタリア料理店かりべ亭で開催された。この企画は毎回好評で予約もあっという間に埋まる会で、だいたい3か月に1回のペースで開催されている。毎回季節の食材や酒に特化して行われるのだが、今回は秋の酒・夏の酒・通年商品を混在させ、食材も少しだけ秋を意識して、後はとにかく美味い料理を沢山食べて欲しいというコンセプトだった。まだまだ暑い日が続いていたので、料理は冷たい桃のスープ生ハム乗せから始まり、冷たいバーニャカウダのバーニャフレッダ、熊本直送の馬肉のカルパッチョはロースとたてがみを同時に口に入れてよく噛んで食べるといった熊本スタイル。その後、雲丹とフルーツトマトの冷菜と冷たい前半が終わり、オーブンで焼いた鰯のベッカフィーゴ、秋刀魚のシチリア風スパゲッティと秋の雰囲気の料理が進み、牛肉のタリアータでお腹も膨らんできたところで、締めのシャンパンリゾット。このシャンパンリゾットは鍋の中心にシャンパンを置き周りにリゾットを敷き詰め、吹き出したシャンパンがリゾットと混ざり、最後にチーズをかけて完成という見た目にも面白いリゾットである。そしてデザートにスイカを食べてお腹いっぱいで終了。そんな料理に合わせる日本酒は新潟笹祝酒造のガス感の強いスパークリング「祝吹イエローラベル多酸」、新潟の柏露酒造の夏酒、「柏露純米大吟醸生囲い」、新潟金升酒造の落ち着いた秋酒、「ひやおろし 純米大吟醸 宝づくし」、新潟塩川酒造の「願人山廃純米」と新潟が4種、広島梅田酒造場のボディ感の中にキレのある「本洲一無濾過純米吟醸」、群馬近藤酒造の味わい深い「赤城山純米ひやおろし」と飲みごたえがある2本に続き、埼玉藤崎宗兵衛商店の「長瀞蔵純米吟醸瓶火入れ」、島根県一宮酒造の「壱呑屋TANE生酒」とやや甘めでフルーティな酒の全8種類×2本の16本が2時間半でほぼ無くなってしまった。とにかく準備が大変な会なのだが、参加者が皆大満足で帰ってくれるのが、続けていける原動力になっていると苅部シェフは語る。参加者も20代から60代と幅が広い中で、あっという間に料理と酒が消えていく光景は圧巻である。次回は多分11月頃の予定だが、また沢山の参加者と笑顔と酔っ払いに期待したい。
#alljapannews #italian #italianrestaurant #japanese #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Brewing sake in Japan 

Not limited to sake, brewing alcoholic beverages stipulated by the Liquor Tax Act in Japan requires a license. The Liquor Tax Act stipulates “Persons intending to brew alcoholic beverages must follow the necessary process stipulated by Cabinet Order to acquire a license for each type of alcoholic beverage (per each kind for alcoholic beverages of various kinds) to be brewed per each brewery.”  For example, a refined sake brewery seeking to obtain a sake brewing license must file an application with the applicable tax office superintendent listing the ① brewer’s name or business name (of a company), ② The business location of the brewery, ③ Type of alcohol to be brewed (refined sake in this case), ④ Brewing method, ⑤ Anticipated production volume to be brewed in the first year after the license is granted, etc. 

The Liquor Tax Act also stipulates the minimum volume to be brewed because the volume of alcohol anticipated to be brewed in the first year at the brewery to be licensed must surpass a certain volume for a license to be granted. For sake, the stipulated volume is 60 kl. 

Although yeast starters and fermentation-mash are not applicable as alcoholic beverages stipulated by the Liquor Tax Act, both are ingredients required to brew sake, while fermentation-mash can also be consumed as “Doburoku” (home-brewed sake) as is, for which licensing requirements were adopted to prevent illegal brewing. 

Since illegal brewing decreased significantly, the production of koji mold was omitted from the licensing requirements introduced in January 1976. A license is required to brew sake because the high liquor tax levied on sake is an important revenue for the Japanese government. If the licensing requirements are abolished, a plethora of brewers can pose challenges to securing revenue from the liquor tax. A plethora of small-scale sake brewers can especially cause confusion, the reason why a minimum volume of alcohol to be brewed is stipulated.   

The licensing requirements are also vital to uphold sake quality, health, and sanitation standards for Japanese nationals. Although the licensing requirements to brew sake were introduced in 1880, the system is maintained in the revised Liquor Tax Act to date.    

