[ Iwate ] Sake brewery Archives Iwate 4

Sake to know

[ Iwate ] Sake brewery Archives Iwate 4


Please find the list of Sake breweries in Iwate, the North end of Honshu island(main island) in Japan.

Characteristics of Sake from Iwate Prefecture

 As you may be aware by now, flavours and charms of Sake are largely influenced by Toji. The Toji group in Iwate is called Nambu Toji (南部杜氏), which is one of the three largest Toji groups of Japan besides Echigo Toji of Nigata and Tamba Toji of Hyogo. Nambu Toji inheriting the technics delivered from Itami of Hyogo Prefecture in Edo Period, started professional Sake production in Morioka under a protection and developmental support of the clan.  

  Nambu Toji is one of the largest groups among Tojis in Japan. The title of Nambu Toji was originally given exclusively to the Tojis originated from the Morioka Clan, Hachinohe Clan and Shichinohe Clan. However, Tojis who learned technics of Nambu Toji are dispersed across Japan to create delicious Sake of each local region so the tile is currently used in a broader sense. If you have a chance to drink Sake from Iwate Prefecture, I recommend you try one made by Nambu Toji.

14. Takahashi Brewing Co., Ltd. (高橋酒造店)

堀の井 (horinoi.jp)

Takahashi Brewing Co.,Ltd. / 高橋酒造店 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 The producer of Horinoi, Takahashi Brewing, is located in Shiwa-cho, approximately 20 km South of Morioka City. Its start dates back to 1922. Shiwa-cho is the birthplace of Nambu Toji group whose members are scattered across Japan to actively be engaged in Sake brewing.

  The brewery believes that Sake production starts with rice cultivation. It owns and operates rice fields dedicated for the production of Sake rice. Brewers carefully brew high-quality Sake with advanced artisanal skills to continuously satisfy clients.

Representative brand : Horinoi (堀の井)

 The brewery started brewing Sake using the well water in the Horigome district, and named the completed Sake as Horinoi, meaning a well of Horigome district.

  The brewery have continued to own its own rice field to use the cultivated rice to its Sake brewing since the establishment. Currently Toyonishiki Sake rice is cultivated in the 3-hectre rice field. Toyonishiki is easy to cultivate. Due to its firm texture, the rice provides clear flavours. The brewery believes that local Sake should be produced from the local ingredients therefore it continues to be engaged in time-consuming rice cultivation. The Sake Horinoi was known for its rather sweet flavour back around 1975. Some may still have an assumption of Horinoi being sweet from the memory of that age, however, the current version of Horioi was evolved to leave a clearer and refreshing aftertaste.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 39 minute walk from Inafuji Bus Stop
  • Information on brewery visit is unknown

15. Tsukinowa Co., Ltd. (有限会社月の輪酒造店)


Tsukinowa Co.,Ltd. / 有限会社月の輪酒造店 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Yokosawa Family originated in Wakasa (currently Fukui Prefecture) held a business of producing Koji in the same location as the current brewery. 4th generation owner of the Yokosawa Family, Tokuichi became enthusiastic about Sake brewing, and started Sake brewing as a business in 1886. Precedented owners had been engaged in Sake brewing by themselves. Then the 7th generation owner, Taizo Yokosawa, came to lead the brewery by performing both as a business owner and a Toji in 1991. Yuko Yokosawa became the brewery’s Toji at the timing of incorporation on 1 November 2005, to perform Sake brewing under the new organizational system. 

Representative brand : Tsukinowa (月の輪)

 Iwate-grown Sake rice namely Gin-otome, Ginginga, and Yuinoka are used as its ingredients. Soft-textured water taken from the well situated within the brewery’s premises is a groundwater of the Kitakami River. The brewery aims to brew clear and mild Sake holding umami in its core, in other words, light outer flavours with an intensed core.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 18 minute walk from JR Furutachi Station or 1 minute from Tokaichi Bus Stop
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

16. 株式会社南部美人 Nambu Bijin Co., Ltd. (株式会社南部美人)

会社概要 | 株式会社南部美人 | 岩手の日本酒 南部美人(NanbuBijin)

Nanbu Bijin Co.,Ltd. / 株式会社南部美人 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Ninohe City is situated in the North edge of Iwate Prefecture, facing Aomori Prefecture. The brewery is located in the richly green city that has two national parks : Rikuchu Coast and Hachimantai. When the brewery was established in1902, a majority of Sake available in market had low polishing ratio thus contained a high level of unpleasant zatsumi. NambuBijin attempted to break the norm, with a wish of making a beautiful Sake brand in the area called Nambu, blessed with rich nature and climate. Its Sake was therefore received the name ‘NambuBijin’.

