Kyushu’s Kumamoto Prefecture is well known for making waves in the world of nihonshu, largely thanks to the work of Professor Kinichi Nojiro, known as the “god of sake.” There are 41 distilleries and breweries in Kumamoto, with 10 refined sake makers belonging to the Kumamoto Sake Association. While each brewery stays true to its respective tastes and distillation processes marked by history and tradition, they all stand united behind the same production values and dedication to the creation of quality sake.
The sake flavors developed in Kumamoto Prefecture are born from the combination of ultra pure ingredients including the water, which is sourced from 1,000 local reserves and filtered to meet the highest standards of clarity, locally cultivated rice, and yeast that can only be found in the Kumamoto region. The high quality of the water and rice is thanks to the temperate climate of the region and generous rainfall.
Below, we introduce you to nine of the region’s best sake breweries and brands…
Top Kumamoto Sake Breweries to Know
Kumamotoken Shuzokenkyusho: Kouro
This brewery has only one, simple goal: to maintain the essence of sake, from the rinsing of the rice grains to its final pour, keeping the drink in its purest form.
Zuiyo: Zuiyo, Suukun
Located in the center of Kumamoto, Zuiyo’s signature liquor is defined by the fermentation process, creating a rich, full-bodied taste.
Tuzyun Shuzo: Semi
Established in 1770 in the mountains of Yamato-Cho, this brewery takes pride in using locally grown rice and natural water to make a unique, high-quality sake.
Hananoka Shuzo: Hananoka Nagomi, Hananoka Oka
The Hananoka Shuzo brewery is located in the town of Nagomi and produces sake that honors the region’s luscious greenery with a floral fragrance and a delicate, smooth taste.
Chiyonosono Shuzo: Chiyonosono, Shuhai
This brewery produces sake for the aficionado – those who can appreciate a sake’s complexity and who like to indulge in a daily glass or two.
Bishonen: Bishonen Kenmon, Bishonen Seiya
Built on the grounds of an old elementary school and using mainly hinohikari rice, Bishonen sake complements almost every meal.
Yamamura Shuzo: Reizan
Founded in 1762, this brewery carries more than 250 years of history, making it the oldest sake producer in Kumamoto Prefecture and the home of a classic nihonshu.
Kawazu Shuzo: Shichihoda, Hanayuki
Made in Oguni, Kawazu Shuzo sake incorporates traditional tastes but isn’t afraid to mix in a little modernity.
Kameman Shuzo: Kameman, Manbou
This brewery is located at the very south of Kumamoto Prefecture and offers customers plenty of warm sake for the colder months.
More info at www.kumamoto-sake.com