In the world of sake, Hiroshima proudly claims the title of "The Birthplace of Ginjo." Ginjo, a refined category comprising merely seven percent of all sake, distinguishes itself not only by the degree of rice milling but also by the meticulous process of longer-term, lower-temperature fermentation.
The assertion that ginjo brewing originated in Hiroshima finds its roots in the contributions of Senzaburo Miura. Born in 1847, Mr. Miura led a life marked by challenges, diversities, and, inadvertently, the transformation of Hiroshima's sake production.
Originally part of a successful family business resembling a general store, Mr. Miura ventured into sake brewing. Seeking expertise, he traveled to Nada, situated partly in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture—known as the epicenter of sake brewing. However, after four years, his sake consistently spoiled, leading to the closure of the family's brewing enterprise.
Determined to enhance the quality of sake, Mr. Miura's quest brought him to Fushimi in Kyoto, where he discovered the crucial role of water type in brewing. Recognizing the disparity between hard water in Nada and soft water in Kyoto (and Hiroshima), he learned to adapt techniques to Hiroshima's soft water and shared this insight with the local brewing community.
The impact was profound. Hiroshima's sake rapidly gained acclaim, winning numerous awards. The key to this success lay in the region's soft water, dictating a slow fermentation process at lower temperatures. Senzaburo Miura's innovation was to adjust brewing techniques accordingly, allowing for an extended and meticulous brewing period.
In essence, Hiroshima's soft water became the catalyst for slow fermentation, prompting the chemically facilitated development of exquisite flavors. Senzaburo Miura's revelation paved the way for the birth of ginjo, characterized by its slow brewing process at lower temperatures.
Therefore, Hiroshima brewers proudly assert that, through the pioneering efforts of Senzaburo Miura, ginjo-shu brewing found its roots in Hiroshima—a testament to the region's unique water and the artistry of extending time for the creation of exceptional sake.
On that note, savor Hiroshima sake—an embodiment of tradition, innovation, and the enduring legacy of Senzaburo Miura's contributions to the world of refined sake. When it comes to Hiroshima-style Junmai Ginjo you can't go wrong with Maboroshi Junmai Ginjo, which is representative of the Hiroshima region which is known for soft water and crisp flavors.