Due to its location in the southern part of Japan, people tend to connect Kyushu with Shochu. Actually, however, in Saga, situated in the northern part of Kyushu, sake has been brewed for more than three centuries.
Sake is an alcoholic beverage unique to Japan and made from rice and water. In the Edo period the Nabeshima clan that ruled present-day Saga Prefecture, where a large amount of rice was produced, encouraged the production of sake. This was the foundation of sake brewing in Saga.
There are 26 sake breweries in Saga Prefecture today. Sake brewery tours have been planned, which made events such as the opening of breweries to the public a tourist opportunity. I hope people will learn that Saga produces excellent rice and sake!
There are a few breweries you cannot miss if you talk about the sake of Saga. This time, let me introduce Tenzan Sake Brewer Company in Ogi-machi, Ogi City.
Situated at the foot of beautiful Mt. Tenzan, an excellent location surrounded by nature, Tenzan Sake Brewer started originally as a miller. A brewer in the town that planned to close their business asked Mr. Toshizo Shichida, their first president, to take over the business. This is how he started brewing sake in 1875.
Stepping into the brewery, you will feel as if you have traveled back in time with a time machine. The brewery is renovated to a nostalgic but modern space, decorating with old photographs, and using old wardrobes as doors, wooden brewing barrels as tables, and sake squeezing containers as show cases.
Since its foundation, new breweries (the Meiji Brewery, Taisho Brewery, and Showa Brewery) have been added. They are old now, but are still used as breweries. After visiting the breweries, you can also visit the facility known as the Brick Brewery, where you can test the taste of brewed sake.
You can buy your favorite sake at the “shop” corner. There are three brands: Tenzan, which preserve the taste loved by local people for ages, Iwa-no-kura, and Shichida. Each brand sake is brewed with a distinct theme of flavor. Some of the sake brewed here is exported to Thailand. Shichida has been exported to Thailand. You may well encounter this sake at Japanese restaurants or liquor shops in Thailand.
Mr. Kensuke Shichida, the sixth President
The sake of Saga is rich, fragrant, and sweet. Our sake is carefully brewed using spring water from the Tenzan mountains and selected rice. The water we use is hard water, which is not common in Saga Prefecture. This water makes sake fragrant but refreshing. If you encounter the label of our brands, please try them!
Why don’t you take a picture in front of the ceramic brewing barrels in the Brick Brewery?
At the entrance of the Brick Brewery, there is a machine to supply water. Drivers can drink this water too!
The River Gion flows near Tenzan Shuzo Brewer Company. You can enjoy the sight of rapeseed flowers in spring and flights of fireflies in summer. Looking up, you can see the mountain landscape.
Infomation -Tenzan Sake Brewer Company –
1520 Iwakura, Ogi-machi, Ogi City, Saga Prefecture