Hokkaido Sake

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Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!


I understand this blog is devoted to sake brewed in Shizuoka Prefecture, but whenever I have the luck to visit other regions in Japan I follow the (somewhat changed) adage: Drink in Roma what Romans drink!

I went on a six-night tour of Hokkaido from August 26th to September 1st, visiting Shiretoko (see pic above), one of the three Japanese World Heritages.

I also visited (for the second time) the Island of Rishiri where I even unearthed a “maboroshi/one that disappeared” brewery!

Eisen or Hokkai Eisen Brewery was the only brewery in operation in the island from 1876 until 1973 ( the year JRR Tolkien left this world) when it finally folded. The bottle above and a short history of the Kura can be seen exhibited at the Rishiri Island Folk Museum located inside the former first Rishiri Island Primary School Building!

I managed to sample the sake of six different breweries out of the 15 existing kura at restaurants and hotels in Abashiri, Rishiri Island, Sapporo and Otaru!
As a general rule these were very different from those found in Shizuoka Prefecture, not only because of the yeasts, but also because of the rice strains, some of which I had never heard of before.
They showed more acidity when dry, and tasted more sirupy when sweet.
These sake are obviously designed for a fish-based daily food. Shizuoka people do eat a more varied food, notably more greens than in Hokkaido, where everything seemed to contain more salt. They certainly puzzled me at times, although I did find some definitely to my liking!

If you want to taste or buy the whole gamut, I would strongly recommend that you either visit Kita Ichi Glass Company, Otaru City, Sakai Cho, 7-26 or visit their HP at http://kitaichiglass.co.jp/kakuten/kaku-sake.html.
You can call them at 0134-33-2002 or fax at 0134-33-1997 or e-mail them at sake@kitaichiglass.co.jp for their catalogue.


Hokkaido Breweries List:

-Otaru City:
Kita no Homare
Tanaka Shuzo
Yamani Watanabe
Yuki no Hana Shuzo

-Nashike Gun:
Kuni Mare Shuzo

-Ketchan Cho
Niseko Shuzo

-Asahikawa City:
Takasago Shuzo

-Nemuro City:
Kita no Katsu

-Kuriyama City:
Kita no Kinu/Kobayashi Shuzo

-Shintotsukawa City:

-Sapporo City:

-Kitami City:
Yamada Shuzo

-Kushiro City:
Fukutsukasa Shuzo

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6 Responses to “Hokkaido Sake”

  1. etsuko Says:

    Welcome back! So, does it mean you will have Tokyo sake when you are in TOkyo? When are you coming to Tokyo?

    I forgot to tell you you were featured in this sake magazine issued in Shizuoka, not just movie. Yuumeijin! I have a copy of your interview.

  2. dragonlife Says:

    Cheers, Et-chan!
    Actually, that magazine is only a small local edition!
    Yes, wherever I go, I make a point to drink local sake!
    If you have the complete list of Tokyo Breweries I will feature them!
    I’m going to write more detailed postings on my Hokkaido trip at http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/
    Take good care of yourself and don’t nag TMOTH too much! LOL.

  3. etsuko Says:

    Looking forward to reading more about your trip!

  4. dragonlife Says:

    Just posted the first article at http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/
    3~4 more to come!

  5. Fred Says:

    Do you have a prefered sake to drink in winter that can be bought around the Niskeo area?

    Any tips on the texture of the serving cups and temp would be very appreciated. We would like to try it the way it should be done while we are in Niseko.

  6. gamekeys Says:


    […]Hokkaido Sake « Shizuoka Sake: The Cream Of Japan[…]…

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