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Preparation at Yasui Sake Brewery

I visited the [Yasui Sake Brewery] in Mizuguchi / Visited a sake brewery in Lake Biwa, Shiga

Shiga has a plain centered on Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, and the subsoil water from the surrounding mountains still serves as the brewing water for many sake breweries. We will focus on sake breweries with rich individuality and their passion for sake brewing. For the 9th issue, we visited Yasui Sake Brewery in Mizuguchi, Koka City, which brews sake with water, rice, and people nurtured by the mountains.

1.Well Changing" to cleanse the well with joy and thanksgiving.

Tsuchiyama-cho, Koka City, is a town of tea plantations. Yasui Sake Brewery, located along the old Tokaido Highway, has been brewing sake here since its establishment in 1884.

Exterior view of Yasui Sake Brewery

A pendulum clock on a pillar quietly ticks away the time. The space is full of history, and the aroma of mellow sake fills the air. It must be old. All we have is well water, an old Sase-style machine, and a chimney," smiles Toshiharu Yasui, the fifth-generation brewer and chief brewer.

Well at Yasui Sake Brewery

The well mentioned in Toshiharu's words is located in the center of the brewery. The water from this well is said to be the reason why the first generation started brewing sake here. Originally, there was a doctor's house here, but the story goes that the founder moved here because of the good water and started brewing sake.
[The brewing of sake at Yasui Sake Brewery begins in the fall with a "well change," in which the well is washed and cleaned. The public is invited to participate, and the bottom stones of the well are pulled out and scrubbed with a scrubbing brush. The brewers feel the joy of brewing sake and clean the wells to express their gratitude.

Mr. Yasui, brewer of Yasui Sake Brewery

They say sake is made with water and rice, but our sake is made with water and rice. Water comes first. This well water is the lifeblood of our sake," says Riharu. The well water from the Suzuka mountain range is soft and mellow. [It is the key to the flavor of Hatsuzakura, Yasui Sake Brewery's representative brand. Of course, the rice is also important. In addition to Yamadanishiki, rice such as Nipponbare and Mizukagami from Tsuchiyama is also used. The water, the rice, and the people are all made in Tsuchiyama," he says, overflowing with his love for his hometown. This sake is a true taste of Tsuchiyama.

2.A never-ending spirit of exploration that grows more interesting with each passing year.

Currently, Toshiharu serves as toji (master brewer), and his wife Megumi, son Taro, and nearby tea farmers also participate in the brewing process.

Preparation at Yasui Sake Brewery
Preparation at Yasui Sake Brewery

After training at a sake brewery in Tokyo, Toshiharu returned to his parents' home about 30 years ago at the age of 23. At that time, Yasui Sake Brewery was loved by people as a "local brewery.
Until about 20 years ago, that was the way business was done. But times have changed, and we can no longer survive on that basis alone. We had to sell our products widely through liquor stores," he recalls.

Preparation at Yasui Sake Brewery

Furthermore, the chief brewer, Mr. Noto, who had been taking care of the brewery, became ill, and Mr. Toshiharu took on the role of chief brewer as well. He was unable to come to the brewery, so I had to report back to him by fax and learn how to make sake while he was teaching me. He told me, 'Brewing sake is easy. If you do it the same way, you can do it" (laughs). At first, I just worked very hard. But gradually, I wanted to learn how to make better sake. That's why sake brewing is so interesting. It gets more interesting every year," says Toshiharu.

3.People Connecting Sake and Smiles Why we don't sell online.

Taro, the sixth generation, began participating in sake brewing three years ago.

Preparation at Yasui Sake Brewery

We have good water, which is one of our strong points. We started growing our own rice two years ago. This land is full of important things," he says.
And then there are new challenges. Taro-san's own series of sake brewed by Ikuhashi Taro has also made its debut. The label, which he designed himself as New Hatsusakura, is also well received.

Young people are leaving Tsuchiyama. [If the Yasui Sake Brewery can sell sake and grow even a little, and if we can increase the number of people working locally, I think it will be more exciting. That is my ultimate goal," Taro says of his contribution to the community.

Taro Yasui, Yasui Sake Brewery

Toshiharu also says, "We are not trying to expand so drastically, but it would be nice if our sake could be served throughout the country.
But it is through people. Another key feature is that they do not sell their sake online. We have a relationship with sake dealers who think our sake is good, and if we can spread the word in that way," he said. It's good to do business with people you can see face to face. After all, you want to meet people, don't you?
Yasui Sake Brewery's catchphrase is "good sake with a big smile. While sharing sake, people get to know Tsuchiyama, the birthplace of this sake, and their faces light up with joy. Yasui's wish is to create many such scenes.

Yasui Family of Yasui Sake Brewery

Toshiharu Yasui (photo at left), the fifth-generation brewer, was born in 1967. After graduating from high school, he entered the family business at the age of 23 after completing an apprenticeship. His wife Megumi (pictured right) holds calligraphy classes, and her calligraphy can be seen on the labels. Taro Yasui (middle photo) was born in 1994. He is the eldest son of Toshiharu and Megumi Yasui and the sixth generation of the family. He has been in the family business for three years. He supports the brewery from new angles, such as inventing pop-up seasonal labels.

