Japanese Rock Garden – Large and small stones expressesing the flow of rivers and waterfalls In 1968, this garden was built for the founding family by Tanaka Taiami, who was involved in the restoration of many famous gardens across the country, including the Ginkaku-ji Temple of Kyoto. This "Kare-sansui" or traditional rock garden uses large and small stones that express the flow of mountain streams and waterfalls, and this style is a rare form of work for Tanaka Taiami. It is said that when Kikusui was damaged by two floods in 1966 and 1967, which forced the company to relocate to the current location, the garden was deliberately made as a rock garden that did not require water as a sign of consideration to the founding family. Please enjoy the scenery of the seasons as you walk along the stepping stones around the rock garden covered with beautiful cedar moss.
Mt.Ninouji , which greatly envelops Kitaechigo, where Kikusui is rooted, Between the Kaji River and the Tainai River, which are filled with clear thaw water that moistens the fertile land after Kitaechigo. It is a huge peak of the Iide mountain range avant-garde facing the Kambara plain for 20km from north to south. In the daily life of Kitaechigo in the northern part of Niigata prefecture, which is embraced by Mt. Ninouji It is full of magnificent nature, clean water, rich culture and warmth of people. Welcome to Kitaechigo. Here are the treasures of Kitaechigo from the perspective of a traveler. "Daily life in extraordinary life" "Extraordinary in everyday life" Like wandering in that gap Why don't you enjoy the treasure hunt after Kitaechigo?
Shibata City, the homeland of Kikusui, is also home to one of the most famous hot springs in Niigata Prefecture called Tsukioka Onsen. True to its name, it is a wonderful hot spring resort that invites a feeling of autumnal travel. It boasts one of the highest sulfur content in Japan, and the water is mildly alkaline and gentle on the skin. The sulfur spring water, which is rare and beautiful emerald green, can turn precious metals black. It is said to be effective in treating dermatitis and adult diseases, and above all, it is known as "the hot spring that makes you more beautiful" because it is thought to be effective in beautifying the skin. It is located about a 15-minute drive away from Kikusui's head office, and you can smell the unique scent of the sulfur spring even when you are in the car. There are also many different inns. The wide selection includes large inns with a variety of facilities, traditional hot-spring cure inns, and private inns that feel like hideaways. If you walk around the hot spring resort area, you will find footbaths where you can casually enjoy Tsukioka's hot spring water, shops where you can enjoy Niigata's local sake, other local delicacies, and of course, local onsen manju! There are also many souvenir shops. In the long cool autumn nights, you can stroll around the hot spring town under the moonlight, take a bath while gazing at the moon ― and don't forget to drink some delicious local sake after your bath. Will you have cold sake after warming up or warmed sake to match the cool autumn weather? Tsukioka Onsen Tourism Association: http://www.tsukiokaonsen.gr.jp/ https://www.kikusui-sake.com/book/vol5/#target/page_no=7
Shibata City, in Niigata Prefecture is the home of Kikusui’s brewery, and the city is located in the North of the Echigo Plane, which is known as one of the leading food production areas in Japan. This area is surrounded in rich natural landscapes, from the beautiful coast to the Northwest, to the mountainous region to the Southeast. The abundant snowmelt that flows into the Kaji River brings moisture to the fertile earth, and the area is also known for producing several different strains of high-quality rice. Making good sake requires the three elements of good weather, rice, and water, in addition to good craftsman (the chief brewer and those who work with them). The hometown of Kikusui is blessed with all of these, but this time we will be concentrating on the water. Water is classified as either hard or soft. Water with a large amount of mineral content (like calcium and magnesium) is hard, and water with less is soft. The minerals in hard water act as food for the yeast in the brewing process, leading to lively fermentation, and fewer failures, which is why it was regarded as superior at a time when brewing techniques weren’t as developed as they are today. On the other hand, soft water, which contains less of these elements, encourages gentler fermentation, leading to a slower fermentation process. With the advancement of brewing techniques, ginjo sake, which is regarded as the measure of a brewer’s technique, is now quite popular. Within the tax agency’s definition of ginjo sake brewing, you can find the words “fermented slowly at a low temperature.” This means that soft water is ideal for brewing ginjo sake. It’s also said that sake brewed from soft water has a soft and smooth flavor with a round finish. Almost all of the sake brewed in Niigata is brewed with soft water. Sake from Niigata is praised for going down smoothly, and for having a light and clean finish, and Niigata exports more ginjo sake than any other prefecture in the country (According to a study by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association), which is likely due to this soft water. Of course, Kikusui is brewed with soft water as well. Shibata, the hometown of Kikusui, is a treasure house of natural water resources for the production of sake, from the water of the Kaji River which flows right near the brewery and its abundant groundwater arteries below, to cool and clear underground water which comes from the plentiful snowmelt of the Iide Mountains.
