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Column 2024.04.30

Niigata Sake Tour Recommendations (Myoko City Edition)

The final episode of the series that guides you on a drinking trip around Niigata Prefecture is3We will focus on Myoko City, which has two sake breweries. Myoko City, located in the southwestern part of the prefecture on the border of Nagano Prefecture, is a highland resort area rich in nature surrounded by Myokosan, one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains and also known as "Echigo Fuji." Let's visit the story of the sake brewery that brews delicious sake while experiencing nature in all four seasons.

Myoko city3You can tour all of the breweries, but holidays and conditions vary, so we recommend checking the official website or phone before heading out.

Three sake breweries that cherish the blessings of water and brew delicious sake

Approximately from Myoko Haneuma Line Arai Station10If you walk for a minute, you will be along the old Hokkoku Kaido road.1842(Tempo13) was founded inKiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd.There is. By car: Joshinetsu Expressway Arai SmartICFrom about7Minute.

The representative brand is "Kiminoi". Kiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd. is fed by underground water from the Yashirogawa River, which originates from Mt. Hiuchi, the highest peak in the Kubiki Mountain Range, and slowly flows through the melted snow that is filtered over time. It has become Shikomi water.

The sake rice used at Kiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd. is also grown by local producers using water from the Yashiro River.

Chief brewer Hiroshi Hayatsu is one of them, and in the summer when Shikomi is not available, he works hard to cultivate sake rice, mainly Koshitanrei.The brewers, who know everything about rice, cherish the rich blessings of nature and brew local sake that inherits traditional flavors.

Kiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd. also uses the old-fashioned Yamahai method, which makes use of natural lactic acid, and its deep flavor has received high praise in overseas contests.

Recommended by Kiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd., which symbolizes the goodness of water and rice.1The book is ``Kiminoi Yamahai Junmai Ginjo''.

This Yamahaishu has a rich flavor and a clean taste that you won't get tired of drinking.


What you definitely want to try this coming season is ``Kiminoi Junmai Tanreishu,'' which is available only in the summer and exclusively for cold sake. Chill the sake cup well. It's also great to enjoy rock music as an evening drink on a hot day.


Opposite the sake brewery is a confectionery store founded in the Edo period.Yoro Honpo IkedayaYou can experience the atmosphere of the old road just by walking around the sake brewery. At Yoro Honpo Ikedaya, Myoko City3They also sell ``Junmaishu Castella,'' which uses local sake from the brewery, so be sure to check it out.


About a walk from the sake brewery10In the place of minutesSushiyoshiAt the restaurant, you can enjoy local sake from Myoko City along with sushi made with seasonal seafood caught in Naoetsu Port.

In Sushiyoshi, Myoko Kogen Onsenkyo is “71 hot spring area, 5 spring qualities,3We also offer the ``Shichi-Go-San (Nagomi) Gozen'' (reservation required), which is being promoted by the Myoko City Tourism Bureau due to its distinctive color of ``two hot springs''. I would like to try the special lunch "Shichi-Go-San Gozen" which consists of "seven dishes, five ingredients, and three fermented foods".


Approximately by car from Arai Station10Along the Yashiro River overlooking Mt. Hiuchi.1860It was founded in 1990 (Manen 1).Chiyonohikari Sake Brewery Co., For cars, Arai SmartICFrom about2Minute.

The representative brand is "Chiyonohikari". as a separate brand7The ``K series'' produced by the owner, Kenichiro Ikeda, is also popular.


“Junmai Ginjo” available only from spring to early summerKENICHIRO "Omachi Unfiltered Nama Genshu" uses Omachi, which is said to be the oldest variety of sake rice, and you can enjoy the fresh and hearty taste of freshly squeezed rice. The ones that have been pasteurized will appear in the fall.


Every year5We also recommend enjoying the limited edition summer sake ``Chiyonohikari Namachozoshu'' on the rocks, which will be released in mid-month. Because it is stored and aged as Genshu and then pasteurized before bottling, it has just the right amount of flavor and a refreshing taste with exquisite umami.


At Chiyonohikari Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.2About a year ago,0My Craft chiyo"Start.

