Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Sake of Fukui / Part-1 / One of the Greatest Sake Breweries, “Kokuryu”



Japanese sake is mellow and some has strong body.

The taste and texture of sake is similar to the character of Japanese people

which is generally said that many Japanese people are humble, not assertive,

quiet and our actions say more than words which make the existence of us powerful.


Sake is usually served before and/or during meals

so cups and bottles of sake usually sit next to the meal quietly and humbly

but the existence of it is very powerful.


Also, it is said that sake is similar to wine that depending on brewers, years

and locations of making sake, the flavor, texture and everything between can be varied.


There are many sake breweries in Japan and all of them make their own sake with their own styles. Each sake has its own characteristic and flavor.

Today, I would like to introduce “Kokuryu brewery” which is one of the greatest sake breweries in Japan.


Kokuryu brewery was founded by Nizaemon Ishidaya, established in Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui Prefecture, in 1804. Since then, they have been making “good sake” for over 200 years with their motto, “if we make good sake, people will support it”. Their motto sounds very simple and easy to do, but it is very difficult to do so, especially for such a long time.


“Kokuryu” was named after the river called “Kokuryu river” which is the old name for “Kuzuryu river” (Nine-Headed Dragon River)


A kanji for “koku” means black, and a kanji for “ryu” means dragon in Japanese.


In general speaking, the flavor of Kokuryu is fruity, pure, clear and mild, and it still has strong sake taste but it’s not too heavy at all. It is actually lighter than many other sake in Japan

so it is recommendable even for people who don’t usually drink sake. My favorite sake from Kokuryu is Shizuku.

If you never try drinking sake of Kokuryu, how about enjoying one?


For more information about Kokuryu

Kokuryu-Official Site


Please enjoy our previous blog
Sake, Kokuryu




Fukui’s local sake I recommend, “BORN Limited pure rice ‘daiginjo’ unfiltered/fresh unprocessed sake”



This local sake was recommended to try by a sake shop which I dropped in the other day.
“BORN”, the series of sake, which almost everyone knows here in Fukui.
I had an image of daiginjo as a watery taste but I heard that this one was thick,
so I thought it sounded good and bought it.


The “BORN” sake series are aged in a regulated minus ten degrees environment and
the sake conjures a rich aroma and fresh full-bodied flavor as well as the distinctive taste of pure rice daiginjo fresh unprocessed sake. This is the most popular sake in the BORN series. Whether served chilled, on the rocks, or warmed, this champion sake boasts outstanding flavor in all the respective drinking styles.


Also, here on our video site GEN, we have released the video below about when we visited the brewery of the “BORN”. You can see its backstage of sake brewing which you rarely have
an opportunity like this. (H.S)
English page of "BORN" → "BORN", a series of exquisite sake

Malted Rice



Unrefined sake in the tanks is being bubbled up.


Before one of the busiest times at sake breweries come, we visited “Funaki sake brewery” in Fukui prefecture to tour making sake.


Luckily, we got to see one of the most important steps of making sake, “Moyashi zukuri” (making “Moyashi”).  “Moyashi” is malted rice and it became well known and a jargon from after the word was used in Manga.


The role of the malted rice in making sake is to change rice starch to sugar as the base material for alcoholic fermentation.


This original way of making Japanese sake in which saccharification and alcoholic fermentaion are allowed to proceed at the same time.  This multiple parallel fermentation that is a complicated process is the difference from making wine.


The room in which it is being kept hot and humid, they spread the sake rice there and the chief brewer at the sake brewery sprinkles malted rice powder (spores of Aspergillus oryzae)over the sake rice.


In addition, Bacillus subtilis natto causes major damages for this process, therefore, if anyone ate natto for one’s breakfast, one must not enter the room.


If you are thinking about taking a tour in sake brewery, please remember this.  



Sake, Kokuryu




I visited Kokuryu Sake Zukuri No Sato in Kenjoujima in Fukui prefecture as a Gen staff.  As a Japanese person, I really like sake.  If I have never had Kokuryu 20years ago, I‘d never liked one.  There are many different kinds of sake.  Kokuryu has refreshing, pure, clear and mild taste that it has strong sake taste but it’s not too heavy at all.  It is actually lighter than many other sake, I think.  Since I have started enjoying drinking sake, almost every time I have drunk, I always have had Kokuryu. 

Because I feel very passionate about Kokuryu so I could not hide my excitement today.  As soon as we arrived there, I was amazed by their buildings standing with impressive dignity in the great nature.  I also felt respectful and thankful about the great manner of employees there.  From the great employees, every small thing in their buildings and its atmosphere, I experienced their greatness, seriousness and passion.  No wonder many people have enjoyed drinking Kokuryu for 211years.  I would like to know more about them.  On our way back to the office, we saw a convenience store that sell Kokuryu in their neighborhood which I never saw before.  Kokuryu is also supported and loved by their neighbors as well!!!



The environment makes sake



At the windy evening before last, a meeting which the members enjoy local sake and dishes in Fukui was held. 

The sake brewery "Kitazen-shoten" in Imajo, an old post town in Fukui brought their products to serve.

And the chief brewer talked about his philosophy that the environment makes sake.