Which regions produce the best sakes?

The Japanese archipelago stretches far from north to south with each region having its own unique conditions for sake making. The combination of the local water, the type of cultivated rice used as well as local dietary habits makes sake from one region different from the other.


The Hyogo prefecture is the largest sake production centre in Japan. Nada, the district famous for its sake since the Edo era (1603-1867), produces a third of Japan's sakes and is known for its masculine, sturdy and dry sakes due in large part to the high mineral content of its water. The famed Yamadanishiki variety of rice, which makes excellent sake is also grown in this prefecture.


Fushimi, part of Kyoto city in Kyoto prefecture produces soft, slightly sweet, mildly fragrant, elegant sakes due to the soft water that flows in abundance from the Horikawa River in southern Kyoto. Fushimi is home to nearly 40 breweries, Gekkeikan, one of the biggest brewery in the world, is headquartered there.


The areas in the mountains of Niigata receive over 30 feet of snowfall a year. The pure melted snow water is used for brewing sakes as well as for growing the rice for sake making. Niigata is popularly regarded for its precise, dry, and angular sakes. Famous varieties of Niigata sakes include "Hakkaisan", brewed with spring water from the sacred Hakkaisan mountain, and "Kubota," which is sweet with a slight sharpness.


The cold, harsh winters of Akita created a tradition of hearty cuisine with bold-tasting dishes and fermented food. Such rich pickings need a bold sake, and that is exactly what Akita produces. The emergence of AK-1 (Akita flower yeast) in recent years provides the sakes of the area with a strong aroma and complexity.


Historically, Hiroshima is an important sake prefecture, long famous for quality and technological developments. Known for its soft water that flows from the granite of the Chugoku region, Hiroshima creates appropriately soft sake, which is slightly sweet.