4.The Yasui Sake Brewery's Sake Collection

Yasui Sake Brewery's Namahashigotoaro Tamakae

Ikahojotaro Tamakae 720ml 1441yen / Not too strong, not too light. A bottle with mild sweetness and umami added to the moderately tasty Namahyoshitaro. Warmed or chilled. Sold all year round.

Yasui Sake Brewery's Namahashidotaro Ginbuki

Ikuhashitaro Ginbuki 720ml, 1,650 yen / A well-balanced sake with a strong sweetness but also acidity. It is refreshing and recommended for summer. Serve cold. Sold all year round.

Junmai Ginjo Hi-iri Yamada Momoe at Yasui Sake Brewery

Junmai Ginjyo Hi-iri Yamada Momoe 720ml ¥1848 / This luxurious sake is made from 100% Yamada-Nishiki and polished to 55%. [This is the highest grade of the Yasui Sake Brewery. Sake at room temperature or cold. Sold all year round.

Yasui Sake Brewery's Haru Hi-iri

Haru Hi-iri 720ml 1362 yen / The first sake made by Riharu. Aged in tanks at room temperature, this junmai sake has a slightly golden color. Warmed. Sold all year round.

Mizukagami Junmai Hi-iri from Yasui Shuzojo

MIZUKAGAMI Junmai Hiiri 720ml 1364 yen / Dry sake made from rice rice grown in Tsuchiyama, MIZUKAGAMI. It has a taste that will make sake fans swoon. Warmed or chilled. Sold all year round.

5.[Where to buy sake from [Yasui Sake Brewery

■ Shiga Prefecture
[Ogawa Sake Shop] 077-524-2203/1-31, Hamaotsu 2-chome, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[077-522-4546 / 13-1 Kinoshita-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[077-552-8070 / 3 Kitanakakoji, Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture
[077-562-0007 / 700-24 Oiwake, Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[0748-27-0014/447 Yamagami-cho, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
[0748-33-3311 / 5 Tameshinmachi, Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
[077-581-0322 / 2-11-18 Imajuku, Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture
[Sazanami Sake Shop] 0749-22-1201/11-9 Sawa-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture
[0749-22-0575 / 5-10 Funamachi, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture
[Hinoya Sake Shop] 0748-66-0092/2192-1 Kitaduchiyama, Tsuchiyama-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
[Marufuku Sake Shop] 0748-86-2116 / 2200 Fukagawa, Konan-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture

■ Kyoto Prefecture
[Nishimoto Sake Shop] 075-221-0452/480 Miyaki-cho, Nishinotoin Nishiiru, Anekoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[Ueda Sake Shop] 075-781-5265/7 Yamabatakawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

6.Yasui-san's recommendation! Delicious Ate in the Neighborhood (1) [Restaurant Yamaichi Suisan

Restaurant Yamaichi Suisan Mushigaki

Oysters from Yorishima, Okayama Prefecture, are used. The grains are not so large, but they are said to be rich and filling. Steamed and served lightly, Mushikaki (steamed oyster) 650 yen.

Fried Oysters at Yamaichi Suisan

Even when the plump oysters are fried to a crisp, they still have a creamy texture and rich flavor. This is fried oysters from Hiroshima Prefecture, 580 yen.

Restaurant Yamaichi Suisan

  • (Japanese restaurant) Yamaichi Suisan
  • 362-2 Ichiba, Tsuchiyama-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
  • 6 minutes drive from Koga-Tsuchiyama IC of Meishin Expressway
  • Tel.090-4744-9273

7.Yasui's recommendation! Delicious Ate in the Neighborhood (2) [Omicha Marukichi

Omicha Marukichi Roasted Tea Soufflé

A two-layered dessert consisting of roasted tea pudding topped with a jelly yose of honey-boiled azuki beans. You can enjoy the difference in texture and flavor while it is smooth. Roasted tea pudding: 375 yen per piece

Roasted tea plin of Omi Cha Marukichi

A rich, rich product baked by adding roasted tea with a pronounced aroma to meringue and white chocolate. The moist and fluffy texture is delicious. Roasted tea soufflé 5 pieces, 1188 yen

Omi Cha Marukichi

  • All is well that ends well
  • 2723 Ohno, Tsuchiyama-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
  • 10 minutes drive from Koga-Tsuchiyama IC of Meishin Expressway
  • Tel. 0748-67-1333

8.[Yasui Sake Brewery

Inside Yasui Sake Brewery

Yasui Sake Brewery

  • cheap distillery
  • 225 Tokuhara, Tsuchiyama-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
  • 9 minutes drive from Koga-Tsuchiyama IC in Shin-Meishin area
  • Tel. 0748-67-0027
  • 8:00-18:00
  • Irregular holidays
  • 3 parking spaces
  • https://hatsusakura.jp/

  • PHOTO/Takahiro Takami, TEXT/Tomomi Uryu
*Please note that the information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
*Since this site uses automatic translation, the translation may differ from the original Japanese content.

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