Address: 262 Miwacho Shimoitaki, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 729-6612
Business Hours: 8 am – 5 pm
It’s been over 90 years since Miwasakura brewery opened. Using both brewer’s rice made in the local rice-producing region, Miwacho, and rice grown themselves, Miwasakura brewery brews sake in a traditional way. They aim to make a consistent sake without being influenced by what is trendy. With the chief brewer, junior brewers and employees, the president Sakata strives to make sure their brewery stays firmly rooted in the region.
Opened in 1923, Miwasakura brewery is a sake maker that boasts a history of over 90 years. The current president, Sakata Shigeaki, is the 4th generation. They strive to maintain traditional sake brewing according to their motto, “To make good sake, take time.” 2,700 meters above sea level, Miwacho is a renowned rice-producing region where the difference in temperature produces high quality rice. Being an area known for growing brewer’s rice, Miwacho is a place that also produces a lot of brewer’s rice types such as Hattan Nishiki, Hattan and Senbon Nishiki. Grown in clean air, all of the rice has a fragrant sweetness. Miwasakura’s tasty sake is made from this same brewer’s rice and the cool underground water flowing from Mt. Ozuchi. A lot of the brewers engage in growing their own rice in the summer in order to cultivate an eye for choosing rice. The company uses carefully selected rice that they process and clean themselves to use for their great sake. The essence of Miwasakura is “We’ll continue making sake our own way without being influenced by what’s trendy and popular.” The president, Sakata says, “If you keep adjusting the taste of your sake to what is popular, you will lose sight of what you’re trying to pursue.” Because of this attitude they produce a sake with a consistent taste, and their fans say, “Always the same tastiness.” and “You can expect a taste that doesn’t change.”
To produce a consistent-tasting sake, it’s important to be able to confirm the quality of the rice and the progress of fermentation. The person in charge of these roles is the chief brewer. The incumbent chief brewer of Miwasakura brewery is an expert with a long history of sake brewing and has been the chief brewer of Miwasakura brewery for over 20 years. He can respond flexibly to the condition of the rice and water to make sure the sake is as close as possible to the ideal one. If the process of sake brewing is strictly fixed, the taste is going to change every year, so it’s important to judge the firmness and sweetness of the rice and how much water they absorbed before starting preparation for the year. “We have won several prizes for our sake, and being able to win a prize consistently means the chief brewer and brewers hard work is paying off.”
Silent, yet more passionate about sake brewing than any other, the chief brewer of Miwasakura brewery has good tools that have been passed down for a long time and doesn’t hesitate to arrange the inside of the brewery to make work easier for himself. On the stairs that had been in the same place for a long time with a fancy patina painted with persimmon tannin, he ordered the placement of a handrail using brand-new woods. This space, blending the old and the new, feels like the passion of brewers remains. “The chief brewer says that in the future he would like to be actively involved in growing rice and make sake in a traditional way called kimoto zukuri using organic rice. He says he’s not sure if the wish will come true, but our chief brewer is a person who has a clear vision and I think it makes him seem very reliable.”
Everyone says that Miwasakura brewery marches together with the local community. Their kurabiraki (An event marking the opening of the storehouse for the first time in the year) is held in March and a lot of people from inside and outside of the prefecture visit to attend it. The local residents look forward to the event, too. With free sake offered by Miwasakura brewery, visitors enjoy pleasant conversations. People who drink Miwasakura regularly can also talk to the president, Sakata, saying things like, “This year’s sake is better than last year’s.” and “This one is tastier.” Sakata told us, “Directly hearing what people think is really encouraging. Sake is a luxury item, so whether they like it or not depends on the person, but we are really happy if the locals have our sake on their dining table.” The brewery also holds other events throughout the year such as hatsuage (celebration of the first sake made in the year) and koshikidaoshi (a turning point where they finish preparation for brewing), and Sakata says that every time each event is held, the workers deepen their ties. “We don’t do recreation like other companies tend to do, we’d like to grow closer by making something together.” Valuing the spirit of sake brewing, Miwasakura brewery marches together with the locals. When Miyoshi Mononoke Museum opened in April 2019, Miwasakura brewery produced a sake called “MONONOKE Miyoshi Youkai Legend” in celebration, even putting a picture scroll on the bottle. A lot of people contacted them about the sake and it became pretty popular. “Sake brewing used to be a lot more prosperous, but now there are only a few breweries. As one of those remaining, we’d like to be a brewery that can contribute to our local community.”
“Refined Sake Miwasakura” has won a prize almost every year.
At the 107th Annual Japan Sake Awards held in May 2019, it won the first prize.
262 Miwacho Shimoitaki, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 729-6612
8 am - 5 pm