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Image of Hata Brewery

A visit to [Hata Sake Brewery] in Yokaichi / Visiting Sake Breweries 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 making. For the 13th installment, we visited the Hata Sake Brewery in Higashiomi City, where everything from rice to sake is made by the brewer's own hands, and where the brewer pours his heart and soul into his work.

1.Fourth generation and new brand with the same name as the first generation

The rice paddies spread out at the foot of Akagami Mountain, where Tarobo Shrine is located. In the fall, ears of rice are growing on the sake rice grown by Daijiro Hata, the fourth generation of the Hata Shuzo brewery, called Ginbuki.

Rice field of Hata Sake Brewery

Hata Sake Brewery was established in this area in 1914 and has spun a history of over 100 years. I heard that the brewery started as a sake brewery called tsubo-iri, where sake was sold by weight and customers could drink it standing in the store," said Hata. Daijiro Hata I started brewing sake in the Taisho era (1912-1926) and introduced his signature sake, Kiryoyoshi, to the world. The fourth generation of the same name launched a new brand in 1999, which is also called "Daijiro.
My grandmother gave me my name because the first generation of my family died young, around 35 years old, and she wanted me to live as long as possible to make up for that. As for the sake name, the priest of the temple who also writes the etiquette characters suggested that this name would be good," he says. The strong handwriting conveys the spirit of the founder and the history of the brewery, which has been passed down from generation to generation.

2.Sake born from the voices of farmers saved the day.

The name Ojiro was revived as if guided by its surroundings. Implicit in this sake is the desire for the rice that has been produced here for generations.
The impetus for making "Daijiro" came from a farmer who said, "I would like to drink sake made from the rice I grow. Until then, we had been purchasing sake rice from the sake brewers' association, and although we knew the general production area, we did not know the producer. I thought that if this was the first sake brewed with rice that I knew the producer of, I would release it under a new brand.

Image of Hata Brewery

When "Ojiro" was launched in 1999, the company was in a difficult financial situation, faced with a choice between sake brewing and quitting. They decided to give the sake brewery's future a shot in the arm by naming the brewery after the founder and himself. Our main business has always been to sell directly to the local community. However, with the establishment of mass merchandisers and discount stores, the way people buy sake has changed. Sales were declining, and we felt that we could not go on like this, so we started "Daijiro" as a last-ditch effort. Fortunately, there were liquor stores that accepted us, and here we are today.

Image of Hata Brewery

Brewing sake with contract farmers has also changed Hata's mind.
Knowing who produced the rice and how was a big deal. I have been watching the rice since it was being planted. It makes the sake brewing even more exciting.

3.In 2010, a turning point in the company's history, he took on the role of rice grower and toji (chief brewer).

A further turning point came in 2010.
Mr. Hata himself also started growing rice. The farmer who was renting our rice paddies decided to quit, so I decided to do it myself. I gradually increased the amount of rice I grow and now have about 2.5 hectares. All of the rice is Ginbukiyo, which is sake rice. Now I make sake with the rice from my own rice paddy and rice from a nearby contract farmer.
It was also in 2010 that he took the lead in sake brewing as toji (master brewer).
The toji who had come from Noto when we started Daijiro was getting old, and we were told from the beginning that he would have to learn in 10 years. It was around that time that he was replaced.

Image of Hata Brewery

It has been more than a decade since he started growing rice and also became involved in sake brewing as a toji (master brewer).
I realize every day that there are many hardships involved in manufacturing. Every year is the first year for sake brewing. Even a 50-year veteran has only made sake 50 times. The same goes for rice cultivation. It is a never-ending process of trial and error. It's hard work," says Hata, "but it's also fun.
I think I am able to do this now because there is fun in the midst of the hardship, and the fun prevails," he said.
What is the source of the fun? I guess it's when people tell me how good the sake tastes. I am sure that the first person who wanted to drink sake made from the rice I produced was the same way. I am looking forward to working with people who want to enjoy drinking sake made from the rice I produced. I look forward to drinking that sake. It's a hard job, so I think they also wanted to enjoy it," he said.
Rice is planted in the spring, and in the summer, the weeds are mowed diligently while worrying about rain. Finally, harvest comes in the fall, and winter, the sake-making season, finally arrives. By the time the sake that tastes the four seasons in Higashiomi arrives, Mr. Hata is sure to be thinking about planting rice again.

Mr. Hata of Hata Sake Brewery

[Daijiro Hata, the fourth generation representative director of Hata Sake Brewery, was born in 1968. After graduating from high school, he worked at a sake store for four and a half years before entering the family business. 1999, he launched a new brand, Daijiro, and since 2010, he has been responsible for sake brewing as the toji (chief brewer).

4.A collection of Hata Sake Brewery's sake that you should try at least once.

