KIKUSUI AT A GLANCE
WHAT MAKES NIIGATA’S SAKE SO POPULAR?
Niigata offers the ideal climate for brewing premium Sake. This is why Niigata boasts the largest number of sake breweries in Japan.
Japanese Sake is often reffered to as a collective, but it is produced in nearly every region of Japan with as much difference as a Bordeaux or Bourgogne wine. Some of the more notable Sake brewing areas include Nada (Hyogo Prefecture), Fushimi (Kyoto), Saijo (Hiroshima), and of course Echigo (the old name for Niigata Prefecture). Not only is the Echigo school of brewing from Niigata considered amongst Japan’s top three schools of brewing (along side Nanbu from Iwate Prefecture, and Tanba from Hyogo Prefecture) but it also boasts over 90 Sake breweries, more than any other area in Japan.
The KIKUSUI brewery is located in Shibata City towards the northern end of Niigata. One defining characteristic of this area is the abundance of groundwater sources carring the clear, pristine water from the melted snow. The snow that falls on the Iide mountain range, which rise over 2,000 meters above sea level becomes perfect soft water. One of the key ingredients for Sake brewing is water and here there is an abundance of pure soft water. We at KIKUSUI feel blessed to be in an area so ideally suited for Sake brewing.
Niigata is Japan’s largest food pantry
Niigata Prefecture is one of Japan’s largest food producers. In particular, “Koshihikari”, a brand of premium rice grown in Niigata, has been Japan’s most popular brand of rice for many years. Each grain is round and plump and when cooked is sticky with a pleasant texture. It has a delicate sweetness and fragrance when freshly cooked and is well known for its pleasant flavor after it has cooled. The flavor of this rice, like Sake, stems from the abundance of pristine water from the mountain snowmelt. Niigata is also located adjacent to the Japan Sea where fresh seafood is abundant all year round. There are no small number of culinary critics who will say that the seafood from Niigata, including sweet shrimp, yellowtail, queen crabs and salmon are the best in Japan.
In line with the Japanese saying that the “Japanese food culture has nurtured the Sake culture, and Japanese Sake culture has nurtured Japanese food culture” perhaps it is only natural that Niigata is home to the largest number of Sake breweries.