Tag Archives: Sugii Brewery

Umeshu: Umeshu with Organic Plums Harvested in Shizuoka City!


The other day I received a phone call a phone call from my good friend, Ms. Asami Itoh who just succeeded in her father’s steps as the new president and owner of Marufuku Tea Factory in Shizuoka City. She is a very busy lady as she is also active in producing tea bags at her other venture, CHA-O Company.

She was inviting me to join her and her sister, Aya, in the harvesting of organic Japanese plums growing on trees inside a property that her family owns up in the mountains in Umegashima!


Although Umegashima is located inside Shizuoka City, it took us more than an hour of driving up the mountains away from civilization up to a point located at 1000 meters altitude where the road ended in front of a small Shinto Shrine!


At that very spot you will discover the highest altitude green tea fields in Japan!


From there we had to walk down a precipitous lane for about 15 minutes while Asami was carrying down the necessary equipment on a rail cart that most farmers use in Shizuoka Prefecture where a lot of agriculture is conducted on the sheer slopes across the Japanese Southern Alps.


We soon reached a Japanese traditional farm house that Asami’s father had completely refurbished. I just can’t imagine how they brought up all this wood, pillars, rafters, beams and whatever else in that spot completely isolated from car roads!
But the house itself is already worth the expedition. I can imagine many of my artist and writer friends falling in love with this abode away from everything where mobile phones don’t work, although the place is equipped with electricity, gas, toilets and bathroom!


Safety lamps in case of a blackout!

The place contains a mountain of antiques gathered over the year by Asami’s father and I can guarantee you that the place is safely locked away. What with intruders regularly stealing valuable mountain vegetables growing on the property!


There is plenty of room for sleeping but this hammock just feels great in the heat of summer! Incidentally it snows up there in winter!


Japanese antique tansu/箪笥/chest!


More authentic antique tansu!


Antique rice straw rain gear!


A real Japanese antique irori/囲炉裏sunken hearth!


Even the stairway and hand rail are antiques!


An array of authentic antique kokeshi dolls/コケシ all signed up by artists!


The three of us spent a good 4 hours harvesting Japanese plums overhead as the lower branches ahd been eaten out by wild deer!
I made a mistake not to wear boots in the muddy ground and I was beaten by a leech! Yes, a leech at 1000 meters altitude!


We first dropped the plums into individual wicker baskets secured around the waist.


There were (unfortunately inedible) mushrooms everywhere!


Japanese plums are best harvested just before they start changing color!


Naturally the crop was carried up to the small car park via the rail tractor!


Apparently this year’s crop was not very good but we must have collected 50 kg of them!


Although I was asked to take more with me I was allowed to choose enough of the bigger ones to bring back home to make umeshu.
Usually people use cheap white liqueur and koorizato/crystal sugar, last year I made them with local shochu, sake and koorizato, but this time I used only sweet potato shochu and a bottle of the only mirin/sweet sake made in Shizuoka Prefecture by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City!


You will not find such an extravagant umeshu in any shop!


I still had enough left for Dragon (my worse half!) to make (from left to right): plums in fruit vinegar and honey, plum soy sauce and white wine umeshu!


She even made plum chutney!

Looking forward to tasting this great umeshu in winter. And of course it will be a rare treat to eat or use the plums in recipes!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)


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: 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!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Sugii Brewery-Yaoyorazu Yamahai Junmai/Homarefuji Rice

There are now 19 out of 28 breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture producing brews made with locally-grown sakamai/sake rice.
Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City has been experimenting with Shizuoka-grown Homarefuji/誉富士 rice right from the very beginning.
Now, they have come up for the last couple of years with a traditional brew that a lot of other breweries avoid because of its difficulty: Yamahai/山廃!

It does have a peculiar name: Yaorazu/八百萬 that even Japanese have a hard time to read! It is an allusion to a Shinto Shrine whose history dates back to the 8th Century!

Sugii Brewery: Yaoyorazu Yamahai Junmai Homarefuji Rice/杉井酒造ー八百萬山廃純米誉富士

Rice: Homare Fuji (Shizuoka-grown)
Rice milled down to 70%
Dryness: +6
Acidity: 2.3 (vry high for Shizuoka!)
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in Novemwber 2010

Clarity: Very clear
Color: faint yellow hue (normal for Yamahai)
Aroma: Light, sweetish. Custard, banana, macadamia nuts
Body: Fluid
Taste: Very dry attack.
Complex: dry oranges, almonds.
Turns a little sweetish later to make a quick dry comeback.
Disappears quickly for a yamahai.
Alcohol pepping up later.
Changes little with food.

Overall: More distinguished than expected for a yamahai.
A sake designed for food? Very probably as I found it in many izakayas in Fujieda City.
Strong and solid sake.
Perfect for food, especially that in izakaya.
Can be enjoyed slowly at home with a snack!

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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Kogane-Danshaku by Sugii Brewery


As a general rule I keep Shochu tasting postings to my other blog, Shizuoka Shochu, but for once I thought these tasting notes could help non-Japanese shochu lovers how to report on their favourite drink.
Please note that my style is very dry. Some will have have a more lyrical manner, and the better for it! LOL

Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City has come up with yet another creation of theirs! But once again, it is a “limited edition”. You do have to keep all your senses alert to discover these bottles.
Unlike Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu Island, Shizuoka-made shochu are not only exotic and extravagant, but rare and slightly more expensive. The labels certainly become collectors’ items!

Sugii Brewery: Kogane-Danshaku Shochu

Kogane (Satsuma potato variety) and Danshaku (normal potato variety), both grown in Shizuoka Prefecture
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5 (Shizuoka Sake Yeast)
Fermented rice
Contents: 500 ml

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Clean, strong, nutty
Taste: Sweetish, clean attack.
Deep roasted nuts.
Shortish tail with a dry finish.
Memory of coffee beans.

Overall: Unusual, clean, elegant shochu with lots of character and facets.
Combination of Satsuma yams and potatoes out of the ordinary! The use of Shizuoka Sake Yeast gives it a very regional flavour!
Best appreciated straight with plenty of ice!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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sake, shochu and sushi