Ichishima Sake Brewery
ICHISHIMA SHUZO, a sake brewery located in Shibata city in Niigata Prefecture
Moving out from the head family, the first owner set up a branch family in 1790s and started sake production. It has a long history of tradition of over 200 years.
Tradition cherished by ICHISHIMA SHUZO
We are happy to introduce the history of ICHISHIMA SHUZO and what it has accomplished.
What we value is harmony. Our tradition says that “Harmony produces good sake”.
Production of good and tasteful sake starts with selecting materials such as rice and water.
We quest for the best taste by combining excellent materials, our local climate and the skills we have obtained over the years.
We care about rice.
We use mainly ‘Gohyakumangoku’ produced in Niigata prefecture as material rice for sake. It is Niigata’s representative sake-brewing suitable rice and suits tanrei, crispy and dry taste of Niigata’s sake. Additionally, we use new sake rice, ‘Koshitanrei’ which was newly born in Niigata to brew high quality sake.
We care about water.
We use good soft water peculiar to Niigata taken from the Kaji River which flows in northern part of Echigo area. This soft water helps our sake brew slowly to be of good quality.
We care about people.
Skills are essential to making Niigata’s sake. Needless to mention our toji, brew master, Takeshi TANAKA, all other kurabito, workers engaged in sake production have the first-grade license for sake brewer. They devote themselves to producing the best possible sake. They are from local Agakita district of Niigata. Our sake is literal local sake. It is produced by local people from locally produced rice.
We care about environment.
Echigo plain is one of the best places for rice production in Japan. Located in its northern part, ICHISHIMA SHUZO makes sake with soft ground water taken from the Kaji river which flows from Iide-sankei mountain range.
In winter when we are engaged in sake production, we have moderate snowfall. The clean air and low temperature bring about the environment most suitable for sake production which needs long-time fermentation at a low temperature.
New Arrival Information & Event Information
August 06, 2020
February 12, 2020
October 12, 2018
Sake Brewery Located in Shibata City, Niigata Prefecture
ICHISHIMA SHUZO has a long history of over 200 years. It was founded in 1790s when the founder moved out from the head family.
History of ICHISHIMA SHUZO
Stored items showing the history of sake production and the ICHISHIMA family are exhibited.
Nostalgic View Welcomes You
Sake production tools of the old days when sake was sold by measure and wares such as vases, tokkuri (sake server), sake barrels for celebration are also on exhibition.
Historical Materials of the ICHISHIMA Family
You can feel the historical culture and tradition at the ICHISHIMA Museum.
Documents and Materials Retained Since the First Head, Hidematsu
Items and materials related to the ICHISHIMA family are displayed as well as wedding dresses the brides of the family wore at their weddings in late Edo, Meiji, and Taisho periods.
Maintained Passion for Sake Production
History of the traditional brewery has been taken over to this date. The tools having been actively used for each stage of the process of sake production since the old days are still in use.
Tasteful Japanese Café, “Ochadokoro Ichishima”
At “Ochadokoro Ichishima” you can enjoy meals, ICHISHIMA SHUZO’s brand sake and Japanese tea in a beautiful Japanese garden.
Relaxation in a Traditional Japanese Room
Our traditional Japanese-style architecture will make you feel nostalgic.
Fully Enjoy the ICHISHIMA SHUZO’s Sake
You can taste seven or eight kinds of ICHISHIMA SHUZO’s sake at any time for free, such as the popular Daiginjo, Junmaiginjo, flesh Ume-shu made of Japanese sake, and occasionally seasonal limited sake. You can buy any that suits your taste.
’Sweetness' and 'softness' we value in our sake
My mother’s parents’ home runs a sake shop and has a business relationship with ICHISHIMA SHUZO. Such relationship brought me to enter ICHISHIMA SHUZO in 1986 just after graduation from high school. In July of the same year I entered Niigata Sake School to learn the basics of brewing skills. Since then I have been engaged in producing sake. I have been working as toji, my current position since 2003.
I think that our previous toji before last, Mr. SODA who worked as toji when I entered ICHISHIMA SHUZO established the base of the current ICHISHIMA’s sake. Since then, we have kept in our mind that we should maintain ‘sweetness’ and ‘softness’ in brewing sake. Our brewery was drawing attention as the one which had the first female sake brewer with the first-grade license. The image of having a female brewer might have reflected in our sake.
Sticking to the basics, we continue to produce sake in natural environment.
In the third year after I became toji, our sake won a prize on Zenkoku Shinshu Kanpyoukai, National New Sake Appraising and Deliberating Fair. It was awarded a gold prize from the fourth year for five consecutive years. This experience greatly influenced on our current ICHISHIMA’s sake. Firstly, I was talked to by senior toji from other breweries oftener than before and had more sake professionals around me to consult with about sake production. Secondly, I had more opportunities to visit various breweries in person. I came to get new information different from old one. Consequently, I realized that making koji, malted rice is most important because it is the starting point of sake production.
There is a phrase expressing sake production, ‘First, koji(yeast); second, moto(yeast mash); third, tsukuri(production).’ It expresses the essential process of sake production. Observing and listening to other workers, I have realized how important it is to produce sake in natural environment sticking to the basics.
Toji, ICHISHIMA SHUZO
Information for Kura Visit
Opening Hours for Kura Visit
Admission fee : Free
Tasting sake : Free
※Reservation is not necessary.
Please come to YUME-KURA (ICHISHIMA SHUZO's shop) for signing up.
※Reservation is requested for a group visit of over 10 people. Please contact us by 1 week to 3 months before your visit.
Outline of the company
|Company||Ichishima Sake Brewery|
Suwa 3-1-17 Shibata City, Niigata
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Founded in 1873, UONUMA SHUZO has a history of 130 years. “TENJINBAYASHI” is UONUMA SHUZO’s brand sake which is made by Uonuma locals from water and rice obtained in Uonuma. Tenjinbayashi is a cerebration song which has been handed down since the old days in the Tsumari area (Tokamachi city and Tsunan town in Niigata prefecture). It is said to have been originally a Shinto song to pray for rich rice harvest.
This area used to be a town which had many inns for travelers to stay for rest on their way to their destinations. The first head of the SASAGUCHI family used to run an Ocha-ya, Japanese old café, where sake was sold like hot cakes. Then they thought of producing sake themselves and started it. The brewery started with the name, “SASAGUCHI SHUZOTEN” after the family name of the founder.
We have a history of 118 years since the foundation. SASAIWAI SHUZO has developed and is still developing with the local culture. While producing sake, we make a part of our brewery open to the public to act as a storyteller of the local history.
SASAIWAI SHUZO makes it a rule to pray for good and safe sake production on a lucky day on the Japanese calendar in the middle of October each year. In principle, we should have a Shinto priest pray for us. But as our Buddhist denomination, Shingon-shu, which Kukai spread, admits the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism, our temple priest can handle Shinto exercises. Therefore, we ask him to pray for safety at our brewery’s Shinto altar before we start sake production each year.