Haginshiki Brewery for the least is an off the beaten tracks sake brewery for many reasons.
First it is located in Shizuoka City, a location in Japan super famous for its sake but which in spite of 27 breweries produces only 0.5% of the total national Japanese production making their sake rare outside the Prefecture!
It was founded in 1876 above its own natural water source in Suruga Ku, south of Shizuoka Station, but its long history could have ended with the untimely death of its owner, Yoshisaka Hagiwara at the age of 62 a few years ago. But his wife, Ikuko Hagiwara had already become a certified brew master and was consequently joined by her own daughter, Ayanao Hagiwara, another certified brewmaster, making it the only mother/daughter sake master brewers in Shizuoka Prefecture! I doubt there are many such cases in the whole Japan! The latter were joined by Ayano’s husband, Tomonori Hagiwara, himself hailing from a sake brewing family in Kyushu Ayano had met at university in Tokyo. Tomonori having married into the family insured a male heir to the old family! He does participate in the brewing but is more involved in the financial running of the brewery!
The water pump still extracting underground water to be used in the making of succulent sake! You can taste the water and I can tell you it is superb!
The traditional Shinto altar!
Although Ayano has introduced computers and high tech to the running of the brewery and repaired or installed some new equipment the whole place looks more like a small museum!
You definitely need a guide to explain the similarly disorder of the place!
The visit was conducted outside the brewing season but the enormous vats are there to be admired and touched!
The bottling and the labeling is still traditional as this is a small brewery not in need of bulky equipment. When they brew the sake the whole family pitches in with the help of some seasonal hands and intern students!
More vats of various sizes! They are not all used but since they are very valuable they stay in!
These smaller vats are for top premium sake!
Behind these doors the rice is being fermnted! Sorry, no visitors allowed inside!
These very valuables glass vats are used for the very best sake! They are used in the dripping filtering process, a long and precise operation. As they don’t make these anymore they are irreplaceable!
Past the very entrance you will discover the whole palette of their brews as they do accept visits and tastings!
This pic was taken when I took a party of Canadian tourists there for a full visit and tasting event!
As this is a small brewery where everyone is quite busy all year, such visits can be only organized on reservations only and this with plenty of warning!
Shizuoka City, Suruga KU, Nishiwaki, 381
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Must-see tasting websites:
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