OKAYAMA SAKE

An outline of Okayama sake made with Omachi rice

“Good rice, good skill, good water” are the three conditions necessary to make good sake. Good water makes good rice. In the northernmost area of Okayama, three main rivers flow south, providing an inexhaustible supply of infiltrated subsoil water that is used for sake production. In the ancient text “Harima Fudoki” from the Nara period (8th century), Okayama is noted as the birthplace of sake. A high level of craftsmanship for brewing delicious sake has been fostered in this area, historically and currently. And, Omachi rice, which is the best rice suitable for sake production, was discovered and developed in the Okayama area over 100 years ago. Okayama sake made from Omachi rice is fragrant and has a mellow taste.

Omachi rice

Characteristics of Omachi rice

The roots of Omachi rice lie in Omachi Village (current day Okayama City) with the progressive farmer Jinzo Kishimoto, who planted some stalks of the rice in 1859. As a rice suitable for sake production, only Omachi rice has been cultivated for over 100 years and has received excellent reviews from sake brewers. It is a large-grained variety of rice that allows the hyphae of koji mold to penetrate easily to the core. Among consumers, there are many fans of sake brewed from Omachi rice as it has a special subtle and smooth flavor. If compared to the dry, crisp sake make from Yamada Nishiki rice, sake made from Omachi rice has a rich, thick flavor.

About Toji master brewers

Toji master

What is a master brewer?
His/her roles.

The Toji, or master brewer, is the person ultimately responsible for sake brewing. Knowledge of fermentation and brewing, and sake brewing skills due to extensive experience are a given; the Toji should also have a command of the complicated process of sake brewing in regards to the many people and steps involved, good decision-making and management skills, and should be a trustworthy person. Since the old days, Okayama has been known as “the county of delicious sake” and has fostered the growth of many sake artisans; there is mention of brewers in late 16th century records. In the 17th century Yajibei Asano, who was a forefather of the Toji, lead the way for the demand of Bicchu Toji in sake breweries throughout Japan (Bicchu is the old name for the western part of Okayama Prefecture). In 1907 at the first sake competition held in Japan, the outstanding skills of the Bicchu Toji group gained recognition via a 1st prize ranking.

Five Okayama Sake Breweries

Gozen-shu Junmai Mimasaka

Junmai

Tsuji HontenGozenshu
Junmai Mimasaka

The fragrance of this sake rises up gently. Junmai is made to carefully extract the characteristic fragrance and umami flavor from the Omachi rice, while retaining a neat crispness and umami flavor. The storage of this sake has been properly managed; therefore, when chilled, it is easy to drink and refreshing. If slightly warmed, the flavors become rich and mellow. This is a sake that can be paired with both rich and light flavors, suits many dishes and moods, and is a good mealtime sake.

taste

Alcohol content / 14% | Rice-polishing rate / 65% | NET / 720ml

Detail

Futamo: Omachi Rice Tsurushi Bizenyaki Junmai

Junmai

Itano shuzo hontenFutamo: Omachi Rice
Tsurushi Bizenyaki Junmai

From the old days, ‘miso’ paste and vinegar made by placing a piece of Bizenyaki ware in the fermentation tanks has been reputed to be delicious; this sake is made by placing a piece of Bizenyaki ware in the tank of fermentation mash. The result is a semi-dry Junmai sake with exquisitely balanced acidic and umami flavors. This sake can be enjoyed at room temperature, chilled, or on the rocks. It pairs well with Japanese dishes such as sushi and other seafood dishes, and unexpectedly with salads, chocolate, and more. We recommend it as a sake served with meals.

taste

Alcohol content / 15% | Rice-polishing rate / 60% | NET / 500ml

Detail

Taiten Shiragiku Junmai Daiginjo Omachi

Junmai Daiginjo

Shiragiku ShuzoTaiten Shiragiku
Junmai Daiginjo Omachi

A traditional pressing method known as ‘fune-shibori’ is used; then, this special sake made by using especially high quality, undiluted sake that has been pressed again and is called ‘nakatori’, and ripening it with/under low temperature inside the brewery. The result is a sake with a busty, soft taste characterstic of Omachi rice that spreads through one’s mouth. Well chilled, it goes well with white fleshed fish and lightly seasoned dishes. Additionally, the elegant, fruity fragrance of a Daiginjo sake can be enjoyed when the sake, at a temperature of about 15 degrees, is poured into a wine glass and the aroma arises.

taste

Alcohol content / 16.5% | Rice-polishing rate / 50% | NET / 720ml

Detail

Tokubetsu Junmai Omachi

Tokubetsu Junmai

Kikuchi Sake BrewerySanzen
Tokubetsu Junmai Omachi

Cultivation and sake brewing are both difficult, but Omachi (rice) is an important basis to good sake. By insisting on this rare rice, the master brewer is able to fully utilize the master skills of Bitchu-style sake production. The result is a broad, mild sake with umami flavors that is unique to Omachi rice sake. Especially nice as a sake served with meals, it pairs excellently with a variety of dishes. Light, white fleshed fish dishes are a given, but this sake also matches oily blue-backed fish and seasoned meat dishes; it is a fine product that can be enjoyed at a variety of temperatures, chilled or warmed.

taste

Alcohol content / 15-15.9% | Rice-polishing rate / 65% | NET / 1800ml, 720ml

Detail

Kiwami Hijiri Junmai Daiginjo Takashima Omachi

Junmai Daiginjo

Miyashita Sake BreweryKiwami Hijiri Junmai Daiginjo
Takashima Omachi

This sake is made from 100% Takashima Omachi rice. Omachi rice has originated in Okayama City’s Takashima district and started being cultivated at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). Having a gorgeous and elegant fragrance specific to Ginjo sake and a mild, expansive taste are characteristics. Chilled or at room temperatures, a great harmony of flavors fills the mouth when paired with Sawara (mackerel) and other seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. Of course it also pairs superiorly well with richly flavored tuna and sushi, as well as delicious red meats such as beef and more.

taste

Alcohol content / 16-17% | Rice-polishing rate / 38% | NET / 720ml

Detail

< About Bizen Ware

Tsuji Honten >