Tag Archives: 地酒

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Bandai Brewery-Junmai Ginjo Genshu Homare Fuji

Bandai Brewery is located in one of the most scenic cities of Shizuoka Prefecture, Izu Peninsula formerly called Shuzenji. The city has recently been included into a larger city called Izu City, but people and tourists certainly don’t mix the two when they say they are going to Shuzenji!
One can reach this city also famous for its hotsprings and Japanese inns by taking a local train from Mishima City.
When you go down at Shuzenji Station, don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop where you will find all the products of Bandai Brewery, including real wasabi shochu!

Bandai Brewery is one of the oldest breweries in the Prefecture and its history under other names can be traced back to the 16th Century!
Like most of the other sake breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture, it has started to use locally grown sake rice to ensure a stable output.

Rice: Homare Fuji 100% (grown in Shizuoka Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +3
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu: no water added)
Bottled in July 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong and fruity: banana, vanilla, hints of pineapple
Body: fluid
Taste: Strongish attack with junmai petillant and a lot of fruit. Warms back of the palate. Well-rounded backed up by pleasant alcohol.
Complex: banana, gum-candy, almonds with memories of coffee beans later.
Softens with food to turn dry again on its own.
Almonds and banana tend to follow each other alternatively.

Overall: A sake you might as well drink chilled as it is quite sweet in spite of a +3 dryness level (quite dry by Shizuoka standards).
One of those sake you can pour over an ice-cream!
Very pleasant. Tends to get drier with food.
Would very well accompany blue cheese like a Port wine, or being drunk as a digestif!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Yamanaka Brewery-Aoitenka Toubinkoi Muroka Junmai Ginjo

Yamanaka Brewery i not easy to access as it is far away from Kakegawa Station near the sea and one can reach only by bus, car and bicycle (not from Shizuoka City for the latter!)!
It is a fairly small establishement, although very well known, the more for it that its neighbour is the famous soy sauce brewery, Sakae!

This particular bottle was extravagant for many reasons.
The decoration was very original in the sense that the label on the bottle is actually made of cloth!
Coming into a great box with plenty of explanations, both the bottle and box are worth a collector’s attention.

The contents were also absolutely extravagant:
The real title is Yamanaka Shuzo/Yamanak Brewery, Aointenka (sake name), Tobinkoi (sake extracted drop by drop by being left hanging into sacke inside the tank and into a large glass jar), Muroka (unfiltered), Junami Ginjo (high premium with no alcohol added), Genshu (no pure water added), the whole meaning a completely untouched sake brew!

Now for the details:
Rice: Yamada Nishiki from Hyogo Prefecture
Rice milled down to 48% (high dai ginjo level!)
Yeast: 1401
Dryness: +2
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 16~17 gegrees
Bottled in July 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: transparent
Aroma: Slghtly dry and very fruity. Almonds, coconuts with notes of pineapple. Extremely pleasant
Body: fluid
Taste: Very complex and fruity. Extremely pleasant and sophisticated.
Dry and fruity. Junmai petillant spreading over the back of the palate. Lingers on only a little.
Dry almonds, pineapple with hints of banana and vanilla.
Finishes on a very dry almond note, but turns a little sweetish with food. Later on reveals faint notes of dark chocolate and cofee beans.

Overall: Simply extravagant, although its pricetag is ridiculously cheap (that is for that quality!). The rice millage would be of another plane elsewhere!
Sophisticated, lmost “feminine” in spite of high alcohol content.
Best appreciated lightly chilled or at room temperature.
Personally the best aperitif one can come across!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Takasago Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

It’s been some time since I tasted a sake from Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City.
Since September is the time to taste the Hiyaoroshi sake/sake taht has been sterelized only once, it is such an embarrssment of choices, but I opted for this brewery as it is slightly unusual in Shizuoka refecture.

The real title for this particular sake is “Takasago Yamahai Shikomi Junmai Shu Hiyaoroshi Namatsume”!
Meaning: Takasago (main name) Yamahai Shikomi (old style brewing) Junmai Shu (Junmai=no alcohol added) Hitaoroshi Namatsume (bottled without a second sterilization.
On top of this it is a genshu/no water added!

Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Takasago Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100% (Hyogo Prefecture)
Riced milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu)
Dryness: -3 (sweet for Shizuoka)
Bottled in September 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong, very fruity: bananas, vanilla, sweet ornages
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong attack with a lot of junmai “petillant”, sweetish.
Complex: Macadamia nuts, bananas, oranges, vanilla.
Warms back of the palate for some time. Lingers for a while with very dry almonds backed up by oranges and vanilla.
Sweet by Shizuoka standards at first approach but dries up quickly.

