High-grade Sake Produced in Villages

In the Yuryaku Records of the “Kojiki” (Records of Ancient Matters), the villages listed include Takaichi of Wa, Karunoichi of Yamato, and Ekanoichi of Kawaschi.
Also, the “Nihonshoki” (the Chronicles of Japan) included descriptions about high-grade sake from Ekanoichi and Kibi, also consumed among commoners by the end of the 5th century.
According to records, “Sumizuke” is approximately 2.4 times the price of rice, while “Kozake” is 1.4 times the price of rice, and both “Nigorizake” and “Shirozake” were the same price as rice.
Also, sake breweries in Ukyo, Sakyo, Nanihatsu, and Yamazakinotsu were closed due to water damage in 806, when sake production and sales were prohibited.

Sake of the Imperial court
According to the “Ryounogige” (A Commentary on the Code of Discipline), sake produced in the Imperial court was brewed in a public office for sake production, restricted to 75 workers under the chief and 185 vendors in the Yamato-kawachi region.
Of the sake produced there, “Sumizake” is sake was produced by filtering fermentation-mash through a cloth, mainly served during official banquets in the Imperial court and as offering from high-ranking officials, while lower-ranking officials and laborers were served lower-grade sake such as “Nigorizake,” etc.
For example, if an administrative official overseeing a region is served 60 oz. of “Sumizake,” their attendants are served 18~24 oz. of “Nigorizake.”

また、大同1年(806) には水害のため、右京・左京・難波津・山崎津の酒屋の甕を封じて、濁酒の製造、販売を禁止しました。


#japan #nigori #nigorizake #sake #sumizake #yamato


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (New Sake Product Introduced from Saitama Prefecture: Part 2)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The previous report featured the “Fujisaki Sobei Shoten.” I’m sure some readers may think traveling to Nagatoro-machi (town) just to visit the Nagatoro-gura brewery is a long way to go.
I recommend traveling by car to visit the Nagatoro-gura brewery. Readers may not recommend driving since the purpose of this trip is to sample sake. However, only a few sake selections will be sampled in low volumes, not to mention sake sampling may not be possible if the sales section is busy. Sake is packaged in small cups and bottles, so purchasing small bottles of sake to savor at home is recommended to make the most of the visit to Nagatoro-machi. If driving, take the Kan-Etsu Expressway Hanazono Interchange via National route 140 to arrive in Nagatoro-machi.
Following one turn in front of the subway station, the Nagatoro-gura sign becomes visible. The route is very simple, even an inexperienced driver can easily reach the destination. The brewery offers a spacious parking area. Be careful not to arrive too early, the store does not open until 11:00 AM. The visit to the sake brewery will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes without shopping at the store, which would take approximately 30 minutes total. Inside the brewery is visible through glass windows looking into the koji room and the steaming basket, not very spacious to call it a brewery tour.
Visiting restaurants and souvenir shops with sake in hand purchased at the brewery poses a challenge, while driving is convenient to leave your luggage in the car to choose between soba (buckwheat) vs. udon (wheat) noodles, pork cutlet, or pork with miso sauce for lunch. My recommendation is the pork cutlet. Two pieces of thin, elliptical shaped pork cutlet approximately 8 inches thick are served on a bowl of rice, topped with a sweet-and-spicy sauce; a local specialty dish in both Chichibu city and Nagatoro-machi. The flavor is similar to pork cutlet with sauce served in Ojiya city, Niigata prefecture. I recommend udon noodles for visitors who wish to avoid fried foods.
Although the mountains of Kanto region may bring soba (buckwheat) noodles to mind, udon (wheat) noodles are long established in this Chichibu city area as suggested in the many udon noodle shops visible from the Hanazono Interchange to Chichibu city. Udon noodles in this region are thin and boiled harder (firmer) than Sanuki udon. Parked in front of the subway station, I strolled down the quiet but elegant street down the Arakawa River to the rafting relay point in Iwadatami to visit the shopping district lined by souvenir shops to aid digestion.
Once I reach the river, I can go rafting or enjoy a canoe ride. Just viewing the beautiful scenic river view is satisfying. The roadside station selling local specialties such as produce and pickled vegetables is only 5 minutes in driving distance. Therefore, I could shop and stroll further down to visit the Chichibu Dam or the fall. Why not get away from the bustling city to cool off in Chichibu city and Nagatoro-machi?

*Michinoeki (Roadside Station)
Michi-no-eki, or roadside stations, are government-designated rest stops along roads and highways. Approximately 1,134 stations operate nationwide, increasing each year. These designated rest stops offer travelers places to rest, regional exchange, and spot sales of local products.

