Otokoyama Japanese Sake Brewery in Asahikawa City !

by Tacky in Asahikawa City.

 Do you know where the coldest temperature was recorded in Japan?
 The place was not on the top of Mt. Fuji.  On January 25th, 1902, the coldest temperature of minus forty one degree in Celsius was recorded in Asahikawa City.

In this coldest Asahikawa City, there are two breweries of Japanese sake. They are "Takasagosyuzou" and "Otokoyamasyuzou". Japanese sake has been produced since 1899 in each.
 I think some of you may wonder if it has been possible to produce Japanese sake since such long time ago because Japanese sake is made from rice and Hokkaido was said not to be appropriate place to grow rice crop.

Well, rice growing also became possible by around 1890 even in Asahikawa City.
Sake brewing in Asahikawa City at the northern end of Japan started at that time.
 It's said that the total amount of Japanese sake produced in Asahikawa City accounts for nearly 30 percent of the total production in whole Hokkaido in 1924. The following
factors are sited as the reasons why Japanese sake brewery prospered in Asahikawa City.

Reason 1:  There is rich groundwater necessary to make Japanese sake.
Reason 2  The cold climate of Asahikawa City was suitable for
production of sake in winter.
Reason 3  The population of Asahikawa City increased rapidly from around 1900.

Brewing sake has been started in coldest Asahikawa City, when I visited. The work starts from around November and continues until around March.
 It was the midst of sake brewing work in the Otokoyamasyuzou  I visited. The
old tools for sake brewing was exhibited in the museum of Otokoyama-shuzou.

 When I look at the items displayed in the museum, I could so easily imagine the tough situation to have started to make Japanese sake in the harsh climate of the northern island as it was made in the main island of Japan that it was so impressive.

 The present sake brewing is performed in the squeaky clean factory in which the temperature is strictly controlled. But sake made in Hokkaido doesn't get high evaluation from a
consumers even now. A breweries in Hokkaido sometimes are criticized that the material rice is not produced in Hokkaido.

 I think there will be a lot of trouble before sake made in Hokkaido will get
high evaluation from now on.
 But I felt "Originality was required to the goods for taste. So the new original and most appropriate way to make sake in the northern cold circumstances should be researched and the material rice and the way to grow them should be improved as well. I want the sake breweries in Hokkaido to continue such effort.


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