Mansaku no hana (Hinomaru Jozo Co., Ltd.)
Hinomaru Jozo is located in Masudamachi, in Yokote city in the picturesque snow country of Akita, Japan. Akita has long, harsh, snowy winters. In the height of the winter season, Hinomaru Jozo’s touji (sake master) Ryoji Takahashi can be found with his hands buried deep in cold, mashed rice, preparing it for fermentation.
Like many older breweries and distilleries, Hinomaru Jozo follows traditions that date back to when it was first founded almost 330 years ago, in 1689. Something the Hinomaru Brewery is proud of is the usage of the “rising sun” imagery, 200 years prior to its official association with the Japanese flag and government. The logo and name were created by the feudal leader of the region at the time: Lord Satake.
But there is more to a distillery than a name and a logo. Their motto, coupling “quality first” with “challenging spirit,” reflects the rigorous process involved in concocting the perfect sake mix. Still to this day, everything is done by hand: the rice growing, harvesting, mashing, steaming, transferring, and bottling. One of the key elements that helps Hinomaru’s sake stand out is the usage of small, 1.8-liter bottles to store and age the sake, as opposed to more common practice of storing and aging sake in massive, 500 to 1000–liter barrels at other breweries. There is no better example of Hinomaru’s quality nihonshu than the Mansakuno Hana brand: named for the mansakuno flower and created to commemorate a popular NHK TV drama that was set in Akita, it can be found at restaurants around the world. An even more refined variety of this sake is the Mansakuno Hana Daiginjo, whose beautiful pale gold color matches its fruity aroma—like that of apples or pears.
The Akita snow is a crucial indirect ingredient: keeping the building cold and frosty creates a specific flavor and texture known only to Hinomaru’s brand-name sake. A crisp, sweet, fruity winter taste dominates their flavor profiles, and complements the famous sour pickled vegetables of the north. Winter in Akita is suddenly much less cold when it’s paired with a bottle of sake from Hinomaru Jozo.
The Yokote Kamakura Festival (横手の雪まつり, Yokote no Yuki Matsuri) has a history of about 450 years. It is held every year in mid-February. The festival features many igloo-like snow houses, called kamakura, which are built at various locations across the city. Along Yokote River, hundreds of small kamakura the size of lanterns are made. These mini kamakura are illuminated by candles from dusk until around 21:00 and create a lovely sea of lights.
During the Festival, you can enjoy walking around while enjoying Akita’s local delicacies and sake.
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Shimeharitsuru (Miyao Sake Brewing Co.,Ltd.)
The flavor of Shimeharitsuru is crafted with the brewers’ dedication to making supreme sake, and is best defined as rich yet light. Established in 1819, Miyao Sake Brewing is situated in Murakami, one of the finest rice producing areas of Niigata that cultivates a variety of quality sake rice such as Gohyakumangoku. The brewery’s well taps into the pristine underground water that flows from the Asahi mountain range via the Miomote River which is famous for its salmon run. This delicate and almost sweet soft water is used in brewing, and shapes the flavor of our sake. Genuine devotion to sake brewing is another important aspect that has been passed down in our brewery. Using outstanding rice and crystal clear water, we dedicate ourselves to brewing delicious sake to the satisfaction of our customers.
The Murakami city is located in the north of Niigata Prefecture, Japan, which is a castle town still having signs of its former days. In the center of the city, there are spots you can feel city’s the history such as rows of “merchant houses” of those days and “Maizuru Castle Ruins” famous for cherry blossoms blooming there.
Murakami specialty: Murakami Beef
Murakami beef is praised for its vivid red meat with beautiful marbling along with a soft juicy texture, which makes for an unmistakable taste. Carefully selected high quality breeding cattle are raised from a plenty of Koshihikari rice straw and hay for additional two years and brought up to maturity as Wagyu, with the farmer’s generous love, unstinting labor and time in the majestic nature in Murakami, Niigata, Japan, where the traditional culture is still alive.
Murakami is easily accessible from Tokyo via Shinkansen. Enjoy Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ), Sukiyaki and Shabushabu with exceptional Japanese Black Wagyu Beef while tasting Niigata sake.
Reservation required 81-254-50-1181
You can taste Murakami Beef on a Budget at Yamashin. Outside the restaurant, they sell deep-fried croquets and Menchi Katsu (minced meat cutlet) with Murakami Beef. You can buy some and eat them while strolling the city.
Shop Open: 9:00-18:00
Meal order: 10:00-17:00
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DATE AND TIME
2018/11/29 (Thu)～2018/12/05 (Wed) 10:00～20:00
You cannot go? Check out ichibansake Event Calendar
Ikebukuro Tobu Department Store B1F
1 Chome-1-25 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 171-0021
Directly connected to “Ikebukuro station”
For more information visit, 東武百貨店 池袋店 日本酒催事スケジュール