Representative brand : NambuBijin (南部美人)

 The numerous awards received from domestic and international organizations is a proof of its competitive quality. It has won 8 golden awards from the Annual Japan Sake Awards in the last 10 years. Even after an highly skilled Toji Mr. Yamaguchi left the brewery, the brewery has continued to win gold awards. Besides, it is highly evaluated abroad as shown by the best awards received from the Monde Selection and International Sake Challenge.

  Currently NambuBijin is exported to 21 countries, namely the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Brazil, UAE, Singapore and Malaysia, enthusiastically targeting international market. It is one of the most powerful and ambitious breweries within Japan. The goal of brewery is set to become a new-type of Sake brewery corresponding the new age, making the sun-like Sake to bring happy smiles when consumed.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 24 minute walk from Tomai Station on the Iwate Galaxy Railway Line. 1 minute walk from Iwaya-bashi Bus Stop
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

17. Hamachidori Co., Ltd (株式会社浜千鳥)

浜千鳥 (hamachidori.net)

Hamachidori Co.,Ltd. / 株式会社浜千鳥 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Kamaishi Shuzo Shokai, a former entity of Hamachidori was established in 1923 in Iwate Prefecture. Its name was changed in 2003. The brewery believes that Ginjo Sake is the supreme work of the brewery created by its all means. Other than Ginjo Sake, the brewery produces Junmai, Honjozo, Genshu, Taru Sake and Yamahai in a dedicated manner.

Representative brand : Hamachidori (浜千鳥)

 Born in the rich nature of Iwate Prefecture, Hamachidori features deep flavours with clear aftertaste. It creates a beautiful marriage with fresh seafood from the Rikunai Coast as well as farmed products on the Kitakami Mountains. Ginjo Sake has both a delicate and deep flavours with a fruity scent, whereas Junmai Sake has mild flavours. Its Honjozo Sake can be enjoyed either hot or cold for its smoothly light flavours, and shall go well with a variety of cuisine.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 25 minute walk from Kosano Station
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

18. Hishiya Sake Brewery (株式会社菱屋酒造店)

株式会社菱屋酒造店 (ocnk.net)

Hisiyasyuzo Co.,Ltd. / 株式会社菱屋酒造店 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Hishiya Brewery is located in Miyako City of Iwate Prefecture, which is famous for fresh seafood and a picturestique scenary spot Jodogahama (浄土ヶ浜). It was established in 1852, about 170 years ago, one year before Officer Matthew Calbraith Perry arrived in Japan. “People should found Sake ‘delicious!’ when having a sip”, says its Toji. Under this motto, the brewery continues to brew a variety of Sake.

Representative brand : Senryo Otokoyama (千両男山)

 Master of Junmai Sake, Mr. Katsutoshi Tsujimura with an experience of working at Nishida Sake Brewery famous for Denshu, has been leading the brewery as Toji at Hishiya Brewery since 2005. It is when the brewery started to focus more on Junmai type of Sake. Senryo Otokoyama won the gold award at 2007Annual Japan Sake Awards.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 2 minute walk from Kuwagasaki Shimomachi Bus Stop  
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

19. Hirota Brewery Co., Ltd (廣田酒造店)

岩手の地酒「南部杜氏発祥の里」の酒蔵 廣田酒造店 (hiroki-hirotasyzuouten.com)

Hirota Brewery Co.,Ltd. / 廣田酒造店 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Hirota Brewery is a small-scale brewery located in the birthplace of Nambu Toji, Shiwa-cho, Shiwa-gun of Iwate Prefecture. The first generation master Kiheiji Hirota (廣田喜平治) obtained a locally famous brewery in 1903, and has continued its production under the name of Hirota Brewery after the war. Hiroki (廣喜, literally meaning wide pleasure) was developed to become a Sake to ‘please a number of people’, and is still a representative Sake of the brewery. The brewery was turned into a company, Shiwa Shuzoten, in 2022. 5th generation master Hidetoshi Hirota and first-female-Nambu Toji Yumi Ono have been collaboratively work to brew innovative Sake.

