Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Oomuraya Brewery-Rendai Goshi Shimada Juku Honjozo


In 1601, Tokugawa Ieyasu organized the postal, transport and travelling system along the 496 kilometer long Tokaido Road from the Nihonーbashi Bridge in Edo to the Sanjyo-Ôhashi Bridge in Kyoto, building fifty three Inn Towns called “Shukuba Machi” between the two end destinations,
Nihon-bashi bridge in Edo and the Sanjô-Ôhashi in Kyoto.


Ieyasu knew very well that there would be no ever-lasting regime. The Soga clan had perished in four generations. The powerful Fujiwara clan had lost its power when the Samurai class gained their power. The Heikes had perished in a few generations. Ieyasu was afraid that the powerful warlords in the West of Japan would rise in revolt and advance westwards to overthrow
the shogunate.


For the reasons of military defense, Ieyasu ordered that no bridge should be built across the Ôi-gawa river, the Abe-gawa river, and other long rivers. The ferry boat services across the Ôi-gawa River were also prohibited. The current of the Ôi-gawa River became very rapid after much rainfall and it was dangerous to cross the river. This gave birth to the professional fording coolies. They were called “Kawagoshi Ninsoku”. In 1696, the shogunate built the Office of Fordingin Shimada Inn Town (Station town) at the river side of the Ôi-gawa River and put the forders’ services under supervision.


There were six classes of the services for crossing the river. Fording on the shoulders of one carrier was the cheapest. It required only one wooden “river tablet” for one coolie which could bought at the Office of Fording “Kawa Kaisyo”. For the Carrying Boardscalled “Rendai”, a Rendai tablet for its rental fee had to be bought.

The fares of the services varied according to the class of the carrying boards “Rendai” and the number of the fording coolies. The warlord’s palanqueen was put on an extravagant Rendai and was carried by a dozen of the carriers and a few assistants.

The fares depended also on the depth of the day of the water in the river. Each day, the official tariffs on the services were decided. No carrier could ask for an exhorbitant price for their services. When the depth of the water reached 136 centimeters, fording was prohibited.
Sometimes, travelers had to wait more than twenty days at the Inn Town until the depth of the water would decrease. No traveler was permitted to ford the river by his/her own means whatever the conditions of the river.

At the end of the Edo period, there were 650 carriers at the Shimada Inn Town. The government of the shogunate collapsed in 1868 and the fording system ended in 1871 when the ferry boat services started. The carriers became jobless. The band of samurais who accompanied the last shogun Yoshinobu to the province of Suruga also lost their jobs. They began to cultivate the virgin fields and forests on the Makinohara Plateau at the west side of the river. They turned them into the beautiful green tea fields wecan admire nowadays.

Shimada holds the Festival of Wading the Ôi-gawa River in July or August to recall the hard days of traveling when they were forced to stay more than twenty days at the river side town of Shimada.

I know a friend who will want this label after such explanations!


Rice: gohyakumangoku & Aji no Kaori
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: + 8
Acidity: 1.5
Bottled in October 2013

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Assertive. Fruity. dry. Bananas, dark chocolate
Body: Fluid, slightly sirupy
Taste: Well-rounded attack backed up with pleasant alcohol.
Complex, dry and fruity. Bananas
Disappears quickly on a drier note with hints of oranges, persimmons, dry almonds and dark chocolate.
Varies little with food but for a mellower tone with hints of citruses.
As nurukan/lukewarm takes on a definitely mellower note. Extremely pleasant while keeping its characteristics and adding a few more facets. Stays complex even as a nurukan with strong hints of custard, soft almonds and dark chocolate.

Overall: A solid and reliable sake!
For once I would unusually recommended it as nurukan for maximum enjoyment!
Although obviously conceived to accompany food, especially izakaya fare, it is thoroughly enjoyable on its own, especially as a night cap!


So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

10 thoughts on “Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Oomuraya Brewery-Rendai Goshi Shimada Juku Honjozo”

  1. I went to a local grocery chain that brags about its wine selection. I have never been overly impressed. While nosing around and sneering at the sakes on the shelf, I asked the sommelier on staff if these were the “only” sakes they had. She said, actually, they had received a few on Christmas eve and went back and brought out the box that had not yet been unpacked. My eyes instantly went to Isojiman when I saw the prefecture of its brewing – Shizuoka, as you well know. I grabbed and brought it home. I must say, I enjoyed my first few sips = elegant, rich, this one had a taste of almonds and coffee beans. I was very pleased. Rice had been milled to 55%. 🙂


    1. You are lucky to get Isojiman in the States, I can guarantee you, as all shops usually limit sales to one bottle per person. It is very popular, but it is still comparatively a small brewery in Japan!
      There is a very interesting point about the water they use. They do not use their own well water but that of Yaizu City! The difference is that the city water, and only there, comes from a well dug down to a depth of 150 meters in a district called Negishima. Yaizu people don’t realize that they properly drink the best tap water in Japan!
      Great and very clean sake, particularly popular with ladies here!


      1. I usually enjoy fruitier, more acidic sakes, but this was enjoyed-a little heavier than my personal choice but a nice clearness none the less….apparently from the water! It is good to know about the water and to file away for future reference. I am going to purchase the last bottle – I, uh, his it behind bottles of a common red….just in case!


      2. If there is no English explanation send me a picture of the label at the back with all the figures (if none send me a picture of the “small” writing on the label) and I will explain you what kind of sake it is!
        Incidentally have a look at my friend Timothy Sullivan’s page at!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s