Today, sake is brewed in many countries outside of Japan, a very delightful news in the interest of popularizing sake. Sho Chiku Bai, Ozeki, Gekkeikan, etc., are brewed locally in the U.S., while Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd. (Iwakuni city, Yamaguchi prefecture), renowned as the producer of “Dassai,” popular in Japan and overseas, released their U.S. sake brand “Dassai Blue” from their first overseas brewery in New York on September 25. The release of “Dassai Blue” could serve as another opportunity to popularize sake.      


日本酒に限らず、日本では酒税法で定められた酒類を製造するには、酒類の製造免許が必要である。酒税法では、「酒類を製造しようとする者は、政令で定める手続により、製造しようとする酒類の種類別(品目 のある種類の酒類については、品目別)に、製造場ごとに免許を受けなければならない」と定めている。たとえば、清酒(日本酒)の製造免許を受けるためには、あらかじめ、 ①製造者の氏名または名称(法人の場合)、②製造場の所在地、③製造しようとする酒類の種類(清酒)、④製造方法、⑤免許を受けた後一年間の製造見込数量、などを記載した申請書を当該税務署長に提出しなければならない。また、同酒税法では、法定製造数量を定めている。これは、免許を受けようとする製造場での一年間の製造見込数量が、一定の数量以上でないと認可されないというもので、清酒の場合は60 klである。酒母、もろみは、そのままでは酒税法上の酒類に は該当しないが、酒類製造での必須原料であるばかりでなく、とくにもろ みは、そのままの状態で「濁酒(どぶろく)」としての飲用も可能なため、 密造防止等の見地からも免許制度が採用されているという。なお、麹の製造については、密造酒が著しく減少したことを背景に、昭和51年1月 に免許制度からはずされている。 このように、酒造りが免許制になっているのは、高率の酒税が課税されている酒類が、国家財政上重要な物資であるからだ。かりに免許制度を廃止すると、製造者の乱立などによって酒税の確保に支障を来す恐れがある。 とくに、弱小の酒類製造者の乱立は混乱を招く可能性が強い。製造数量の最低限度を設けているのは、そのためである。また、酒類の品質の保持や、国民の保健衛生上の見地からも、免許制度の意義は大きいとされる。 酒類製造に対して免許制度が導入されたのは明治13年からだが、その後の酒税法改正でも制度は維持され今日に至っている。


#alljapannews #brewing #dassai #gekkeikan #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #ozeki #sake #shochikubai


Sake Nation “First Sake Sampling Event Overseas in a Long Time - Part 4: San Fransisco”

By Kosuke Kuji

After the sake sampling event in Hawaii, I’m heading next to San Francisco in the U.S. mainland.  

My flight from Hawaii lasted just over five hours. I had forgotten that five or six hours of domestic travel time is normal in the states, which made it hard for me to relax during my flight. However, I arrived safely in San Francisco. 

“N.A. Sales Co., Inc.,” a distributor of sake Nanbu Bijin (“Southern Beauty”) in San Francisco, organized the restaurant expo at The Westin Los Angeles Airport for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Sake manufacturers and breweries from Hawaii attended, along with breweries from Fukushima prefecture that missed the event in Hawaii but chose to attend the event in San Francisco with great motivation. The cost of living is known to be high in San Francisco, where the economy is not doing well. 

Some areas are known to be dangerous, so I was warned not to stay out and drink late. 

I was under the impression the economy was good in the U.S., and everyone is doing well, which I learned was false. I felt anxious from learning the truth, but my anxiety was quickly dispelled once the sampling event started. Many restaurant professionals attended and sampled the sake, with many restaurants adding the sake to their menu. I feel Japanese cuisine will continue to expand in the Bay Area. 

酒豪大陸「久しぶりの海外での試飲会 その4 サンフランシスコ」







#alljapannews #bayarea #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #sanfransisco


Strive to become sake ambassadors with a thorough knowledge of Japanese sake 

Chapter 1: Secrets to readily enjoy sake 

Many consumers say labels on sake bottles are not sufficient to select one product over another. 

Wine and liquor are made from sugar in wine grapes fermented into alcohol. 

Beer is made from fermented barley and water, while sake is made from fermented rice and water.  

Sake is brewed from rice, water, fermentation, the climate, and the highly technical skills of the Toji (master brewer), brewery, and brewery workers. 

Sake is enjoyed chilled or warm, compatible with various foods.  

