Harmonious Sake from the Lake Side Brewery (Thursday, May 1st, 2014)
Kawashima Sake Brewery, Ltd.
Located on the west side of Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, Takashima City in Shiga Prefecture is known for high humidity and heavy snow. The climate often causes inconveniences for living, but it is ideal for fermenting foods. Also, the area has developed a unique “Kabata” lifestyle to which people stay close via affluent pristine water from their natural environment. Kawashima Sake Brewery was founded in 1865 in these optimal circumstances for sake brewing.
In Japan, their sake is known by their brand name “Matsu no Hana” which means “pine flower.” This name comes from the story that they had to cut down an old pine tree in order to build their sake brewing factory. The founder, who had a strong attachment to the old pine, decided to call their sake Matsu no Hana. Since then, the brewery has crafted sake for 140 years.
Because sake brewing cannot be done without blessings of nature such as rice, water, air and temperature, all brewers at Kawashima Sake Brewery respect the idea that they are living with nature. Bearing this concept in mind, they cherish the living ingredients that they use for making sake. They are also true to a very basic production process and do not spare any work in executing it. In addition, they think harmony is vital for brewing good sake. Mr. Shusaburo Mukai, the master sake brewer of Kawashima Sake Brewery, comments, “Before brewing sake, we need to cultivate people. Unless you have great teammates, you cannot be successful. Harmony among the people IS the thing that makes us produce good sake. This is what I believe.”
The two Matsu no Hana lines of Junmai and Junmai Ginjo Shin are available in New York. The former can be enjoyed exclusively at Ippudo, the popular ramen house found in the East Village and Midtown, and the latter exclusively at Kirakuya, an izakaya in Koreatown. To appreciate sake from the mecca of fermentation culture and pristine water, check out those local restaurants.
Kawashima Sake Brewery, Ltd.
83 Asahi, Shin-Asahimachi, Takashima-City
Shiga, JAPAN 520-1501
3 things you should know about Kawashima Sake Brewery, Ltd.
Life with Pristine Water
The neighborhood of Kawashima Sake Brewery is famous for great quality water. The pristine undercurrent water from the Azumi River has formed a unique “Kabata culture,” a lifestyle together with the natural environment that uses a water supply system established more than 600 years ago. Even in modern society, there are families still using the water system for drinking, washing vegetables and cooling foods. Sharing water is the region’s great heritage.
Brewery with Oil Paintings
It is not a common thing in sake breweries, but Kawashima Sake Brewery hangs paintings throughout the brewery buildings. About 30 oil paintings all drawn by the former president who has the strong belief, “If the brewers are happy, that is transmitted to the kobo yeast and ultimately makes their sake flavorful.” The paintings add warmth to the big brewing properties and comfort those who look at them.
Pursuing Real Flavor While Considering the Health of Drinkers
Water, rice, cold winters and fresh air are what is needed for sake brewing. Blessed with nature that provides ideal conditions for sake brewing, the Matsu no Hana brand has made sake for over 140 years, pursuing real flavor while considering the health of those who drink it. By staying close to the local climate and people and producing the jizake Matsu no Hana, the brewery protects their local culture.