東京地酒散歩(埼玉県の新たな酒 2)


#japan #jizake #michinoeki #saitama #sake


Find your favorite sake

By Yuji Matsumoto

Sake is a beverage of preference. However, “delicious” sake all have common universal traits.
The flavors can be characterized as follows:
• Sweetness
• Acidity
• Saltiness
• Bitterness
• Umami

In terms of food preparation, the common factor that creates a “delicious” taste for consumers is the balance between these flavors. “Preference” refers to this balance being achieved first, followed by one’s preferred flavor, such as ‘sweetness,’ being slightly stronger than the other four characteristics.
The same can be said about sake. Sake flavors are evaluated based on how well-balanced these flavors (saltiness mostly does not exist in sake) are. With sake, sweetness and acidity are easily detected with the first sip. However, “umami” flavor is an underlying taste, mostly detected as an aftertaste or when passing the tongue.
Some curious brands of (low-rated) sake have unbalanced flavors, where one flavor is strongly notable while lacking another.
Those who prefer dry, but well-balanced sake might enjoy the acidity upon swallowing the sake, while enjoying the short aftertaste that lingers on the palate; while those who prefer sweet flavors may likely enjoy sake with a fruity note and a mellow flavor with a long-lasting finish.
The most important training is to determine your own axis of flavors, best accomplished by enjoying a wide range of sake, and enjoying the same brand of sake over a period of time.



#flavor #japanesefood #sake #sweetness #umami


Sake Nation “Sake Brewery and Fire: Part 2”

By Kosuke Kuji

The previous issue covered how the Yuki Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. in Ibaragi prefecture burnt down.
The greatest concern for any sake brewery pertaining to fire hazards is the fire may spread to nearby private homes and corporations.
Fortunately, this has not been an issue with fires in recent years as sake breweries expanded their premises.
The next concern is old buildings on the brewery premises could quickly burn down in case of a fire. The storage house, etc., is especially filled with yeast. Burning down all these microorganisms cultured over time is another concern.
Although money can be spent to build a new brewery, all the microorganisms that lived in the brewery up to the fire cannot be revived, a significant loss.
Further, some sake products may survive the fire. Could sake products recovered from a fire be sold? There was no place to store sake products miraculously recovered from the fire when the Yuki Sake Brewery burned down.
Thankfully, a neighboring brewery kindly volunteered to store the recovered sake products.
Further, the clean-up after a fire is also challenging. Thankfully, aspiring sake brewers and fans volunteered from nationwide to help the brewery’s clean-up efforts, which offered another insight into the beauty of how the Japanese are connected through sake.

*The Sake Brewers Association is collecting donations for Yuki Sake Brewery Co., LTD.
To donate, please reference the information below:
Bank Name: The Joyo Bank, Ltd. Yuki Branch
Savings Account #1502819
Account Name: Shinketsu-Shuzo-Kumiai



常陽銀行 結城支店
普通 1502819
真結酒造組合 (シンケツシュゾウクミアイ)

#Musubiyui #japanesefood #sake #sakebreweries #yukisake


Manyo Sake

Sake brewing technology advanced significantly in the “Manyo Period (629-759)” from the Asuka Period (592~710) into the Nara Period (710-784).
The phrase “Purified Sake” was written on a mokkan (narrow, long, thin pieces of wood strung together to write on in ancient times) that emerged from the Nara Period (710-784).
“Sake” during this period is thought to be of entirely different quality from modern-day sake. Fermentation-mash was squeezed in a bag, supernatant, and clear; thus referred to by this term.
Of course, such sake was enjoyed only among a small population of aristocrats, while the general population drank cloudy sake.

Sake for the Masses

The year after the Taika Reform (645), “alcohol prohibition” targeting farmers was officially announced.
“Alcohol prohibition” repeatedly announced since between the 8th ~ early 9th centuries indicate farmers also had numerous opportunities to consume cloudy alcohol, homemade or purchased at the market.

Most of the poor consumed “Kasu yuzake” to survive the cold, as described in poems by Okura Yamanoue in “Manyoshu” (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves,” Japan’s oldest anthology of tanka poems).

*“Kasu Yuizake”: A beverage consisting of sake lees dissolved in water, high in yeast content and very nutritious


大化の改新(645) の翌年、農民に対する「魚酒禁令(ぎょしゅきんしれい)」が初めて公布さた。

#Manyo #Sake #asuka #japanesefood #japanesehistory


  • ブログルメンバーの方は下記のページからログインをお願いいたします。
  • まだブログルのメンバーでない方は下記のページから登録をお願いいたします。