In recent years, Japanese cuisine has enjoyed a boom of popularity abroad, which means that more and more people are enjoying the delights of Japanese sake.

Iwate Prefecture boasts a large sake production industry, and in particular, the Morioka region is full of not just sake makers, but also unique wineries and beer breweries.


*Excerpted from the Sake Brewery Stamp Rally 2021 pamphlet

There are many alcoholic beverages, but with this article I’d like to share with you the appeals of Japanese sake.

First off, you may already know this but sake is made from rice.

A type of mold called “koji” is added to steamed rice in order to turn it into sake. After the mold proliferates and ferments alcohol into the rice, liquid is squeezed out of the mixture and is served as sake.

There are a lot of interesting things to know about that sake.

First, sake goes remarkably well with a number of different dishes. This has much to do with the unique flavors and essences of sake, but by enjoying sake along with food, it serves the purpose of drawing out the true intrinsic flavor of the food.

Furthermore, sake can be enjoyed at a number of different temperatures. Many people believe that beer and wine only taste good at cooler temperatures, and while I recommend trying chilled sake, you can also drink it at a warm temperature of 50℃. We call this type of drinking style “atsukan.” The flavors of sake change depending on its temperature, and one of the best parts of the drink is the fact that you can enjoy sake in different ways depending on the season, the food served, and your own personal tastes.

Here are some fun facts about sake breweries:

〇 No natto allowed?!

Sake brewing uses mold and yeast for the manufacturing process. Natto, a popular fermented soy bean product, are forbidden in sake breweries. The bacteria in natto is quite strong and it can ruin the mold used in sake fermentation. (Visiting a sake brewery after eating natto? Not such a great idea.)

The lactic acid bacteria used to make yogurt can also have an effect on the bacteria used in sake, so it’s best not to mix the two as well.

〇 Don’t forget about the aroma!!

The aroma of sake is one of the most important things about it. If you wear perfume or other strong fragrances to a sake brewery, it could have a huge effect on the brewing process. Be careful of applying strong fragrances when visiting.

〇 What is this object hanging over here?! – the “Sugidama” ornamental fixture –

Every year from February to March, sake breweries hang a large ball made of green vegetation above their entrance.

This is called a sugidama, and sends the message that the sake brewery has successfully brewed its new sake this year.

The sugidama is a bright green when it’s first hung up, but changes along with the seasons. The vegetation begins to thin with the approach towards summer, and by fall, the green has withered and turned the ball a brown color.

A green sugidama signifies the season of new sake; summer sakes are introduced as the sugidama begins to thin; the brown sugidama of autumn heralds sake that has been aged over the summer called “hiyaoroshi.” As the sugidama’s colors change, so does the type of sake available.

Those who visit a sake brewery can look at the color of the sugidama as it changes through the seasons, and feel the change in seasons and sake varieties.

Iwate is blessed with clear, delicious water as well as a vast fertile environment. This along with the rice and produce grown here serves as the base for sake, as well as local beer and wine. Each region makes use of its unique characteristics to create appealing alcoholic beverages.

If you have the opportunity to visit Japan, we hope you have a chance to learn about Japanese sake culture, as well as try the many sake varieties of Iwate.



【写真①、②】※ 酒蔵めぐりスタンプラリー2021冊子から抜粋し掲載





〇 納豆は厳禁?!

〇 香りも重要!!

〇 不思議なオブジェ?!「杉玉」