Five-storey Pagodas     Japanese

Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage. Since ancient times sake has been believed to have spiritual powers, so it is an integral part of special occasions, such as ceremonies and festivals.

Characteristics of Sake
Sake is a fermented alcoholic drink made from rice with an alcohol content of between 15% and 20%. Wine and beer are also made through fermentation, but the production process is different. Grapes, the main ingredient of wine, contain sugar, so they ferment naturally after being pressed. As rice doesn’t contain sugar, the starch must be changed into sugar. The saccharification(糖化) and fermentation processes occur in parallel, so it is called “multiple parallel fermentation”. Through this elaborate process, a unique flavor is created. Comparing amino acid content, which is considered to be the basis of flavor, beer has a rating of 1; wine 3, and sake 8.

The History of Sake
More than 2000 years ago when rice cultivation started, sake brewing also began. People chewed rice to convert the starch into sugar, and then it was fermented using natural yeast. In the 3rd century B.C. there is a mention of Japanese sake in the Chinese historiography, Gishi-wajin-den: “People dance and drink sake”. In the 8th century a local record book, Harima-no-kuni Fudoki, says “sake was brewed using rice mold ()”.  After the national system was set up and the nation was governed by official law, sake came to be considered indispensable as a symbol of good harvests, and sake brewing came under the control of the state. In the Heian period when the manor system (荘園) came into existence and the landowners took power, they and local temples began brewing. In the Muromachi era rice mold became accessible to everyone, and sake brewing flourished.

How to make Sake
Brewer’s Brown RiceSpecial rice for sake: large grain, low protein content and higher absorbency.  
↓ ←
Polish  How much the rice is polished determines what kind of sake can
be made. Rice polished to less than 50% is for daiginjyo – top quality sake.

Polished Rice
↓← RinseSoakSteam

Steamed Rice・・・Steamed rice is divided into three for making rice malt (米麹), what is known as “mother of sake” (酒母), and unrefined sake ().
↓←CoolMaking Rice Malt  add rice mold*

Rice Malt         *an enzyme in rice mold converts starch into glucose. ↓←Making Mother of Sake  add steamed rice, water and yeast

Mother of Sake
↓←Fermentation(Sandan-jikomi)  add rice malt, steamed rice, and water in three stages so the yeast ferments

Unrefined Sake
↓←Filtration  Filter unrefined sake. What remains are sake lees.

Refined Sake   

It takes about 60 days to make sake.
Sake Trivia
It’s good for cooking・・Sake contains about 200 flavor components which produce a distinctive taste. Sake is a perfect hidden ingredient for every cuisine, or can be used as an all-round seasoning.
It’s good for beauty・・Koji mold contains ingredients that suppress the production of melanin, which is the main cause for freckles or moles, so it’s good for skin whitening and moisturizing. It can also slow cellular aging.
It’s good for your health・・Sake contains more than 100 ingredients, including organic acid, essential amino acid, vitamins, peptide, which work to prevent osteoporosis, inhibit allergies or high blood pressure, delay senile dementia and so on. A saying that “sake is the chief of all medicine” is true. However, please don’t over-indulge!