Built in 1333, Himeji Castle is covered in a shiny white exterior and is said to resemble a magnificent heron bird in flight. The castle has remained resilient through years, surviving a bombing raid during World War 2, and left relatively intact from a massive earthquake that caused significant damage to the city of Himeji.
In late-March to mid-April every year, the cherry trees that surround Himeji Castle bloom spectacularly, transforming the famous castle into one of Japan's premier cherry blossom viewing spots. But did you know, that cherry blossoms around Himeji Castle are special for other reasons as well? One of them is that a very unique sake yeast was developed from the cherry blossoms that bloom at Himeji Castle, a World Heritage site.
The background to this project was the grand opening of Himeji Castle and the regional revitalisation of the Banshu area through industry-government-academia cooperation. It is a joint masterpiece of Himeji Dokkyo University, a local sake brewer Honda Shoten. Associate Professor Masayoshi Kawai and his colleagues at the Department of Hygiene and Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, cultivated and isolated 242 different yeast strains from the petals of the cherry blossoms that bloom in Himeji Castle. After two years of research, the yeast was commercialised in the spring of 2015, with the first sales starting in time for the grand opening of Himeji Castle. The result is an unprecedented premiere, with a clean taste reminiscent of white wine, but still retaining the taste of sake.
Tatsuriki Himejijo Sakura Kobo Sake has a refreshing taste with a sourness like that of plums. The characteristic sourness is unique to wild yeast. It comes in a quite charming pink glass bottle which reminds of the walls of Himeji castle. This is a sake that represents the beauty of Himeji castle surrounded by cherry blossoms, and we invite you to try this masterpiece!