Overall: A sake that can be greatly enjoyed chilled or at room temperature.
Great as a sweetish aperitif or in lieu of a port wine.
Strikes a great marriage with choclate or blue cheese.
Chilled, can be drunk as a dessert drink! Would do excellently poured over ice-cream!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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21st Shizuoka Prefecture Sake Brewers Festival


The Japan Blog List

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I usually keep all Shizuoka Sake postings for Shizuoka Sake Blog, but I thought for once it might be of some interest to show what can one expect at a hotel fuction dinner in Japan and Shizuoka Prefecture.
The Festival which is held every year by the Shizuoka Sake Brewers Association took place in Hamamatsu City this year as the rotation came to the West of our Prefecture (it will be held in Numazu City next year).

I came early to be able to greet the many Master Brewers and owners I know and make personal acquaintance with the few I haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet.

Before entering the Main Hall, I had a good look at some sake specialists blind-tasting brews as part of a national competition. For all my love of sake and probably because of it, I never felt becoming a recognized taster. I am more interested in the people who work so hard to produce those great nectars.

Although Grand Hotel Hamamatsu is a venerable institution, its main function hall is pretty big as it easily managed to cater for than 400 guests and all the Brewers’ stands.
I did enter it long before the actual event to say hello and talk shop with the Brewers (a bit pert, I reckon, but I did work hard to make myself accepted in a very closed traditional world).

I also took the opportunity to take pictures of new labels from Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura, Aointenka and Doi Breweries I soon will visit in Kakegawa City.

The actual event lasted two hours while all guests either stayed at the tables and enjoyed the meal and sake selection already served on each table seating eight diners, or like myself went around the whole room tasting sake at the Brewers’ stands and came back now and then for drink of water and some food served as soon as they were seated. A very practical system for the guests but extremely trying for the staff!


Set of three appetizers


Set of three sashimi


Set of fried vegetables


Cooked seafood plate


Chicken confit and mushrooms as meat plate


Seabream (snapper) rice, pickles and soup


Dessert: hot “Amazake”, made from sake white lees (non-alcoholic)

Alright, I did not go into many details but I will be glad to answer requests for explanations! At least that should give a good idea of what to expect at such functions in Japan!

Sushi Restaurant: Sushiya No Ichi


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Ken Ichikawa is a bit of character. As a youngster, he actually enjoyed prowling the roads of Shizuoka with other hot rodder friends! He even went as far as Australia for a work stint before coming back to Shizuoka City and open his restaurant.

In spite of this somewhat macho maverick reputation, his sushi are designed for everyone, but with a special thought for calories-conscious ladies who wish to cut on the rice. His offerings are definitely edomae-style sushi.

His sashimi are simply of first and foremost quality. In spite of the consequent prices, you cannot resist the maguro toro and akami (fat and lean parts)!

Shizuoka Katsuo/Bonito has to be perfect as this is THE specialty of Shizuoka Prefecture!

Do not hesitate to ask him about the fish and shellfish (and vegetables!) of the day. He will serve them raw as sashime or sushi, or cook them to perfect simplicity. Try the lightly cooked oysters and ikura/salmon roe mini-donburi!

As for myself, I never fail to ask for his ankimo/Japanese foie gras in season!

When you ask for sushi, Mr. Ichikawa will always propose diverse variations. For example, would you like your hirame/sole with lime and Okinawa snow salt instead of dipping it in the soy sauce?
Would you like the wasabi under or on top of your anago/conger eel? and so on…
Hint: just ask him to prepare two different “kan/piece” of the same fish!
There are so many morsels to try that a single article will not do him justice!
You can expect a few more postings in the near future!

Now, last but not least, Mr. Ichikawa has a great selection of Shizuoka sake, too!
Isojiman (Yaizu City), Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery, Fujieda City), Masu-Ichi (Shizuoka City), Shosetsu (Kasawagawa Brewery, Yui Cho) and Kokkou (Fukuroi City)!

What’s better that jizake for sushi, I’m asking you! LOL

Sushiya no Ichi
420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 2-7-1
tel.: 054-2558262
fax: 054-2522604
Mobile: 09040874578
Closed on Modays
Parties possible upstairs
Credit Cards OK
Japanese homepage