A Voice from Omachi Rice farmer



My grandfather started growing rice on this land about 50 years ago, and I started growing rice here 12 years ago.

MCharacteristics of the Omachi Strain of Rice

The common rice of today are modified strains that are easy to grow for farmers. On the other hand, Omachi is an old strain of rice from more than 150 years ago, so strain improvements have not been performed. As a result, the rice stalks are tall, and if too much fertilizer is used the stalks fall and are easily damaged, so compared to other strains of rice it’s very difficult to grow. However, successfully growing a difficult strain rice is where the grower can show his strength, and this is interesting to me.

About Sake made with Omachi Rice

Regarding sake made with Omachi rice, I personally think that sake that has been allowed to rest for a while and develop flavor is the most delicious.

Production Area and Cultivation

The Saidaiji area in Okayama Prefecture is unusual throughout Japan in that seedlings are not sprouted and then later planted into the field, but rather the rice seeds are sown directly into the field in this region. With this method, only the strongest germinated seeds sprout and survive. These sprouts are raised to be rice for sake making, and the seeds are sprouted expressly for the purpose of becoming sake.

The History of Omachi Rice

The variety Omachi was discovered by chance on the return road from Daisen1 mountain, and was carried back to the Takashima2 area of Okayama Prefecture; this was the beginning of cultivation of this strain. Even now, there is an area near the Takashima region of Okayama City named “Omachi”. Omachi rice is cultivated every year in Okayama Prefecture, and has been cultivated so long since old times that it has become the name of an area. There is only one harvest per year, but when I think that Omachi has been grown here in the same way for 50 years, for a hundred years, it’s really quite a moving thing. Also, as a rice that has been continued to be cultivated from long ago, I’m thankful that we can continue to grow it. Successfully using a unique method called “jika-maki”3, I believe that we can grow good quality Omachi rice.

Relationship with a Well-Known Rice for Sake-Making

Yamada-nishiki and Gohyaku-mangoku are strains of rice that are like the child or grandchild of Omachi rice, so it’s likely that they may not have been developed had Omachi not been cultivated.

The Future of Japanese Sake

My wish is that there could be a sake like never before; then things would be even more interesting. I would like to drink a delicious sake, the likes of which have not been made before.

  • 1 Daisen: a well-known mountain in Tottori Prefecture
  • 2 Takashima: a place name in Okayama Prefecture
  • 3 “Jika-maki”: a cultivation method in which seeds are sown directly into the ground rather than a nursery bed

Omachi Rice / Omayama Sake


< John Thomas Wells

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