Representative brand : Hiroki (廣喜)

 To express the maximized umami of rice, the brewery strives to brew new style of Sake by mixing the traditional and innovative methods. For example, the brewery started a traditional fermenting method called Sanki Amazakemoto (酸基醲酛), a type of Kimoto fermentation method dated back to the Edo Era. It has drawn attention with a creation of a new brand called Sisora (紫宙) in December 2021 that was launched to target limited supply chains. Sisora is made largely with rice from Iwate Prefecture and Iwate-originated ‘Giovanni no Shirabe’ Kobo to bring fruity soft flavours to Sake.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 12 minute from Shiwa-cho Bus Stop  
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

20. Fukurai Co., Ltd. (株式会社福来)

(株)福来 ~フクライ、幸せを呼ぶ酒~(岩手県久慈市宇部町) (dti.ne.jp)

Fukurai Co.,Ltd. / 株式会社福来 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Kiyosuke Kuji (久慈清輔) started Sake brewing in 1907. The company was previously called Kuji Seishuten, then it was turned into the current name in 2001. The brewery’s range of products include : Daiginjo Fukurai (福来), Tokubetsu Junmai series like Hokugen-no-ama (北限の海女), Tetsu-no-michi (鐵の道), Suzukasumi(涼霞), Fukurai and Shirakabarin(白樺凛), Junmai Daiginjo series like Fukurai, Ginginga (吟ぎんが), and Tokubetsu Honjozo series like Fukurai, as well as Junmai Genshu, Dry Daiginjo Kujikawa (久慈川) and wine made from wild grapes.

Representative brand : Fukurai (福来)

 Since its establishment in 1907, its Sake has been loved by locals. It was named as Fukurai (福来, happiness/luck comes), to bring happiness to all drinkers, sales people and producers. Fukurai Sake, made from the clear well water using the technics of Nambu Toji is recognized as lucky charm therefore it is often presented as gifts.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 5 minute walk from Rikuchu-Ube Station on the Sanriku Tetsudo Riasu-Line
  • Brewery is not open to public

21. Ryoban Shuzo Co., Ltd. (両磐酒造株式会社)

両磐酒造 (seisyu-kanzan.com)

Ryobanshuzo Co.,Ltd. / 両磐酒造株式会社 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Sake breweries in the Ichinoseki Area were merged to form a company in 1944 under a governmental order. Its name became Ryoban, composed of Ryo (両, both) plus Ban(磐), to mean both Nishi (West, 西)-Iwai(磐井) and Higashi(East, 東)-Iwai (磐井). The brewery is going to celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2024. Using Iwate-grown ingredients, it aims to brew Sake that attracts not only the locals but also the domestic and international consumers by continuously introducing Sake to match and satisfy the demands of each generation.

Representative brand : Sekizan (関山)

 A representative Sake of Ryoban Shuzo, Sekizan, has its naming root in the world-heritage-listed Hiraizumi. The first generation of the Fujiwara family, Hideyori Fujiwara brought Buddhist’s culture from Kyoto to Hiraizumi and built a hall called Konjikido of Chusonji (中尊寺金色堂) expressing the Buddhist’s paradise (極楽浄土) in the 12th century. The mountain came to be called Sekizan (関山) with respect. Its Sake name “Sekizan” was thus taken from the prestigious name of the honorable mountain. There are a lot of fans for its dry character.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 7 minute walk from Kawayashiki Bus Stop
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation

22. Washinoo Co., Ltd. (株式会社わしの尾)

株式会社 わしの尾 (washinoo.co.jp)

Washinoo Co.,Ltd. / 株式会社わしの尾 – IKKI – Japanese Sake Media (ikki-sake.com)

About the brewery:

 Founded in 1829, the brewery has one of the longest history in the prefecture. The brewery produces Sake focusing on water, rice, people and connection to the local area, with its solid local base.

Representative brand : Washi-no-o (鷲の尾, Tail of an eagle)

 The Sake provides a smooth touch, so people do not easily feel fed up with the taste. Its brand comes from the relation with eagles. Large eagles used to live in the Ganju mountains (巌鷲山) in Iwate Prefecture. The Sake is named as Washi-no-o as it is made from clean water spring at the bottom of the Ganju mountain (‘ju’ of Gangu means an eagle). Otherwise, some people also say that the name is given due to the shape of the snow left on top of the mountain in the early spring which resembles the shape of eagles with their wings spread.

Access and brewery visit information:

  • 8 minute walk from JR Obuke Station   
  • Brewery visit is available with prior reservation



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