Japanese sake

Japanese sake

Rice is the Japanese people's staple food. People have loved Japanese sake made from rice for over 1,000 years. Enjoying Japanese sake is a part of enjoying Japanese culture.

Processes of Japanese sake making

Sake is brewed liquor made from rice fermented through various stages.
Sake making starts with the polishing and steaming of brown rice. Rice malt is made from steamed rice added with aspergillus. Then the rice malt is added to the sake mash and unrefined sake for the conversion of the rice starch into sugar. Sake mash, which is made from steamed rice, water, and rice malt added to yeast, is a large quantity of cultured yeast for promoting the fermentation of unrefined sake.
Japanese sake is characterized by multiple parallel fermentation, i.e., the saccharification and fermentation of unrefined sake take place simultaneously in the same cask. Sake mash is added to malted rice, steamed rice, and water to make unrefined sake. Japanese sake is processed in three stages. The fermentation of unrefined sake will take 20 days. Then the unrefined sake is squeezed into new sake.

Processes of Japanese sake making
Processes of Japanese sake making 1 Processes of Japanese sake making 2 Processes of Japanese sake making 3

Types of Japanese sake

There are different kinds of Japanese sake classified by rice or production method, and the following kinds of Japanese sake are called tokutei meisho shu (sake with a specific class name).

Classification Features
Ginjoshu A type of sake brewed from rice grains polished to 60% weight or less. It is delicate and has a fruity fragrance. Super high-quality sake brewed from rice grains polished to 50% weight or less is called daiginjoshu.
Junmaishu A type of sake made with rice and malted rice. It has a well-developed taste.
Honjozoshu A type of sake brewed from rice grains polished to 70% or below. It tastes light.

There are four types of Japanese sake classified by taste or fragrance. Each type is enjoyed differently.

Classification Features Drinking temperature Examples of dishes that go well with with sake
Kunshu A very fragrant type of sake.
Good as a pre-dinner drink.
10°C to 16°C Dishes made from plain foodstuffs with refreshing flavors. E.g., white fish sashimi and boiled wild plants.
Soshu A type of sake that is light and smooth. 6°C to 10°C Soshu goes well with any kind of food, but it goes best with light dishes, such as cold tofu and sweet fish grilled with salt.
Junshu A full-bodied type of sake 10°C to 45°C Strongly flavored dishes and delicacies, such as fish and other food boiled or stewed and shuto (salted and fermented seafood).
Jukushu A matured type of sake. 7°C to 25°C Fatty food or strong-tasting food, Fatty food or strong-tasting food, such as broiled eels and pork squares seasoned in soy and vegetable sauce.

Information provided by Saitama Sake Brewery Association

Saitama's sake

Saitama Prefecture has 35 sake breweries, each of which has a long tradition and has been making Japanese sake by making use of the characteristics of the local area.
Saitama is one of the greatest places for sake production. It took fourth place in the ranking of prefectures with the greatest amount of sake shipments (from January to September 2011).
Rice and water are essential to sake brewing. Water, in particular, is an important ingredient that occupies 80% of Japanese sake. Saitama has two great rivers, i.e., the Tone River and the Arakawa River. The list of 100 most exquisite and well-conserved waters of the Heisei period, as selected by the Ministry of the Environment, includes four water sources in Saitama. Saitama is a prefecture with clear water, and inevitably it is blessed with rich subsoil water of good quality.
Brewer's rice is officially shuzo kotekimai (rice suitable for brewing sake) or jozoyo genmai (unpolished rice for brewing) which require specific qualities and are distinguished from ordinary food rice or general-purpose rice. Brewer's rice has been researched in Saitama Prefecture for many years, ultimately resulting in the creation of, Sake Mushi, Saitama's unique brewer's rice.
Furthermore, there are many sake breweries that accept visitors on tour or have resource centers where sake brewing equipment is exhibited. You can enjoy Saitama's sake, made from water obtained from the richness of nature and rice produced by the passion of the people, there.

Saitama's sake 1
Saitama's sake 2
Saitama's sake 3
Coverage cooperation
Igarashi Shuzo (Hanno City) Suzuki Shuzo (Saitama City) Seiun Shuzo (Ogawa Town)

List of Saitama's Japanese Sake Labels

Northern Chichibu area

Chichibunishiki Mukomasamune Chichibu Kikusui Tenjin Naozane
(Chichibu City)
(Chichibu City)
Chichibu Kikusui
(Chichibu City)
(Misato Town)
(Kumagaya City)
Azumashiragiku Kikuizumi Hakusen Kindaiboshimasamune Haregikubushu
(Fukaya City)
(Fukaya City)
(Yorii Town)
(Fukaya City)
(Hanyu City)
King Jozo Masukawa Nihonbashi Hanaabi Hanabishi
King Jozo
(Hanyu City)
(Gyoda City)
(Gyoda City)
(Hanyu City)
(Kazo City)
(Kazo City)

Western area

Biwanosazanami Ogose Bairin Komao Tenranzan Arimanishiki
(Moroyama Town)
Ogose Bairin
(Ogose Town)
(Hidaka City)
(Hanno City)
(Hanno City)
Kagamiyama Musashizuru Seiun Mikadomatsu
(Kawagoe City)
(Ogawa Town)
(Ogawa Town)
(Ogawa Town)

Central area

Asahimasamune Kokonoezakura Kinmonsekaitaka Bunraku
(Saitama City)
(Saitama City)
(Saitama City)
(Ageo City)
(Saitama City)

Eastern area

Shinkame Seiryu Kambai Homei Sugitojuku
(Hasuda City)
(Hasuda City)
(Kuki City)
(Satte City)
(Sugito Town)