[ Hokkaido ] Sake brewery Archives Hokkaido 3

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[ Hokkaido ] Sake brewery Archives Hokkaido 3



Please find the list of Sake breweries in Hokkaido, the northern island in Japan with unique climate.

Characteristics of Sake from Hokkaido

If we are familiar with the fact that 80 % of Sake consists of water, it is easy to imagine that the quality of water determines the outcome of Sake. Majority of people agree to describe Sake from Hokkaido “Seicho (清澄)” meaning pure and clean. Severe cold weather in Hokkaido from autumn to winter seasons provides cold pure clean water as well as dry air. These climate factors make fresh Sake which is less likely to become too boring. There are some representative water sources in Hokkaido, namely Yotei’s spring, Kanro sensui, and Naibetsu River Spring. The water resources are said to contribute to the light fresh flavours of Hokkaido-made Sake. Let us introduce the breweries in Hokkaido and their characteristics by touching on their geography. This article covers 6 breweries.

11.Sapporo Shusei Kogyo Co., Ltd. (札幌酒精工業株式会社)


札幌酒精工業 株式会社 (sapporo-shusei.jp)

Sapporo Shusei Kogyo Co.,Ltd. / 札幌酒精工業株式会社 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)


About the brewery:

Sapporo Shusei Kogyo was founded as a Shochu Ko-category producer in 1933 therefore it celebrated 90th anniversary in October 2022 by pioneering and growing with the land of Hokkaido. Claiming a concept “Hokkaido, a hometown with great pleasure”, the company’s featured products include Honkaku Shochu ‘Kitari’ whose ingredients are all processed in the company’s private plants at Assabu-cho (厚沢部町) located in the South of Hokkaido, and other alcohol like wine, whisky, liquor and gin made from local ingredients of Hokkaido.

Representative brand: Kitari (喜多里)

Kitari brand offers 4 core lines differentiated by ingredients : sweet potatoes, potatoes, seaweed and barley. The ingredients are all Hokkaido-grown and carefully selected. Sweet potato “Imo” Shochu is the company’s pioneering product, but its start was not easy. Sweet potatoes grow well in the warm climate so Hokkaido is not considered to be the best location for their cultivation. By passing numerous trials and errors, the company succeeded in stably producing sweet potatoes for its Shochu making. Succeeding in the sweet potato Shochu, the company now offers a wider variety of Shochu as follows : Potato Shochu Kitari, Seaweed Shochu Kitari, Barley Shochu Kitari.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 10 minute walk from JR Hassamu Station.
  • Brewery visit is currently unavailable



12.Sakasago Shuzo (高砂酒造株式会社)


北海道の地酒、北海道の日本酒、「国士無双」髙砂酒造株式会社ホームページ (takasagoshuzo.com)

Takasagoshuzo,Inc. / 高砂酒造株式会社 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

  Takasago Shuzo, Inc., was founded in Asahikawa, Hokkaido in 1899. Surrounded by heavy-snowed mountains and 4 rivers: Biei River (美瑛川) , Ushubetsu River (牛朱別川), Chubetsu River (忠別川), and Ishikari River (石狩川), Asahikawa has an access to abundant high-quality water, which makes it an ideal location for Sake production.

  The brewery mainly uses Sake rice from Hokkaido, with more than 80% of its current Sake rice coming from Kawakami region. Producers who are originated from Hokkaido with high understanding of the region and climate cooperatively work to produce high-quality Sake. They work with an inspiring motto” Wajo-ryoshu (和醸良酒)” meaning ‘harmony makes good Sake, and the Sake brings harmony in return’.

Representative brand: Kokushi-muso (国士無双)

Born in 1975 Kokushi-muso has been popular for its masculine-style fresh dry flavours.

Sake sold right after the Second World War was largely dry due to the added brewery alcohol and water to cover the shortage of rice. When the rice shortage was mitigated, sweet Sake became popular as a bouncing effect from the previous generation, and it remained more popular than dry Sake for a while. It was when dry Sake gained popularity again, people started seeking for better flavours and higher quality. Takasago Shuzo was quick to grasp the emerging needs of dry Sake and bravely launched dry-style Sake, Kokushi-muso.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 15 minute walk from JR Asahikawa Station
  • Brewery visit is available only with reservation (limited to 10 persons)

13.Fukutsukasa Sake Co., Ltd (福司酒造株式会社)


釧路の地酒 福司(ふくつかさ) | 福司酒造株式会社 (fukutsukasa.jp)

Fukutsukasa Sake Co.,Ltd / 福司酒造株式会社 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

Fukutsukasa Sake Co., Ltd was founded in 1919 followed by an establishment of new brewery on a hill closely located to Kushiro to produce Fukutsukasa.

There were more than 10 breweries in Kushiro City when Sake production was active, however, other business had to shut down and Fukutsukasa is the only brewery that survived until present. It has never stopped Sake production even during the ingredient shortage after the war, which is rare among Japanese breweries. Thanks to the production method which has evolved over the long history, the brewery succeed in attracting the local fans with 80% of its product being consumed in the Kushiro region. It is, without doubt, Sake to be loved by locals.

Representative brand: Fukutsukasa(福司)

  Fukutsukasa means managing happiness. Its name includes a wish to become Sake which can give happiness to the people who drink it. Its flavour was delicately adjusted to fresh dry ‘Tanrei-Karakuchi (淡麗辛口) ’ to make a great harmony with seafood from Hokkaido, and also to avoid the mundane sensation of the flavour. The brand currently offers a wide range : Daiginjo,-shu Junmai-shu, Honjozo-shu, Ginjo-shu, Tokubetsu-junmai shu and Futsu-shu, therefore it so interesting to compare the flavours.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 10 minute drive from JR Kushiro Station
  • Brewery visit is currently unavailable



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