kirinzan Sake Brewery
While ‘Japanese Sake’ indicates the product made in legally right production method from rice as its raw material, ‘Jizake(local sake)’, I think, is another thing that is made from the rice produced in the homeland of the brewery, with water largely influenced by the land, brewed by the local kurabito, craftmen, and above all, taken as a part of their life by the local people to enrich their daily lives.
KIRINZAN SHUZO is the one that aims to produce such ‘Jizake’.
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KIRINZAN SHUZO in Aga Town in Niigata Prefecture
KIRINZAN SHUZO, located in Aga town, which is famous for Tsugawa Kitsune-no Yomeiri Gyoretsu (fox wedding parade), dates back to 1843 in Edo period. The brewery has a charm of tradition and good taste.
Feeling the Lapse of Time
Old tanks made before the World War Ⅱ are lined in the brewery. Although new tanks are used now, those old ones add a heavy feel to the brewery.
KIRINZAN SHUZO’s consistent production of karakuchi, dry taste sake is sustained in their Koji Production Room which has beautiful grain of wood.
＊Koji is mixture of rice and mold to be used for sake production.
Room for making ‘Shubo (Mother of Sake)’
Shubo Room is the one for controlling yeast mash to increase yeast which makes alcohol in moromi, raw unrefined sake. It is kept at low temperature in order to propagate only yeast and is filled with aroma of yeast mash.
The picture below is a scene during the sake tour designed by the students of Niigata University as a part of a University class subject ‘An Introduction to Local study’ which is offered in cooperation with KIRINZAN SHUZO.
Thorough Quality Management
Construction of their sake storage ‘Hoo-Kura’ was completed in July, 2016. Squeezed raw sake is stored in it to maintain KIRINZAN’s tanrei karakuchi, sharp and dry taste. Continuous supply of quality sake is made possible by keeping the raw sake in this storage.
A Scene on the ‘Hoo-Gura’ Visit
In contrast to traditional saka-guras, sake storages, Hoo-Gura is fully furnished with modern equipments. The students participating in the tour were impressed with its large scale, huge tanks lined in order and complete facilities for quality control.
Sake Production Accompanying the Local Life
With the motto that we should make sake which is loved by local people, we grow sake rice in our hometown, Aga. 100% of our raw material rice is now grown and harvested locally.
The Tokonami River flowing through Aga Town
The Tokonami River flows on the foot of Kirinsan(mountain) which is far behind of the river on the picture below. Ground water filtered by the vast forest of beeches is used for the preparation of our sake production.
Love for Aga Town
As Aga Town is the backbone of KIRINZAN SHUZO, we aim to contribute to our local town through sake production. By making sake at KIRINZAN SHUZO, we want to develop further along with Aga Town rather than to pursue only our profits.
KIRINZAN – Its Traditional and Consistent Tanrei Karakuchi
KIRIZAN’s Jizake is prepared with local rice and water, brewed on a local land, and loved by local people. We would like you to enjoy our tanrei karekuchi, sharp and dry taste, which would never make you tired of drinking it every day.
Born in a family running a sake shop in Sanjo city in Niigata prefecture, I entered a liqure shop in Osaka for training after I graduatied from a high school. As I got interested in Japanese sake there, I came back to Niigata to be engaged in making sake in a brewery for 5 years. As a graduate of an enginnering high school, I tended to think it rewarding that things I make are valued and please people. So I was impressed by sake production which is not mass production but hand-made.
Although I returned home to continue the family business after that, I could not give up my passion for sake production. One day I was told by my friend that I must want to be engaged in sake production. It encouraged me to enter KIRINZAN SHUZO I work for now.
At KIRINZAN SHUZO I was engaged in producing sake for one year, then moved to the sales section, and now work as a managing director. We sell KIRINZAN’s sake forcusing not on ‘quantity’ but on ‘mindfulness’. My mission is to connect those who make sake and those who sell it by having our salesmen mindfully convey our kurabito’s heart and sell our sake to sake shop owners who understand it.
Our KIRINZAN’s sake is made from sake rice locally harvested in Aga town and ground water from the Tokonami River which flows from the local Mikaguradake Mountain. In Aga town, like many other places in Japan, due to the declining birthrate and aging population less young generation carries on farming and more rice fields are abondoned. Because of that, we at KIRINZAN SHUZO, have rent rice fields which would have been abondaned to grow sake rice by ourselves. In addition, we have taken it upon ourselves to engage in some activities for conserving nature of Aga town, such as thinning cryptomeria forests and replanting beeches.
Our sake production is with Aga town in that our sake is made with local rice and water, loved by local people, and it contributes to development of local area. I think it important to develop a mechanism for contributing back to the local area rather than to pursue only our profits.
To grow sake rice in Aga town and to thin cryptomeria forests to plant beeches instead. These activities will lead to conservation of the original landscape of Aga town. We wish to maintain the current landscape of our Aga town as it is forever. With such love for Aga town in our heart, we will continue to work on these activities.
We at KIRINZAN SHUZO will keep our karakuchi, dry taste unchanged as the character of our regular KIRINZAN’s sake and also would like to develop new products for young people and those who seldom drink Japansese sake and to propose how to enjoy drinking sake. For our customers who have already prefered our KIRINZAN we will strive for our ideal sake production to keep our KIRINZAN selected as their regular sake.
Article written by Takumi SATO, College of Creative Studies, Niigata University
Information for Kura Visit
Opening Hours for Kura Visit
※We are sorry that we do not accept visitors to our Kura(brewery).
Thank you for your understanding.
Outline of the company
|Company||kirinzan Sake Brewery|
Tsugawa46, Agamachi, Higashikanbaragun, Niigata