Sake (Nihonshu)

In Japanese,“sake” is actually the general term for alcohol. In Japan, the beverage obtained through the process of rice fermentation, and to whom English refers to as“sake”, is known as “nihonshu”. By putting together the Chinese characters for Japan (“nihon”) and alcohol (which is pronounced here“shu”), the Japanese language sanctions it as the “national liquor”. Indeed, much more than for any wine or beer, there is no better matching to the traditional Japanese cuisine than an authentic sake.

Produced almost everywhere in the northern parts of Japan, as low temperatures are essential to the fermentation process, sake is a joyful companion, warming the hearts and conversations of any guests or friends gatherings. The thing is that sake is essentially the result of a magical encounter between various elements. Clear waters from the melting ice caps in the spring nourish the soil from which the rice ears rise in summer. Harvested in autumn, the polished grains and malts slowly turn water into elixir in winter through a slow maturation process. At every stage, this alchemy is carefully watched after by the sake brewer, a man firmly committed to an authentic tradition and the truth of his land. Much worshiped from the underneath plains of Kaga, Mount Hakusan is the most spectacular embodiment of such a truth, providing huge amounts of the clear waters needed at every steps of the sake brewing.

The brewery industry has kept thriving in Kaga. Indeed, clear water (“mizu”), fine rice (“kome”) and the brewer’s savoir faire (“waza”), the three basic elements needed that make a good sake, have been around for quite a while. Today, the area is famous for producing a huge amount of local and artisanal sake (“jizake”) with a great variety of taste and characters. Whether you like it dry (“karakuchi”) or sweet (“amakuchi”), served warm (“kan”) or chilled (“hiya”), sparkling or still, you are welcome to taste this wonderfully diverse product directly in some of Kaga’s most reputed breweries.

- Local Sake brewery –

Kano Sake brewery Website
Matsuura Sake brewery Website