A full-bodied beverage containing amino acids, sake is highly effective to clear the skin. Reflecting the characteristics of each region, sake is a special beverage made from high-quality food ingredients, served as a sacred offering to deities. 

The techniques of the artisans are evident as an added value to sake. 


4 types of sake 

Sake is categorized into four types: Aromatic Sake, Refreshing Sake, Pure Sake, and Mellow Sake. 

This report introduces two of the sake types. 

Aromatic Sake: Mainly Daiginjo and Ginjo-type sake.

In season: Spring to summer 

Serving temperature: Approximately 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), even if served chilled  

Drinking vessel: Wine glass 

Compatible dish: Marinated octopus 

Refreshing Sake: Light and smooth, non-premium sake. 

In season: Summer 

Serving temperature: Thoroughly chilled or warm    

Drinking vessel: Small glass 

Compatible dish: Chilled tofu, basically compatible with any food.




醸造酒 、ワイン ぶどうに含まれている糖分をそのままアルコール発酵




アミノ酸を含むコクのある飲料、美肌効果も高い。各地域の特徴を反映、神様に捧げる聖なる液体で高価な原料から作られる特別な酒、匠の技 付加価値のある酒



薫酒 主に大吟醸、吟醸系。





爽酒 軽快でなめらか 普通酒。 




#alljapannews #ambassadors #glass #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Tokyo officially welcomed summer in July. I exhibited a booth to showcase sake at a social gathering during the Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit 2023 (The 28th Tokyo Management Research Conference), as requested by the All Japan Committee of the Associations of Small-and Medium-Size Enterprises that aids small and medium-sized business owners to interact with owners of companies in other industries to encourage members to consult with each other, study together, and create competitive companies and business environments.

Approximately thirty branch offices by region are normally active, mostly within their branch offices. Once a year, however, a branch office in Tokyo gathers to rent out the thirtieth floor of the Shinjuku NS building and invite approximately 300 members to participate, deepen friendships, and learn together during the Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit.  

Various study sessions and seminars are held throughout the day that concludes with a social gathering. I was requested to exhibit and serve sake to share my expertise on sake during this social gathering. I was grateful for this opportunity as I had no lecture or exhibit at large-scale events to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Shinjuku NS Building was close by, only fifteen minutes from my sake shop. 

I prepared ten 1,800 ml bottles of summer sake products and arranged for a sales representative to bring Nagatoro Gura by Fujisaki Sobei Shoten as the special sake of the day and entered the venue. In the largest conference room on the thirtieth floor was a large booth prepared as the main feature of the social gathering. I was surprised by the large scale of this social gathering, but also felt excitement I hadn’t felt in a while.   

Guests gradually started to fill the venue and the social gathering kicked off at 6:00 PM. Bottled beer was placed at each buffet-style table where guests were seated, with catered snacks placed at the center of the venue. Wary to approach the catered snacks at first, a crowd quickly formed where I introduced ten brands of sake products as I poured glasses.  

I glanced over my shoulder to see a crowd gather before the sake brewery and sake booths packed with guests, who asked questions about sake and my sake shop with some questions directed at me, which helped to advertise our business effectively. This opportunity helped me to observe and gather data on which sake guests select at first glance based on introductions, which sake captivated the guests’ attention, and sample repeatedly, valuable information for future product development with sake breweries. The executive director who organized this event seemed pleased, and the exhibit ended with success. I returned to the shop, cleaned up, and happily headed out for a drink to celebrate.  




#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Sake Nation “First Sake Sampling Event Overseas in a Long Time - Part II: Hawaii Island”

By Kosuke Kuji

During my past visits to Hawaii, I’ve always stayed in Honolulu. During this trip, I ventured out and visited the Big Island.

Hawaiʻi Island is home to “Islander Sake Brewery” founded by Chiaki Takahashi, a former researcher with the National Research Institute of Brewing.  

First opened in Honolulu, the brewery relocated to Hawaiʻi Island to brew sake in the breezes of Hawaii at the mecca of the winds of Hawaiʻi.   

When Takahashi-san was opening the Islander Sake Brewery, I was involved in exchanging technical information with a Nanbu Toji (Master Brewer) due to my long-standing friendship with Takahashi-san, and remain a supporter to date. 

To attend a sampling event at the Islander Sake Brewery during this trip, I brought my own brand of sake brewed in Japan for local brewing technology experts and customers to sample and compare against jizake (local sake) brewed by Islander Sake Brewery.   