Since local sake can be produced with a unique taste in the world, sake stores are creating original products, and inquiries from the general public have been increasing recently.

How to participate2kinds.

There are two ways to participate: have eight types of blended sake delivered to your home, sample them, tell them your preferred type and ratio, and have them commercialize it, or participate at the brewery. Visit the brewery as part of a sake brewery tour and create your own1It would be fun to try making a book. Reservations can be made from the official website.


Another sake brewery in Myoko City,Ayumasamune Shuzo Co., Ltd.Approximately by taxi from Haneuma Line Sekiyama Station10Minutes. For cars, Arai SmartICor nakagoICFrom about20Minutes. National highway near the Nagano prefectural border292It is located along the road, and the Nagasawa River, a tributary of the Seki River, flows behind the warehouse.

Founded1875(Meiji8)Year. The brand ``Ayumasamune'' was named after His Imperial Highness Wakamiya Hiroyoshi, a member of the imperial family who stayed in Akakura in the early Showa period, when he went fishing for sweetfish at Saruhashi, where the storehouse was located.

As the name "Mizuho" suggests, the Mizuho district where the sake brewery is located has abundant natural water springing up from the grounds of every house, and water flowing every hour from the well inside the sake brewery, which has a thatched roof that symbolizes its history.5T of spring water is gushing out.


Along with the standard ``Ayumasamune'' series, ``Junmai Nigorizake Bishamon'' is gaining popularity, especially among women.


Nigorizake has a refreshing and elegant sweetness and sourness that takes advantage of the quality of the water, and is best served chilled on a hot summer day. Nigorizake enjoyed on the rocks has a fresh and refreshing taste.



The sparkling sake ``Sweetfish'' was planned by the 6th generation Yumi Iiyoshi and created through trial and error with the master brewer Shuji Kamishi.-``Label'' is also one you'll want to enjoy in the summer. The fine bubbles created by secondary fermentation in the bottle bring a cooling sensation.


In order to protect water, which is the lifeblood of a sake brewery, in the spring and summer he participates in activities to maintain the water source mountain (photo below) as a member of the Saruhashi Castle Ruins Preservation Society, which is made up of local residents.

In 7 month4The ``Yamashiro No Shiage Relay'' is held to pass the mountain through various castle ruins and raise the spirits at each castle ruin, working as one to pass on the richness of history and nature to the next generation.

Spots where you can enjoy early summer in Myoko City

The first sightseeing spot I'd like to introduce in early summer that you'll want to enjoy together with the three breweries is Naenataki, which is listed as one of Japan's top 3 waterfalls. Approximately from the parking lot15minute walk, drop55I want to experience the powerful famous waterfall that measures 1.5 feet tall and the cool air.


elevation1300m'sSasagamine HighlandIt's great to enjoy trekking and hiking in the area to soothe your mind and body.


There is a colorless and transparent simple hot spring and a sulfur spring (black mud bath).Imori PondI would like to visit too. The spectacular view of Myokosan from Imori Pond is sure to be a great souvenir from your trip.

Every year around Imori Pond5Month(2024The year5Month11``Sougensai'', an event that heralds the arrival of spring, will be held on Myoko Kogen on Sunday.

A fire breaks out in the grass field at the ski slope, and the fire character ``艸'' is displayed, and lanterns and fireworks are set off. I want to go to a fantastic early summer event.


Local sake in Myoko can be purchased at each brewery, but if you want to buy it on your way home, you can buy it at the roadside station Arai.Campana AraiLet's stop by. At Kanzuri Kobo, we have everything from standard sake to seasonal sake. There are many different types of Kanzuri, a specialty of Myoko, so pick your favorite according to your purpose and taste.

I want to immerse myself in the afterglow of my trip while enjoying dishes made with kanzuri and local Myoko sake.


Photo cooperation: Myoko Tourism Bureau, Kiminoi Shuzo Co., Ltd., Chiyonohikari Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., Ayumasamune Shuzo Co., Ltd., Campana Arai


Neil (Publisher of “Cushu Techo” and “R from Niigata”)

Mariko Takahashi