What do you think the joy of sake is? Kikusui believes it's not just about the delicious taste. What we do is “sake brewing”, but we believe that it's also important to cultivate a "place". We want to make something interesting, joyful, and fun as well as delicious. “Kikusui Sake Culture Institute” is one of the manifestations of our wishes. There are various sake sets and literature that have been passed down since the ancient times, as well as various items through which you can experience the fun and depth of sake. We hope you enjoy. Setsugoro Brewery – Nurturing the next generation of engineers through artisanal sake brewing Setsugoro was named after the founder. Following the pioneering and progressive spirit of Setsugoro, we make technically sophisticated or unique sake. Through artisanal sake brewing that makes full use of the human body and the five senses, it is also used for human resource development to pass down skills. Setsugoro Brewery is the first brewery in Japan that has a certified organic space, and is also responsible for the production of organic sake. In the rice fields that stretch outside the windows of Setsugoro, we grow sake rice “Kikusui,” which is the raw material of our sake. Every year, local farmers, liquor stores and our employees work together to plant the rice in spring and harvest them in autumn.
Our roots are firm in this region, and we will continue to contribute to people's health, refreshment and enjoyment through cultivating the blessings of the earth with the power of fermentation that has been fostered since our founding, and by taking advantage of the traditional Japanese culture that has been passed down to us. The Kikusui Institute for Sake Culture embodies this commitment. Exhibition Area – Countless tools and sake sets that amplify the joy of drinking This is the reference room. There are more than 15,000 sake bottles and tools in this area, some of which are on display. These materials tell us that sake has greatly contributed to the cultivation of diverse cultures since ancient times. Sake is dedicated to god for good harvest and helps to form bonds between people. Sake is served in all occasions from joy to happiness to anger to sadness, and is enjoyed in the outdoors while feeling the change of the seasons. Even time changes, sake continues to be a part of people's lives. Kikusui discovers ways to make sake more interesting and fun while unraveling these reference materials. ibrary: Literature collction of sake and food culture This is the library. A wide range of literature that captures sake from various perspectives, such as papers regarding sake brewing to specialized books and novels related to sake and food culture, fills the bookshelves across the walls that stretch from the ground to the ceiling. There are over 16,000 books here. Some of the materials include a collection of “drawing cards” made in the Edo, Meiji, and Taisho periods, which are similar to modern-day flyers, and cookbooks written by Ukiyoe artists in the Edo period, all of which shed light to the lifestyle back then.
If you ask brewers to name their favorite Kikusui sake, the most popular answer is Kikusui Karakuchi Dry. This honjozo (authentically brewed) sake has a bitingly dry edge yet still maintains a balance of round umami flavor, and it features a clear and refined taste. With the current popularity of Japanese sake, there are all sorts available, from fragrant ginjo sake reminiscent of wine, to raw sake packed with umami. Among these, Kikusui Karakuchi Dry remains an authentic sake un-swayed by trends, something akin to the nostalgic home-cooked meal you long for after eating too much gourmet fare. This sake is a classic for pairing with food, and it works well alongside Japanese, Western, Chinese, and other cuisines, but it matches especially well with home cooked food. My personal recommendation for autumn would be to enjoy it alongside salt roasted saury. Take the lovely scent of the crispy skin, the fatty flesh of the fish, and that overflowing umami flavor so particular to saury, and pour a bit of Kikusui Karakuchi Dry to match. If that doesn’t fill your mouth with happiness, what will? Among the documents held by Kikusui Sake Culture Research Institute there is a sort of “Dish Ranking” published in 1853. It’s an old informational magazine which splits dishes into Shojin Mono (vegetarian dishes) and Namagusa Mono (meat or fish dishes), and then ranks them in a similar way to how sumo wrestlers are ranked, and saury was given quite a high spot. Among 118 different Namagusa Mono dishes, saury was ranked at number 7. This shows just how popular saury was, even over 160 years ago. If there were a ranking of autumn flavors which pair well with Kikusui Karakuchi Dry, saury would surely be a champion. Perhaps tonight would be a good time to try pairing Kikusui Karakuchi Dry with your own home cooking.