This site presents information on Nada Gogo (the five sake-producing areas in the Nada district), and provides explicit reasons why the sake made in the Nada district is so tasty and flavor-rich.


Where there is tasty sake, there is tasty water. Nada's sake is made only from a single source of water -Miya-Mizu.
Yamada-Nishiki, Nada sake brewers use this strain of rice, considered the best suited to sake, as their main raw material.
Experienced and skilled Toji brewery workers have the abilities to turn out the finest sake.
A perfect climate for sake brewing and the know-how of the local people have made Nada one of the best sake-producing areas of Japan.

Nada sake is known for a taste often described as "the clear sky of autumn"

In Nada, sake is generally made from lightly malted rice and the mineral-rich Miya Water, and its production is characterized by an intense fermentation process. Compared with many other brewing regions, Nada's is produced over a very short period of time from the bedding of malt to the straining of sake from the fermented rice.

In early spring, the first sake of the year becomes available. Fresh from the cask, the product has a rather dry and coarse touch, and a strong, sturdy taste. This early brew is called Otoko-zake (men's sake).

After going through a summer, the sake completely changes in character. This maturation process removes the coarse texture, turning the sake into a clear, crisp liquor with a rich flavor and well-balanced taste. The sake obtained in autumn is called "akibare" (the clear skies of autumn). This is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Nada sake, which cannot be found in any other place.

There is also Onnna-zake, (women's sake), which is sweet and has a thick taste. Women's sake is made from mineral-poor water and undergoes a much longer fermentation process. Women's sake is palatable in spring, but the taste deteriorates as the seasons change. After a summer, its flavor is almost lost, and it is then called "Aki-ochi" (falling in quality toward autumn).

History

Model of Taru Kaisen on display at a brewery museum
The sake-brewing history of the Nada region dates back to medieval times. One written record suggests sake brewing began in Nada as early as the Muromachi Period (???). A traditional and mostly reliable story, however, tells of a man named Zakoya Bunzaemon from the Itami region in present eastern Hyogo Prefecture, who moved to Nishionomiya and there began brewing sake sometime during the Kanei Era (1624-43).

In the early 17th century, when the Tokugawa Shogunate was still young, Itami was a prosperous sake-brewing center blessed with pure water and a good location that provided easy access to Edo where the Shogunate was based. Nada brewers tried hard to produce a better quality of sake than Itami's, developing new techniques one after another. Through such distinctive techniques, it did not take long for Nada to win a name as one of the best sake-brewing regions. What also helped Nada was that its access to Edo, the biggest consumer in those days, was even better than that of Itami. The sake made in Itami and the adjacent Ikeda region had to be first transported on horseback to the port of Osaka, while sake made in the coastal Nada district could be shipped fresh from the brewery. Transportation only by sea meant a huge quantity of sake could be delivered to Edo at one time. In those days, Nada sake was shipped on Taru Kaisen -- boat services exclusively for sake casks. A Taru Kaisen service usually reached Edo around 20 days after leaving Nada. In the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, vessels large enough to carry as many as 3,000 casks at a time traveled back and forth between Nada and Edo.

In the Edo Period, Nada Go-go (the five sake-brewing areas of Nada) were Shimo-Nada-go (present Hyogo and Chuo wards of Kobe), Nishi-go (Nada Ward of Kobe), Mikage-go (Higashi-Nada Ward of Kobe), Uozaki-go (part of Higashi-Nada Ward and Ashiya) and Imazu-go (Nishinomiya). Later, Shimo-Nada-go was replaced by Nishinomiya-go (Nishinomiya).



C) Nadagogo Brewers Association, 2000,All Rights Reserved.