Nada in Hyogo Prefecture, Fushimi in Kyoto Prefecture, and Saijo in Hiroshima Prefecture are known as the best sake producing towns in Japan. So, Higashihiroshima City is known across Japan for sake production.
Many sake breweries with white walls and brick chimneys can be found near JR Saijo Station. Well water, needed to make delicious sake, also bubbles up here.
Sake has been produced in Saijo for over 300 years, using delicious rice and water.
Sake breweries and chimneys
Delicious well water
To make delicious sake
|Why sake production flourished in Saijo|
|Conditions needed for sake production|
|◇||Water without iron|
|Rain that falls on Mount Ryuo flows out as ground water after 15 years. This water does not contain iron and is rich in nutrients.|
|The temperature from November to March is about 2℃ lower than in Hiroshima City.|
|◇||Rice suited to sake production (sake rice) |
|Varieties of rice called Hattan and Omachi contain a lot of starch in the core. |
|Benefactor of sake production|
|◇||Research and development to make delicious sake|
|In the early Meiji Period, Hiroshima used to produce sake with a brewing method learned from Nada.However, water in Saijo was different from water in other areas, so Senzaburo Miura and Kiyoshi Hashizume developed a sake production method suited to the local water.|
When conditions for the sake production are met, it is important to carefully brew sake with traditional techniques. The person responsible for brewing is called the master brewer. We interviewed a master brewer about sake production.
Sake brewery where sake is brewed
|Comment from the master brewer |
|To produce sake is to deal with living creatures (microbes), so I take care of them like my own children. Sake is not produced, but nurtured. |
The most difficult task is to adjust the temperature. We have to look after sake even at night. The temperature varies by year, so I use my long experience and instinct.
The Sake Festival is held in front of JR Saijo Station in early October every year. The two-day Sake Festival is very lively, attracting over 200,000 visitors from around Japan.
Let’s hope the traditional sake production in Saijo will be preserved and enjoyed by many people around Japan.
The lively town during the Sake Festival
|Sake production requires traditional techniques. I want to visit sake breweries. |