Selected Brewer’s Rice
All the rice used for sake brewery at Nakazen Shuzo is produced in Nagano Prefecture. Nakazen Shuzo’s Junmai-shu (sake made without added alcohol or sugar) is certified by the Nagano Appellation Control Committee. The Nagano Appellation Control System is a system that certifies certain products produced and manufactured in Nagano Prefecture that are exceptional in flavor and quality. Only those products that pass strict standards screened by the committee which consists of farmers, consumers and people related to the distribution industry, will receive certification.
Homegrown Rice – From Agematsu Town, Kiso-gun
Since 2008, Nakazen Shuzo started cultivating its own rice (the “Hitogokochi” rice brand, suited for sake brewing) in Agematsu, a town adjacent to its location, and succeeded in brewing sake using “locally produced homegrown rice,” which was the purpose of this endeavor. Since sunshine duration in Kiso is short, it is not really an ideal location for cultivating rice. However, even in Kiso, the Yoshino district in Agematsu Town thrives with agriculture as clear, snowmelted water from Mt. Kiso Komagatake is abundant and available for the rice paddies.
Rice from Contracted Farmers – Farm Ichimaru in Matsukawa Village, Kita Azumi-gun
The Miyamanishiki rice grown by representative Maruyama of Farm Ichimaru in Azumino, which is known as one of the best areas for the production of Miyamanishiki in Nagano Prefecture, uses snow-melted water from the Japan Alps, and has been studied and cultivated using an original blend of fertilizers. Using the large and evenly grained Miyamanishiki rice, grown by farmers with much care and effort, Nakazen Shuzo brews sake that utilizes and maximizes the best qualities of this brand of rice.
Our Sake Brewery is the Blessed Nature
The hometown of the sake brand “Nakanorisan” is Kiso, which is a mountainous region surrounded by Mt. Kiso Ontakesan and Mt.Kiso Komagatake. Fresh water and clean air, extremely cold winters and cool summer breezes, the mountains change their expressions from season to season. As the winters are especially bitter cold, episodes unique to cold regions are abound such as beer bottles freezing and bursting at liquor stores and using refrigerators as storage space so items do not freeze. People on the Nakasendo trail (Edo-period trail between Edo and Kyoto) traveled from one lodge to another with the help of ichirizukas (distance markers for one ri, about 3.9km). Kisoji, the Kiso road section of this Nakasendo trail is known to be an especially dangerous area as this trail crosses over a treacherous mountain pass along the Kiso River, goes through a deep valley, crosses a cliff and extends as if it were crawling along the foot of the mountain. In the past, people making pilgrimages to Ise Shrine and Zenko-ji Temple came and went along this road as well as Daimyos and Samurai who were traveling to perform their sankin-kotai (alternate residence duties), and haiku poets Basho Matsuo and Shiki Masaoka trekked the trail as they composed their seasonal poems. Nakanorisan must have been a welcoming and comforting sake to such travelers.