Okayama Jizake (LOCAL SAKE)
-brewed in Okayama and treasured for centuries-
Resurrection of “Gone rice”, Omachi
The rice varieties for brewing sake are different from ones for cooking, called “shuzo-kotekimai” (sake brewing rice). Sake brewing rice produces a greater grain size that provides a larger yield of white core called “shinpaku” consisting of starch where koji mold grows to brew sake. The large-sized white core also withstands a greater degree of polishing to achieve a refined taste.
Omachi rice was discovered in Omachi town of Okayama in 1849 and has been widely cultivated as the best-suited variety for brewing sake. Approximately 60% of sake-brewing rice in Japan has roots in Omachi including nationally famous varieties such as “Yamada Nishiki” and “Gohyakumangokoku”. However, in the past, Omachi faced an extinction crisis due to higher demand for rice as food supply and its cultivating challenges including its tall growth height making it prone to falling as well as an infestation of diseases and pests. Such scarcity, in spite of sake brewer’s obsession, gave Omachi a nickname: “gone rice”. Omachi rice has been preserved by a few dedicated farmers and sake brewers. In modern times, the Omachi variety has been reestablished and maintains a stable presence in the sake brewing industry.
Optimal natural conditions
Okayama Prefecture is located on a sloping terrain with an elevated northern mountain range and southern plateau. Combined with gentle, warm weather, the prefecture has abundant water resources provided by three rivers running from the north to south: Yoshii River, Asahikawa, and Takahashi River that are indispensable for wet‐rice cultivation. In addition, Tsuyama Basin, the largest basin in the Chugoku region along with Mimasaka, Katsuyama, and Niimi Basins lay acting as a natural water filtering system adjacent to the Kibi Plateau with an altitude of 400 - 500m extending to the south. Such geographic blessing makes Okayama prefecture optimal for brewing premium sake. Okayama has 46 sake breweries, which ranks it the 14th among all prefectures in Japan for the number of breweries.
Sake brewed 100% from Omachi rice
Omachi rice came back from the verge of extinction due to the farmers who believed in the value of the rice and the sake brewers who were committed to using Omachi to honor the farmers’ wishes. Today, Japanese sake is spreading throughout the world with Japanse cuisine and plays the most powerful supporting role. Omachi rice is behind a majority of the well-received sake enjoyed outside of Japan. Okayama’s jisake tradition is a true hidden gem.
MOMONO TRADING supports the promotion of Okayama jisake in the global market, business developments and private label arrangements outside of Japan. Our business philosophy, “Live with Beautiful Things” is aimed at creating economic benefits for the artisans (=brewers) and happiness for the end customers through beautiful things we handpicked with our hearts.