Sake brewing in Iwate Prefecture is said to have been started from around 1660. Since then, by using advanced brewing techniques that have been created through many years of such devotion as to produce the largest toji (brew master) group called Nambu Toji, and also with pure water and excellent sake rice, Iwate has brought many delicious sakes to the world. However, those involved in sake brewing there really wished for long time to have Iwate’s original rice suitable for ginjoshu.. In response to their eager request, Iwate Agricultural Research Center started developing such rice from 1990. In the following year, they cross bred Dewasanzan (Yamagata Prefecture) and Akitashu No.49 (Akita Prefecture), and through the test brewing that started from 1997, they finally gave birth to their original rice called Ginginga. This sake rice is characterized by the thickness of grains and higher manifestation rate of shinpaku (opaque part of the rice). Also, the cool-weather resistance suitable for the climate of Iwate is tempting, which creates a soft, rich, and new flavor of sake. The impressive name Ginginga was chosen from the public from all over Japan. The word is named after ideas associated with ginjoshu, shining shinpaku, sparkly sake, and the novel “Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru” (Night on the Galactic Railroad) written by Kenji Miyazawa from Iwate.
(Photo of rice plants by: Iwate Prefecture Japan-Sake Makers Association)