Jun 18, 2008

Enjoying Local Tokyo Sake

The Nishitama-meijo Club (excellent sake-brewer's club of Nishitama) held the 7'th Gathering for Enjoying Nishitama Sake and Sake Cups on Jun 7 in Akishima City, Tokyo. The club consists of four sake brewers: Ishikawa Brewery Co., Ltd. (Fussa City), Tamura Shuzoujou (Fussa City), Ozawa Shuzou Co., Ltd. (Ome City), and Nakamura Shuzou, Inc. (Akiruno City).

Besides producing sake "Tamajiman" and local beer "Tama-no-megumi," Ishikawa Brewery runs the Italian restaurant called "Fussa-no-birugoya" and Japanese restaurant "Zogura" in its premises. Since, fortunately, the brewery is located in a neighboring city of mine, I haunt these restaurants in a Holiday afternoon or evening to enjoy relaxing time in a tranquilizing atmosphere over fresh, unfiltered, unpasteurized beer or sake.

Shipping sake with the "Kasen" brand, Tamura Shuzoujou has recently started brewing and shipping sake of a new brand named "Tamura." "Tamura" enjoys nation-wide popularity, and I believe this sake deserves to be treated as a special one of Tokyo sake brands.

Ozawa Shuzou is brewing and shipping sake of the "Sawanoi" brand. This brewery is the largest sake brewer in Tokyo, shipping nearly 50% of all the sake shipped by Tokyo Sake Brewer's Association. In the western part of Tokyo, the brewery is located. It also runs Sawanoien and Mamagotoya, restaurants near the brewery, and I visit this place from time to time. From a resting place in Sawanoien, you can look down the stream of the Tama river, in which you may find people enjoying kayaks.

Nakamura Shuzou is located close to the Akiruno interchange of the Metropolitan Inter-city Highway (Ken-O-Do). Although I often drive a car on the road to which the gate of the brewery is facing, I have never gone through this gate. The buildings in the premises seem admirable and I would like to visit this place in the not-too-distant future. I quite appreciate the ability of this brewery although its name recognition may not be so strong as those of Sawanoi and Tamajiman. Actually, the brewery boasts frequent winning of gold prizes in National New Sake Tasting Competitions.

By the way, the Gathering for Enjoying Nishitama Sake and Sake Cups was held in the Akishima Citizen's Exchange Center. This place was a little bit difficult to find, although being located as close to the JR Nakagami station as it takes about 10minutes on foot. We needed to wander a while and ask a passerby for the correct way before reaching the destination.

This time also, of course, I was accompanied by kimono
ladies. :-)

On this day, they provided about 20 different types of sake under the themes of namazake and ginjoshu along with nice dishes. I tasted 13 types including 4 dai-ginjoshu types from the four different breweries.

Also, I must tell you that since this was the "Gathering for Enjoying Nishitama Sake and Sake Cups," the participants, of course, enjoyed sake cups, too. Many sake cups in different colors and different shapes created by a craft potter were sold at the entrance, each participant was supposed to choose one and buy it. During the gathering, they used their own cups to enjoy Nishitama sake.

In this connection, I bought the sake cup shown in the photo below. I like the rough and crude touch of this cup.

In the photo below, the four white cups are sake tasting cups of the four breweries, which were brought into the venue by my friend Ms. N and are personal belongings of her. The other one is the sake cup of her own choice. It has a beautiful green glassy part inside at the bottom.

Ms. K chose this one. Unfortunately, she left it behind at the venue. The white and green two-tone design was nice.

Frankly speaking, it is difficult to say that sake products produced in Tokyo are comparable to national top-level sake. Nonetheless, since they are sake of my own locality, I feel attached to them. Probably, this is because of my love for my locality. I hope that all the brewers in Tokyo continue to produce good sake.