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80% of Sake is Water

You might have heard the phrase “Nada, the otoko-zake (man (or masculine) sake), Fushimi, the onna-zake (woman (or feminine) sake)”. Being appropriate for sake brewing, the water of Nada in Hyogo Prefecture used to be valued as miyamizu (water obtained in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture). It is medium-hard water containing large amounts of minerals, and has no iron that would be harmful for sake brewing. As the fermentation easily proceeds, it becomes a sharp and dry sake. On the other hand, water of Fushimi in Kyoto Prefecture is soft water called go-kosui. It becomes a soft and smooth sake. The former one is called otoko-zake, and the latter one onna-zake.
Mostly soft water is used in Japan, however, since water accounts for 80% of sake, it has a big impact on the taste of sake. Water collected from different water veins even at the same place may present different water quality and create different tastes of sake. It is said that sake makers have a hard time maintaining their own sake tastes if they obtain different types of water.
Water not only has an impact on the tastes of sake but is very important for sake brewing up to washing tools and machines. Without water, breweries cannot exist. Probably many people who have visited breweries have felt comforted to see them located in wonderful natural environments because a water-rich land is rich in nature.