Is Kochi's Sake Tradition the Secret to Japan's Finest Brews?

Tosa and Its Sake Tradition


Kochi Prefecture, formerly known as Tosa, proudly declares itself as the "land of sake." The local culture is synonymous with enjoying drinks, notably highlighted during the annual Dorome-Matsuri in late April. The festival features the Taihai Nomihoshi Taikai, a competition where participants rapidly consume large vessels of sake. The celebratory atmosphere, though sometimes leading to a few unwell participants, embodies Kochi's open and straightforward spirit.


Challenges of Kochi Sake Production


Kochi's warm and humid climate poses challenges for sake production. However, these conditions have driven local breweries to refine their techniques, resulting in unique and high-quality sake. Access to pristine water from the Shimanto and Niyodo rivers and specially cultivated rice adapted to the humid climate contribute to Kochi's sake distinction. Each brewery adds generational skills and techniques, creating a diverse range of top-quality sake.


Innovations in Sake Yeast


Kochi gained recognition in the 1990s for pioneering experiments with ginjo yeast. The Kochi Sake Research Institute even sent yeast into space to observe its effects, pushing the boundaries of sake production. This bold experimentation with yeast contributes to Kochi's reputation for innovation in the sake industry.


Kameizumi Sake Brewery's Legacy


Established in 1897 by 11 sake enthusiasts, Kameizumi Sake Brewery in Tosa, Kochi, holds a rich history. The brewery sources water from 'Mannen no Izumi,' a spring that has never run dry since the Edo period. This crystal-clear water from the Niyodo River system supports the brewing process, resulting in Kameizumi sake with a subtle sweetness and gentle taste.


Kameizumi Junmai Ginjo Genshu Kouiku No.63: A Taste of Kochi


This sake embodies Kochi's terroir with native rice, water, and yeast. The slow fermentation process at low temperatures enhances fruit-forward aromas. The unique Kochi yeast, AA41, contributes melon and banana notes. Soft and mellow, this sake pairs exquisitely with sushi and sashimi, showcasing the essence of Kochi's sake-making tradition.