Ekiben/Station Bento (1): Minato Aji Zushi


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sake, shochu and sushi

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“Ekiben” is the abreviation for “Eki”/Railway Station and “Ben”/Bento-Lunch box.
These packed lunches are extremely popular in Japan (I counted more than 90 in Shizuoka Prefecture alone!), as not only they make for a very satisfying lunch during a long trip, but they are usually made up with local ingredients, thus offering a good idea of what is eaten in the particular region you are visiting or going through!

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I found this limited seasonal (Spring only) ekiben at Mishima JR Station Shinkasen Platform.
It is actually made in nearby Numazu City, one of the major fishing harbours in Japan (it does have a JR Station, but no Shinkasen stops there), and consists of Aji (sebream) sushi.
The lunch includes three types of sushi: nigiri (a piece of fish atop a ball of rice) secured by a band of pickled cherry tree leaf, another nigiri made up of a ball of rice mixed with the same fish inside a pouch made of pickled cherry tree leaf and a sushi maki also envelopped in pickled cherry tree leaf instead of the usual “nori”/seaweed. The fish is caught and pickled in Numazu City, therefore absolutely safe for consumption.

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The beauty is that we are provided with a piece of real fresh Wasabi (from Amagi Plateau in Izu Peninsula) with a grater and soy sauce!
You could not find something more typical of Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Tenjingura-Hamamatsu Brewery/Distillery


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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NOTE:: I usually confine this type of report to other blogs at Shizuoka Sake or Shizuoka Shochu, but as this particular establishment covers more than that, I thought it would become useful to a larger audience.

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On a beautiful cold day on Friday, February 29th, I met Matthew (Matt) Ryan, an Australian resident in Hamamatsu City with my student, Mika Sakurai, at the JR Station to honour an invitation by Mr. Yasuo Nakamura to visit his Brewery.
An extraordinarily affable gentleman, he is the 6th generation-owner of Hamamtsu Brewery founded in 1871 by his ancestor Goroshichi (the name of one of extravagant rice shochu) Nakamura.
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Actually Nakamura was the original name of the Brewery until they absorbed other breweries in 1953 and changed their name to Hamamatsu Brewery (under Government orders).
Mr. Nakamura’s father, who opened a beer hall some 20 years ago, finally was allowed thanks to a change of law to create a beer brewery on the same premises in 1998. His son started producing kome/rice shochu in 2003, and umeshu 1n 2005. This year saw the brewing of their first “yamahai” sake, a brand of very traditional sake hard to find anywhere (only 3 more breweries presently produce it in Shizuoka Prefecture), and quite a labour of love.
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Another first, and in this case for the whole Shizuoka Sake World, a 28-years old lady, Ms. Miwa Masui, is in charge of the (Nanbu Guild) brewing from this very year! (I don’t really know how to call her as there is no femnine form for Master Brewer!) Although I’m extremely proud of my male gender, I do think this is great news, proving that some establishments are willing to work along the times!
I can hear Melinda and Etsuko rejoicing! (Why don’t you come down to Hamamatsu? It will a great pleasure to accompany you!)
We were granted the “real” visit ( a very personal one indeed, as “tourists” are certainly not allowed within the “heart” of the brewery!) and my two friends assailed poor Mr. Nakamura who had just enough time to explain along with my interpreting.
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We were lucky to be shown the process for the last batch of “yamahai” (after that, they will start brewing beer while continuing producing shochu, umeshu and other liqueurs) and appreciate the texture and flavour of the rice before a peek into the “koji muro” (fermenting chamber).
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When we took a peek at the sake fermenting in one of the vats, Mr. Nakamura had to point out to enthusiastic Matt not to fall inside as he was eagerly looking into its entrails, or that would the his end on this world (it did happen in Japan recently to an unfortunate individual who met his final demise by accidentally falling inside such a vat!)!
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Hamamatsu Brewery is a very well organized company at every level. Not only they produce sake, shochu, liqueurs and beer, but you can even use their event space for private enterprises from weding to private rock concerts!
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Now, their kome/rice shochu are an extravagant affair!
They are exclusively made from “sake kasu”/white lees distilled as soon as produced.
I know a lot of people in Kyushu who will have to revise some of their views if hey are given the chance to taste them! I can imagine Gaijin Tonic making a foray there!

Their shop is a must in itself, and I can assure you that you will be embarrassed by the choice of goods on display, that incidentally you can pay with a credit card, a very rare occurence in this very traditional world!

Hamamatsu Brewery Technical facts:
Sake Production: 80,000 1.8 l bottles
Shochu production: 1,000 l.
Umeshu production: 6,000l.
Beer Production: 2,000 l.

Rice: Aichi no Kaori, Yamada Nishiki, Gohyakumangoku, Homare Fuji (all Shizuoka Prefecture)
yamada Nishiki (Hyogo Prefecture), Miyama (Akita Prefecture)

Yeasts: SY103, HB-1, NEW-5 (all Shizuoka Prefecture). No 9 & No 10.

Tenjingura/Hamamatsu Brewery Co. Ltd.
430-463-3851 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Tenjin Machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-4616145
Fax: 053-463-3851
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Business hours: 10:30~21:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Catering: Lunch & Dinner (dinner course on reservation)
Visits: Sake and beer breweries visits on reservation.