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Chikumanishiki Shuzō

prefecture: Nagano

Chikumanishiki Shuzō, a notable sake brewery, resides in Saku City, perched on the Sakudaira plateau at an elevation of 700 meters. This location is cradled by the Asama mountains to the north and the Yatsugatake range to the south, with Japan's longest river, the Chikuma (transforming into the Shinano River in Niigata Prefecture), flowing through. This splendid natural setting, coupled with the region's harsh winter temperatures that can plunge to -10 degrees Celsius, creates an ideal environment for brewing Daiginjo and other sake varieties. The chilly climate assists in cooling steamed rice to brewing temperature and inhibiting bacterial growth, essential for sake production.

The brewery primarily uses Miyama Nishiki rice, sourced from Nagano Prefecture, renowned for its suitability in sake brewing. This rice variety, characterized by larger grains and a more prominent white core compared to regular non-glutinous rice, undergoes rigorous quality checks and precise polishing.

Chikumanishiki Shuzō's facility houses four wells – two shallow ones at 13 meters and two deeper ones at 60 meters. These wells are strategically utilized to extract water with optimal mineral content and minimal iron, vital for quality sake. Taneda Santoka, a revered wandering haiku poet with a penchant for nature and drink, penned a tribute to this pristine water on May 9, 1933, in Iwamurata, Saku. His haiku, celebrating the 'goodness of the water in Shinano country,' reflects his expertise in water selection and his deep appreciation for nature's gifts. Without such natural blessings, the renowned water crucial to the brewery's sake would not exist.