Sake Brewer Gives Thanks for New Sake with Shinto Ritual in Aichi Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sake brewers hang up a new sugidama, a large cedar ball that is a traditional symbol in the industry, at Nakano Sake Brewery Co. in Handa, Aichi Prefecture.

HANDA, Aichi — A Shinto ritual was held at a sake brewery in Handa, Aichi Prefecture, in which the master brewer and others expressed their gratitude for the brewing of new sake using newly harvested rice.

The ritual was conducted before an altar at the kura warehouse on Oct. 3 to mark the first round of the removal of sake lees in the sake brewing process.

A total of 3,500 of the 720-milliliter bottles of freshly made sake were put on sale as Shiboritate Genshu and Shinmai Shinshu on Oct. 23.

“The scorching summer heat made us take a lot of care with the rice used for the brewing and the brewing process,” said Hideya Funai, 52, the master brewer at Nakano Sake Brewery Co. Having tasted the new sake, Funai said, “We were able to make full-flavored, full-bodied and sharp sake.”

The making of koji, the key ingredient in sake brewing, began on Sept. 1, using early season koshihikari rice produced in Mie Prefecture. On Oct. 3, the brewery was decorated with a newly made sugidama, a large ball made from Japanese cedar branches that is a traditional symbol in the sake industry.