日本酒を語る

Talk about sake

2020.11.27

Knowledge

SAKANISHIKI

In Shimane Prefecture, the mythological heartland of Japan, sake brewing has been popular from ancient times and there is the legend of Yamata-no-Orochi, a gigantic serpent with eight heads and eight tails, which was attacked after getting drunk with sake called Yashiori-no-sake. So, Shimane has been considered as one of the places of origin of sake. At the same time, it is the land that produces high quality sake rice. The breweries had hoped to have their unique sake rice suitable for producing luxury liquors, so the Akana Branch of Shimane Agricultural Experimental Station, which also produces sake rice, started developing the unique sake rice from the late 1900’s. They succeeded in developing several varieties of sake rice, and one of them was Kairyo Hattannagare, which was highly reputed to have a high aptitude for brewing because of high-yield and large grains. However, there were disadvantages that it was difficult to grow because of the long stem that easily caused lodging before harvest. In order to shorten the stem but to keep the excellent brewing aptitude, it was cross-bred with a short stem variety called Kinmon Nishiki (Nagano Prefecture) in 1985. The later generation was born with the larger shinpaku (opaque white core), ensuring a high quality and a stable aptitude for cultivation. In 2001, they named the new variety Sakanishiki after Saka Shrine (Matsuo Shrine) in Izumo City, which appeared in Izumo-no-Kuni Fudoki (topography of Izumo) and has been worshipped as the deity of sake brewing. In the same year, it was adopted as a recommended variety of paddy rice in Shimane. Sake using this sake rice has a smooth, refreshing and well-balanced taste, and is best served at room temperature, lukewarm and hot. Sakanishiki has been grown only in Shimane since the birth and has steadily been recognized as the sake rice representing Shimane, with the annual production estimated to reach 155 tons in 2018. (photo by: Shimane Sake Brewery Association)