Even to a Japan-based sake brewer like me, the high quality of jizake flavor brewed by Islander Sake Brewery is comparable to jizake brewed at a brewery in Japan.   

I greatly admire Takahashi-san’s ability to brew jizake to this quality without a manufacturing facility used in Japan. 

Islander Sake Brewery orders sake rice from Japan, thoroughly capitalizing on the advantages reflected in the flavor that stands out from SAKE brewed in the U.S. mainland. 

Cost wise, I felt there are sufficient advantages in purchasing sake rice from Japan if the cost isn’t different from purchasing sake rice from the U.S. mainland. 

SAKE brewed in the breezes of Hawaii. I will continue supporting sake brewed by Islander Sake Brewery. 

酒豪大陸「久しぶりの海外での試飲会 その3 ハワイ島」










#alljapannews #flavor #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Sake Consumption during the Showa Period (1926-1989)

However, the quality of Japanese sake was reviewed in the late 1960s, and consumers crusaded to demand the content of sake be labeled, as sake brewers started to actively brew “Honjozo” and “Junmai” sake.  

Also, the assignment of quota on sake rice was abolished, and various sake similar to wine and carbonated sake were released. Since enjoying peak sales in the late 1960s, sake sales slumped due to the increasing popularity of whiskey, beer, wine, and shochu. Although sake consumption is declining in Japan, each sake producer is engaging in various efforts to improve quality and diversify containers, while releasing a line-up of various sake products such as draft sake and Ginjo sake to increase sales. 

Adding preservatives to sake was banned in 1983, and The Sake Grading System of Japan was ended in April 1992. Since then, premium sake such as Daiginjo sake and Ginjo sake became mainstream and local sake increased in popularity. As more Japanese restaurants opened overseas, the sake boom was ignited in the U.S. Sake sales in the U.S. market, where many consumers enjoy wine, transition around ten percent in growth rate each year.   




#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling: (Sake Nagatoro Gura Paired with Teppanyaki)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The rainy season started in Tokyo. Just when the rain was expected to continue, the weather suddenly turned scorching hot. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, an umbrella ultimately comes in handy in early summer, when teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in the Nakano ward of Tokyo held a pairing event serving teppanyaki cuisine paired with sake from the Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery based in Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture.  

As reported previously, Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery brewed sake in collaboration with merchants from Omni (modern-day Hino town, Gamo district of Shiga prefecture) and master sake brewers? from the Echigo province (modern-day Niigata prefecture). The brewery eventually relocated to Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture to access pure water used to mainly brew small volumes of “Nagatoro Gura” - a fragrant, non-filtered, and unprocessed sake.  

Sake “Nagotoro Gura” was noticed by the owner of teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in Tokyo, the venue of the pairing event. On this day, a sales representative of Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery elaborated on the sake product, followed by a special full-course dinner prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 

The special full-course dinner started with two appetizers, “Tofu Paste with Fruits” and “Seasonal Vegetables Marinated in a Spicy Sauce,” followed by “Oyama Fried Chicken with Apricot Chutney,” “Cod Meuniere and New Potato Potage,” “Gyoza Dumpling filled with Minced Duck and Crown Daisy, served with Coconut Vinegar Soy Sauce,” “Kure’s Navy Style Braised Beef and Potatoes with Tomato Farcies,” “Okonomiyaki (prepared specially for this event) with Musashi Barley Pork,” all delicious menu selections that compliment the flavor of sake. Lastly, the meal concluded with dessert, “Monaka Catalana with Sake Lees Sauce.” I later learned the owner personally headed to Nagatoro town to purchase produce and other ingredients other than meat that further enhances the paired flavors.     

This thoughtfully prepared menu was paired with four sake selections: “Nagatoro Gura Non-filtered Unprocessed Cloudy Sake” with sufficient carbonation, “Nagatoro Gura Junmai Ginjo Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with fragrances of apple and pear, “Nagatoro Junmai Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with refreshing fragrances of banana and pineapple, and “Nagatoro Pasteurized Junmai” with a gentle fragrance capitalizing on the characteristics of sake rice Sake Musashi, harvested in Saitama prefecture. 

The sake selections that pair well with fruits and vegetables left a refreshing aftertaste, even after the meat dishes were finished. Guests seemed quite content from enjoying sake products by Nagatoro Gura Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery, not readily available outside of Saitama prefecture; paired with delicious cuisine prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 



#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


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