Chiyonosono Brewery

First to sell ”Junmaishu” after the war
”Chiyonosono Brewery”

Kumamoto’s ”sake”, Chiyonosono Brewery

Yamaga-shi, Kumamoto Prefecture. Famous for Yamaga lanterns and Yamaga Onsen, the city prospered as a post town along Buzen road through which feudal lords passed for ”Sankin-kotai” (a system under which feudal lords visit and reside every other year in Edo). Even now, the city still has the quaint cityscape reminiscent of those times. We visited Chiyonosono Brewery that began business in 1896. It is one of the leading ”sake” breweries in Kumamoto which is particular about the rice they use, creating their own brand called ”Kyushu-Shinriki.” The brewery is famous for being the first to sell ”junmaishu” after WWII.

”Kumamoto-Shinriki Junmaiginjo” that has a distinct flavor of rice

We tasted ”sake” brewed at Chiyonosono Brewery. First was ”Kumamoto-Shinriki Junmaiginjo”. We could feel the distinct taste of the rice, and it had a strong flavor that could compete with fatty dishes. Next we tasted matured ”sake” that was made in produced in 1978, close to the year Nakata was born. Losing flavor due to deterioration is referred to as ”hineru” in Japanese, but the matured ”sake” brewed by Chiyonosono Brewery had not deteriorated at all. It was not bitter, hard, nor had an unpleasant aroma whatsoever.

”Daikoshu” – Deeper flavor with time

Since we were also going to be meeting up with television and radio writer Kundo Koyama during our trip, we were also given a special tasting of a 50-year ”daikoshu” which was made close to the year Koyama was born. Fifty-year ”sake” is very rare and valuable. ”Sake” turns brownish with time, and becomes the color of Shaoxing rice wine. When we tasted the ”daikoshu”, it didn’t seem like ”sake” because of the taste which was similar to Shaoxing rice wine just like the coloring. It was like a smooth Shaoxing rice wine that was easy on the throat.
The original of Chiyonosono Brewery is when a rice wholesaler, Kikuhachi Honda, began making ”sake”. True to his origin as a rice wholesaler, he was very particular about the ”rice” which represented a rich autumn harvest. They will continue brewing sake that matches the changes in the food and ”sake” culture, while enriching people’s hearts.


Chiyonosono Brewery
1782 Yamaga, Yamaga-shi, Kumamoto