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Kirei Shuzō

prefecture: Hiroshima

Discover the world of Kirei Shuzō Brewery, where the essence of sake is a testament to longevity and prosperity. The name "Kirei," resonating with the ancient adage of cranes and turtles symbolizing enduring life, is deeply rooted in a rich tradition of sake brewing. Originally known as "Yoshidaya Sake" and savored by ancient connoisseurs, it was Kotaro Ishii, the family patriarch in the early Meiji period, who christened it "Kirei." From its origins as Yoshidaya to its evolution into "Kamerei," the brewery has honed its flavors, passing the delight of its sake through generations.

Nestled in Saijo, a historical town in Higashihiroshima City of Hiroshima Prefecture, Kirei Shuzo stands in a place steeped in culture and tradition. Once known as Yokkaichi Jiromaru Village, home to the ancient Kokubunji Temple, Saijo merges Yamato and Kyushu cultures. A mere 40-minute journey from Hiroshima, visitors to Saijo Station are greeted by a picturesque scene of white walls and sake barrels, a reminder of the town's rich history. Sake brewing in Saijo, thought to have its roots in Emperor Shomu's era, has positioned it as a western counterpart to the eastern sake capitals of Nada and Fushimi. Renowned for its unique soft water brewing method, "Saijo Sake" is celebrated nationwide, reinforcing the town's status as Japan's Sake Capital.

Saijo's geographical features, a plateau basin 200 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains, create perfect conditions for sake brewing. Known for its high-quality water, clean air, and cold climate, the area is an idyllic setting for sake production. The presence of Hiroshima University and the National Tax Agency Brewing Test Center in Saijo fosters a unique blend of academic and industrial collaboration, further enriching the town's sake legacy.

In the heart of Saijo, Sakagura Dori, or Sake Brewery Street, is where Kirei Shuzo and eight other breweries converge, each tapping into the region's purest water sources. The Maneki Well, exclusively utilized by Kirei, is the cornerstone of their sake production. With most breweries in Saijo sharing similar natural resources, the expertise of the Toji, or Master Brewer, is crucial in distinguishing each brewery's unique flavors. At Kirei Shuzo, this legacy is carried forward by Masahiro Nishigaki, following the path of his renowned father, Nobunichi Nishigaki. Embracing a forward-thinking approach, Masahiro has steered Kirei Shuzo towards specializing in premium Junmai Sake, with a belief that exceptional koji is the heart of great sake. This dedication is evident in their precise koji-making process, where rice is carefully nurtured for 72 hours, vigilantly overseen by the Toji and specialized supervisors, ensuring the finest quality in their limited-production Junmai Sake.

Explore the timeless craft of Kirei Shuzō, where each sip is a celebration of a storied legacy and a commitment to innovation in the art of sake brewing.