Types of Sake Rice: Miyama Nishiki and Its Characteristics

Miyama Nishiki and Its Characteristics


Miyama Nishiki was bred in Nagano Prefecture with the aim of replacing Takane Nishiki, and has spread widely throughout the Tohoku, Kanto and Hokuriku regions due to its suitability for sake brewing and its strong resistance to cold. Miyama Nishiki is renowned for its large grain and attractive shinpaku core of opaque starch, which resembles the snow capped peaks of the beautiful mountain ranges. And that is where the name comes from: Miyama literally translates to “beautiful mountain brocade”. It is the third most popular sake rice variety in terms of annual production after Yamadanishiki and Gohyakumangoku, but in recent years it has been declining due to the rise of original varieties in each prefecture.


Sake made from Miyama Nishiki can be described in one word: 'simple sake', as it tends to be light and thin, and has as a refreshing and clean taste. Its modest aroma means that it has no peculiar flavours and can be enjoyed even by those who are not fond of the unique aroma of Japanese sake.


The reason for this is that Miyama Nishiki is an early rice variety, and is one of the first rice to be harvested each year. This means that the rice grows quickly and is hard, making it difficult to break up in the fermentation mash during brewing, releasing less flavour into the end product.


Recommended Miyama Nishiki Sake


Since its establishment in 1832, Tatenokawa has been making authentic sake by hand, using traditional methods for almost 180 years. In 2010, in order to achieve a new 100 year vision, Tatenokawa established themselves as one of the only breweries to switch to a completely Junmai Daiginjo-only production.


Tatenokawa Miyama Nishiki Nakadori is a sake that shows off the best characteristics of the rice. It has light, sweet, overall round flavor with balanced acidity and a pleasantly lingering aftertaste. Nakadori, which translates to "middle-cut", is the name given to the part of the fermentation mash with the best balance of aroma and flavour.


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