Okamura Brewery, a name synonymous with the rich heritage of Japanese sake, traces its origins to 1854. Founded by the 8th generation of the Okamura family in the bountiful lands of Toyogo Yoshida in Koto, the brewery was established under the auspices of Ii Tairo, the lord of the Hikone domain. This region, once under the stewardship of the Ii family, is blessed with the famous spring water of the Suzuka Mountains, ideal for sake brewing. Coupled with the production of high-quality rice and the invigorating cold breeze from Mt. Ibuki, the area provided the perfect conditions for sake craftsmanship. Over the past 168 years, Okamura Brewery has honed its skills, passionately producing carefully selected Japanese sake in Toyosato.
Central to Okamura's sake production is the Omi rice, a special agricultural product of Shiga Prefecture. Grown in the flourishing rice town of Toyosato-cho, this rice, including varieties like "Tamaei," "Yamada Nishiki," and "Ginfubuki," is a testament to the area's agricultural prowess. Certified as "Shiga Prefecture Specialty Agricultural Products," this rice transforms into exquisite alcoholic beverages under Okamura's expert care.
The brewery prides itself on its traditional method of washing rice. Using underground water from the Suzuka Mountains, each grain is hand-washed, ensuring optimal moisture content crucial for sake's distinct quality. The precise control of temperature and moisture during this process is a hallmark of Okamura's dedication to quality.
The transformation from rice to koji, a critical process in sake brewing, is a meticulous 48-hour endeavor at Okamura Brewery. In their koji room, they carefully cultivate koji mold on the steamed rice, a process that demands constant attention to temperature and moisture.
Okamura Brewery adopts a 3-stage fermentation process, intricately balancing the addition of steamed rice, koji, and water. For certain varieties, this process extends to four stages, each meticulously managed to ensure the perfect fermentation environment.
In the final stages of sake production, Okamura Brewery uses the "Kibune Fukuro Shibori" technique for squeezing the sake. This labor-intensive, traditional method, passed down by the previous chief brewer, Shinichi Tatami, and now upheld by the current chief brewer, Mutsuo Sonoda, ensures the gentle extraction of sake, preserving its quality and flavor.
Okamura Brewery, with its deep respect for traditional sake brewing techniques and its commitment to using the finest local ingredients, stands as a beacon of Japanese cultural heritage and craftsmanship.