Japanese Sake Series: Tosatsuru Shuzo (Tosatsuru Sake Brewery)
Tosatsuru is a Japanese sake brewery in Kochi prefecture. With history dating back to the 1700s, it uses top-quality rice and water directly from the region.
History and background of Tosatsuru Sake Brewery
Tosatsuru Shuzo is located in Yasuda-cho, Aki-gun, in the eastern part of Kochi prefecture. The brewery has a long history, dating back to the Anei era of the Edo period (1603-1868). During the Warring States period, the Hiromatsu family was the chief retainer of the Yasuda township of Tosa (now Kochi prefecture). During the Edo period, they braved the rough seas of the Pacific Ocean with a dozen ships, going as far as Edo (now Tokyo). In 1773, they started brewing sake with rice produced in their own fields.
The family’s confidence in brewing grew with each passing generation. In 1845, they finally decided to specialise in the trade, and began to firmly carve a path towards becoming a household name. Since then, despite the torrents of the times and many hardships, the company motto of "Quality above all - create quality products you can be proud of" has been consistently passed down to the present day.
Today, Tosatsuru’s essence of ‘smooth but deliciously dry’ products has been further perfected.
Origins of the company name
The name of the brewery comes from a song written by a poet of the Heian period, Ki no Tsurayuki. On his way to the capital, he came upon scenes of flocks of cranes dancing around blue waters and pinegroves, and composed a song that was full of longing for Tosa. Tosatsuru is named after the auspicious cranes of this song.
Tosatsuru Brewery’s essential ingredients
Yanase, one of Japan's three major cedar forests, spreads out upstream of the Yasuda River. The bountiful forest and abundant summer rainfall provide a plentiful supply of high-quality water that is the essence of sake brewing. The water pumped from the brewery’s well is soft, and contains a well-balanced amount of minerals that promote healthy and strong yeast fermentation.
Tosatsuru carefully selects its riceIt uses rice produced in Kochi prefecture as it is perfect for brewing a smooth and refreshing ‘ginjo’ sake. It also uses "Hyogo Yamada Nishiki", considered a top variety that is widely used for brewing. It is also flexible in using the right yeast to bring out the characteristic qualities of each type of sake. It has an extensive collection of yeast, and uses not only the Brewery Society’s yeast, but also ‘Ginjo Kumamoto’ yeast and its original Tosatsuru yeast. The brewery decides which yeast to use depending on which is the most suitable for the rice type and desired sake quality.
Tosatsuru’s sake rice
Tosa’s amazing nature has existed since ancient times. The spirit of the Tosa region has lived on for thousands of years and is still very much alive today. Tosatsuru sake imbues a sense of nostalgia for the Heian period and the spirit of its namesake, hoping to inspire with every cup.