The Story of Kamenoo Phantom Sake Rice
Kamenoo, which originated in the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture, is a sake rice with a long history. In 1893, Abe Kameji found three ears in a neighbouring rice field that had withstood cold damage and were bearing strong fruit. He cultivated them for several years through a process of trial and error, and the result was the Kamenoo. At first, it was called 'Shinho' but was named 'Kamenoo' (literally "turtle's tail") after one of characters in the name of the founder.
The quality of Kamenoo has led to its rapid expansion, particularly in eastern Japan. It also believed to be the ancestor of today's leading sake rice Koshihikari. At the time, it was such a famous sake rice that it was known as Omachi in the west and Kamenoo in the east. Kamenoo was widely cultivated because of its good taste, but it was vulnerable to pests, and the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides made the rice extremely brittle, making it unsuitable for modern farming methods, and it gradually disappeared.
In the 1980s, Norimichi Kusumi, a sake brewer based in Washima village, Niigata Prefecture, was inspired to revive Kamenoo after hearing from a famous master brewer that sake made from Kamenoo used to be excellent. It took three years to grow enough grain to produce sake. The famous Japanese manga comic “Natsuko no Sake”, which is based on this story, was a hit, and now more than a hundred brands made from Kamenoo have been produced by various sake brewers.
Natsuko no Sake by Akira Oze
Try a Unique Namazake Made With Phantom Rice
Sake made from Kamenoo rice often have subdued aromatic intensity, but a rich, citrusy flavor profile. It tends toward the dry side and is often earthy with umami that lingers on the palate. Acidity can be elevated and features sour cream or yogurt notes. On this Namazake Day, we invite you to try namazake made with Kamenoo rice. Tatenokawa Junmai Daiginjo SHIELD Kamenoo is a seasonal limited edition namazake, so do not miss an opportunity to try this very special sake!