Visiting Kitajima brewery in Konan city, Shiga prefecture

Kitajima sake brewery is located along old Tokaido Road. Ishibe-syuku, the 3rd post station from Kyoto, is very near from the brewery. The Kitajima family started brewing sake from 1805.

The old Tokaido road in front of Kitajima sake brewery

Lake Biwa

Shiga prefecture encircle Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. It’s known as Omi province before. Omi was neighbor of Nara and Kyoto and at the junction of western and eastern Japan.
Lake Biwa is located at the center of Shiga prefecture and occupies one-sixth of it.

Shiga prefecture is surrounded by mountain ranges. Plains stretch to the eastern shore of Lake Biwa. This area is famous as the ideal environment for growing rice. The rice grown in Shiga prefecture is called as Omi mai = Omi rice.

Kitajima brewery is located in such a favorable place for brewing sake with rich and beautiful water from Suzuka mountains and Omi rice.

Mr. Teruhito Kitajima is the President of the brewery. He is noble and gentle person. I had a great time with his polite guidance.

The main brand of Kitajima brewery is 御代栄 Miyosakae, it’s about 85% of their production. They are also brewing ‘Kitajima’-brand sake that I was attracted to just 2 weeks before.

Milled rice for steaming. I love this beauty.

They use 2 Koshikis, big and small.
They use the better suited Koshiki to their production plan.

Their Koji Muro is clean well and tidy

Koji just made!

Tanks for fermentation.
The big 2t tanks are for Futsushu and 900l tanks for premium sake.

Moromi, the mush, during fermentation ♡

Shubo tanks for premium sake.
There are 3 rooms of shubo. One is of shubo for Futsushu, the others are for premium sake. One of them is of Sokujo-moto and the other is of Kimoto.

They use middle size ‘Soe’ tanks on the 1st step of addition called as Soe-jikomi of ALL of premium sake. At this stage, around 20% of the total materials are in it. It’s an efficient way to use a right size tank for safety fermentation but it requires much labor than using a large size tank that’s used until the end of fermentation. Because they should put Moromi into other tank one more by their hand.

What a gorgeous tasting lineup….! The just pressed very fresh 28BY sakes using Mizukagami-rice, Miyamanishiki-rice ,Ginfubuki-rice and Yamadanishiki-rice are very lively and individualistic.

The remarkable experience for me was tasting their Kimoto productions brewed from 23BY to 27BY.
Because I was fascinated with Kitajima’s Kimoto sake on the 2nd day of this new year 2017!
Mr. Kitajima was shocked when he had a Hiyaoroshi Kimoto sake of Daishichi, the great Kimoto sake brewery in Fukushima prefecture. This experience made him to start brewing Kimoto sake. It was a kind of experimental brewing.
At the beginning, he used the No.7 yeast but now he’s focusing on No.6 yeast. He also tried many degree of rice milling from 50% to 65%.

I was very glad to hear that my favorite Kimoto sake using high milling Tamasake-rice would be sold as a product!

It’s very impressive for me that Kitajima brewery has a superior sense of balance that enable new challenge for the future with keeping existing way.

Kitajima sake brewing Co. Ltd.,
北島酒造株式会社
http://www.kitajima-shuzo.jp/
〒520-3231
滋賀県湖南市針七五六番地
Tel 0748-72-0012
Fax 0748-72-0124

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