Did you know that Iwate is home to a number of prolific sake producers?

From Japanese sake to wine, everything made by these producers are top quality.

Here at the Iwate Prefecture (Morioka Regional Development Bureau), we have been planning stamp rallies and brewery tours to get visitors to taste the local drinks while enjoying everything Morioka has to offer.

This year, we have taken this to the next level. A prefectural first, the Iwate Sake Party 2023 in Morioka is an event that will bring all the sake producers to one place, where visitors can taste and compare sakes while getting the chance to mingle with producers and consumers alike.

23 local sake producers, including 2 university student run groups, will be showcasing their best creations on the day. Visitors will get the chance to taste from a range of 115 different types of sake, including a sparkling sake that was served at the G7 Hiroshima Summit and Gold Prize winners at the Annual Japan Sake Awards. This is a great opportunity to try a wide variety of rare sakes that would otherwise be hard to get your hands on! Whether or not you’ve tried sake before, you might be able to learn something new by talking to the producers and learning their side of the story.

Learning more about the history of the area in which the sake is made further elevates its appeal. Let us do a quick introduction of the history of sake production here in Iwate.

Iwate has a very long history in sake, with production methods developed here influencing producers throughout the whole country.

In 1678, the early Edo period, sake production in Iwate rapidly developed due to the work of Murai Gonbei, a merchant from the Oumi region of Japan, now known as Shiga Prefecture. Living in the Shiwa area, he invited a Toji master brewer from Osaka to his sake brewery to impart the latest techniques to local sake producers. As a travelling merchant, he regularly returned to Kansai, having houses in Osaka and Kyoto, which allowed him to learn the latest sake brewing techniques at the time. In passing on the techniques and knowledge to the brewers in Shiwa, he laid the foundation for the modern day Nanbu Toji, sake brewers who use the Nanbu style to create high quality sake. Senba-koki, a tool used in rice threshing, gained popularity during the late Edo period, improving production efficiency and gave rice producers the ability to leave the prefecture to earn money during the winter season. Events such as these led to the Nanbu Toji gaining reputation, eventually becoming the pillar of the sake industry it is today.

It is thought that Murai decided to make Shiwa the hub of sake production due to the characteristics of the land; the fresh, clean water and easy access to rice being two major factors. On top of this, availability of wood to make tanks and barrels, and close proximity to downtown Morioka made Shiwa an ideal location to make sake.*

The climate in Shiwa also made it perfect for sake production, as colder climates are ideal for sake production. All in all, the perfect environment in combination with the traditional brewing techniques improved over time gave birth to Iwate’s distinctive sake scene.
Reference: Tsugihito (published by Shiwa Town, 3/20/2019)

Iwate doesn’t only just produce sake!
Central Morioka is also home to many unique wineries who transform locally grown apples and grapes into marvelous creations. Located on the Pacific Ocean, the central region of Iwate has a uniquely cool climate all year round, making it the perfect place for a variety of crisp yet lingering wines with smooth finishes to be produced.
In particular, Kuzumaki has been producing internationally recognized wine from native wild grapes since 1988. Local wine producers have been working to find ways to balance its natural wild characteristics and improving wine quality, as well as working towards the preservation and improvement of wild grape production in the region. Kuzumaki is a successful example of how quality and sustainability can be achieved through wine production.

As you can see, Iwate’s history in sake production is rich and illustrates its harmonious relationship with nature. The sake, wine, beers and ciders made from these methods will be on showcase at Iwate Sake Party 2023 in Morioka.

There will also be food offered at the venue. There will be 21 vendors from the Morioka area who will offer a large variety of scrumptious food including beef skewers made from Shizukuishi beef, high quality salted organ meats, and Morioka jajamen. Why not try find your own sake pairing with the local cuisine on offer at this event? There will also be Sansa dance and other local traditional art performances on stage at the event. There’s no doubt that these traditional dances will electrify the mood on the day!

Iwate’s local cuisine, culture and sake will all be present at this festival, so whether you like food or just like the festival mood, please come and take part in the Iwate Sake Party 2023 in Morioka on September 30th and October 1st!

〇 Iwate Sake Party 2023 in Morioka Information
1 Event Dates and Time
Saturday September 30th – Sunday October 1st 11am – 5pm(event ends at 4pm on the last day)
2 Event Location
Morioka History and Culture Museum (in Morioka Castle Ruins Park)
3 Activities
Tasting and sale of Iwate sake, wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, local food vendors, local traditional performances, etc…
4 Ticket Information
Price:2,000 yen(tax included)
【Pre-sale】10 sake tasting tickets + water
【Same day】7 sake tasting tickets
Locations:Iwate Prefectural Office Co-op, Play Guide Fesan, Play Guide Kawatoku
*Tickets also sold at all Lawson and Ministops in Japan!




※1 脱穀用具の一種。
※2 参考文献:『ツギヒト(紫波町著作、2019.3.20発行)』




〇 「いわて酒ノ宴2023inもりおか」概要
1 開催期間 
2 開催場所 
3 内容
4 チケット販売
  価  格:2,000円(税込み)