Hata Sake Brewery Products

Daijiro Junmai Namaishu 1800ml, 2,860 yen. This standard junmai sake is served cold, and the flavor of the sake rice, Ginbukiyo, can be felt from the first sip. Limited quantity

Hata Sake Brewery Products

Daijiro Yamahai Junmai Hi-ire 1800ml, 2,970 yen. GI "Shiga" certified sake. Recommended to be heated.

Hata Sake Brewery Products

Daijiro Nama Hashiro Junmai Nama Sake 1800ml, 3300 yen. Made with Watafune No. 2 grape, this sake has a unique flavor with a lot of graininess. Cold to warmed to your liking.

Hata Sake Brewery Products

Daijirou Nama-nishiki Nama-shu, 1800ml, 3,300 yen. A dry, crisp taste with an addictive, refreshing sensation. Serve cold.

Hata Sake Brewery Products

Kiaranou Junmai 1800ml, 2,750 yen. A sake with a long history of popularity. Sake that accompanies your daily life with its calm flavor.

5.[Where you can buy [Hatake Brewery] sake

■ Shiga Prefecture
[Koizumi [0748-23-2666] 228-5 Aobacho, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
[Shigakuma Shoten] 0748-23-3028/5-7, Fudanotsuji 1-chome, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga Prefecture
[Omasuya] 0748-27-0014 / 447 Yamagamicho, Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture
[Liquor Cunk] 0748-52-0221 / 486-5 Uchiike, Hino-cho, Gamo-gun, Shiga Prefecture
[Torawaka] 0748-37-7252 / 229 Nishi-Hongo-cho, Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
[Yamagataya Liquor] 0749-22-1308 / 6-7 Ginza-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture
[Nakano Sake Shop] 077-562-0244/1-6-17 Oji, Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[Kitada Liquor Store] 077-552-8070 / 3 Kitanakoji, Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture
[Washida Liquor Store] 077-582-2153 / 118 Nakamachi, Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture
[Kato Liquor Store] 077-522-4546 / 13-1 Kinoshita-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[Ogawa Sake Shop] 077-524-2203/1-31, Hamaotsu 2-chome, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[Yoshino] 077-537-1901 / 18-19 Matsubara-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[Tokiwaya Sake Shop] 077-572-8358/2-12 Akane-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
[Sake no Sakaeya] 0748-33-3311 / 5 Kamishincho, Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
[8-16-14 Oiwake-cho, Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
[Hashimotoya] 0749-62-3170 / 847 Kamiteru-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture
[Sazanami Sake Shop] 0749-22-1201 / 10-4 Sawa-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture
[Sake Shochuya] 077-581-0322/11-18, 2-chome, Imajuku, Moriyama-shi, Shiga

■ Kyoto Prefecture
[Nishimura Sake Shop] 075-781-3049/3 Kubota-cho, Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[Liquor Inn Shima] 075-841-0026 / 18 Mibu-Sennen-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[Meishukan Takimoto] 075-341-9111 / Rokujo-dori, Takakura-higashiiru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[Osaki Shoten] 075-601-013 / 479 Misuhan-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[Local sake and wine specialty store Maruman] 0774-52-3582 / 92-4 Terada Kitayamada, Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture
[Nishimoto Sake Shop] 075-221-0452/480 Miyagi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
[075-981-0553 / A3-109, 2-1 Otokoyama Takezono, Yawata City, Kyoto, Japan

6.Recommended by the brewery! Delicious Ate in the Neighborhood (1) [Yokaichi no Mori

Chocolat Balm mini in the forest of Yokaichi

Chocolat Balm mini, 648 yen for 1 piece, tastes even better when slightly heated in the microwave as the ganache melts!

Yokaichi no Mori

  • forest of iodine
  • 38-15 Midori-cho, Yokaichi, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
  • 22 minutes walk from Yokaichi Station on the Omi Railway.
  • Tel. 0748-22-7777

7.Recommended by the brewery! Delicious Ate in the Neighborhood (2) [Uoshige Daioh-den

Cuisine of the Fish Shigeru Daioh-den

The two-tier boxed lunch box (to-go) priced at 5,000 yen is filled with a variety of their signature kaiseki dishes such as sashimi, tempura, sushi, etc. Reservations required. Reservations required. Contents change according to the season.

banquet and concert pavilion (of the inner Heian Palace)

  • Usuoge Daisho Den
  • 2323-1, Kowaki-cho, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
  • 7 min. walk from Tarobo-miyamae Sta. on the Omi Railway.
  • Tel. 0748-23-5179

8.[Store information of [Hatake Brewery

Inside the Hata Brewery

Hata Sake Brewery

  • statue of Vaisravana (Buddhist statue)
  • 1410 Kowaki-cho, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
  • 8 min. walk from Tarobo-miyamae Sta. on the Omi Railway.
  • Tel.0748-22-0332
  • 9:00-18:00
  • Closed on Wednesdays
  • 10 parking lots
  • http://daijirou.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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