AVAILABLE IN USA
720 ml & 300 ml
AVAILABLE IN USA
720 ml Only
Divine Droplets is made
in an igloo-like "Ice Dome"
at -2C, 90% humidity, and no wind.
Takasago Shuzo was originally established in 1899 in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, under the name Kohiyama Shuzo. We struggled, but
continued to produce sake during the war. In 1965, we merged with another sake brewer in Asahikawa, and changed our company name, as well as the name of our sake, to Takasago. Our white-walled kura, built
in 1909, is one of the more attractive buildings in Asahikawa (see photo below).
Asahikawa has been called "the Nada of the North," because there was
at one time a lot of sake being brewed there, and we are the oldest sakagura in the area. It is cold here, with the temperature regularly falling to -20C.
Needless to say, the snow is
relentless in the winter. It is a wonderful environment in which to brew sake. We proceed bearing in mind the three principles set forth by our founder almost a century ago: The customer is number
one, continue to try and make better and better sake, and always be learning.
Our sake is, simply put, dry and balanced. Most of what we brew is light
, with a flavor that spreads well across the palate. Approximately 63% of what we make is tokutei meishoushu (special designation) sake, which
means it is "good" stuff. Of that 63%, 12% is ginjo-shu (premium sake). We would rather make quality than quantity.
Our current president is Ryoichi Shiraga. Before him was Toru Kohiyama, a third-generation kuramoto. Around the year 2000, Kohiyma came to a great realization that led to a great decision. He realized that it would no
longer be possible to compete with the large brewers from Nada and Fushimi when it came to selling standard sake. Their sake was simply too cheap, even here in Hokkaido. Says Kohiyama: "When I realized
that it was a battle we could not win, I decided that we would focus on making good, craft sake, with a local flavor, much like Wagashi (Japanese sweets). I felt that this would help us survive, compete, and
thrive." This is the successful strategy that we continue to pursue today.
Size and Special Characteristics
We brew about 4800 koku a year, which amounts to 900 kiloliters or so. Among that, the ration of special designation sake and ginjo-shu is
higher than most sakagura in Japan. While this volume is comparatively higher than many smaller breweries, it is certainly still a relatively small amount. This allows us to maintain our high brewing standards.
Each year, after the temperature drops below -10C, we build an Ice Dome outside near the main kura building. The Ice Dome is basically an igloo inside of which the temperature
stays about -2C or so. It is in this Ice Dome that we make our daiginjo sake, which we call Ichiya Shizuku. The low temperature means nasty bacteria cannot survive, and allows us to make
clean, pure, super premium sake.
The name Ichiya Shizuku means "drip overnight," which is precisely how we press the sake, that is, how we separate the clear sake from the
fermenting rice lees. The moromi mash is put into canvas bags, and the sake is allowed to drip out slowly overnight, with no pressure at all applied to the mash. While this may seem wasteful, it creates the most
wonderful, light and clear sake possible.
Toji (Master Brewer) and Kurabito
(Photo: Tokujiro Sasaki)
Tokujiro Sasaki, our master brewer, is in his mid-70s and going strong. He is of the Nanbu school of toji, centered in Iwate Prefecture. Helping him are 13 others, all of them skilled sake-brewing veterans. Year after
year, cold day after cold day, they labor together at their craft to make our sake what it is.
17 Miyashita-dori, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido
070-0030, Tel 81-166-23-2251 Fax 81-166-22-0973
-- 81 is Japan country code; within Japan, dial 0166-23-2251 --
Web: takasagoshuzo.com (J)