On Monday, May 7th, suddenly finding myself with some time to spare, I agreed to travel all the way to Numazu City with my sake friends, Messrs. Nagashima and Yokoyama, to visit a Kura I had wanted to visit for some time: Takashima Brewery whose sake are known under the name of Hakuin Masamune. But another reason was the shochun « En » I introduced in former posting.
The last generation who took over to let his father enjoy a well-earned retirement, came in the person of Kazukata Takashima, a burly judoka of nearly 29 years. For all his apparent youth, he showed us quickly he was already an accomplished « kurabito » keen to share his knowledge and experience. He came back to his father’s kura 5 years ago to help him improve his family’s business before he completely takes over all aspects of brewing/distilling with his staff of 4.
Sitting in the middle of an bric-a-brac of antiques oand curios f all sorts, we briskly asked our questions Mr. Takashima seemed only to happy to answer and build on.
We tasted the water from his well as he explained it came from a depth of 50 metres where the waters originated from nearby Mount Fuji’s snow and took 350 years (yes 350!) to slowly sip through rocks to finally reach this location! He showed the « Torii » and shine the family built for the well which has served his kura so well since 1804.
We were then taken on the traditional tour of the kura where modern equipment equally shared space with traditional facities and tools. We tasted the water, a pure nectar with its distinct characteristics.
Mr. Takashima does not only brew sake but also shochu distilled from his sake kasu (white lees) before being let to rest and mature in Spanish sherry oaken casks!
We were offered a great lecture on his distilling and also even had the rare opportunity to savour the taste of his research on loquat and plum liqueurs! He is busy, now that the sake is taken care of, researching on new possibilities , including what food could be best appreciated with his brews.
I can assure you this will not be my first interview!