Miwa Sake Brewery, a nigori sake dedicated to the gods and loved by the people

Miwa Sake Brewery, a nigori sake dedicated to the gods and loved by the people

Seeking nigori sake close to doburoku

Shirakawa-go is located in the Shogawa River basin in northern Gifu Prefecture. In this area, where the Gassho-zukuri style villages are still preserved, a grand doburoku festival is held every year from the end of September to October to pray for fertility, safety of the family, and peace in the village. Doburoku has been used as a ritual drink in Shirakawa Village for about 1,300 years and has been served to the people in each district. Doburoku is made by fermenting rice, rice bran, and water without filtering the moromi, and is characterized by its cloudy white appearance. It has been loved by many people for its creamy, rich, and wild flavor, but it was forbidden to sell it because there were no opportunities to drink it outside of Shinto rituals. However, there were no opportunities to drink it outside of Shinto rituals, and it was forbidden to be sold. Many people, fascinated by its appearance and addictive taste, wanted to somehow make it a souvenir of Shirakawa-go so that they could take it home with them.
The previous generation was asked by the future mayor of Shirakawa Village to create a nigori sake similar to doburoku that could be taken home as a souvenir, and about 45 years ago the production of nigori sake “Shirakawa-go” began,” says Kenji Miwa, the 8th generation owner of Miwa Shuzo. In fact, nigori sake is difficult to handle because it leaves the moromi, which is solid, behind, making it easy for the machine to get dirty. Even among sake breweries near Shirakawa-go, there were very few that actively made nigori sake at that time. By chance, the Miwa Sake Brewery in Ogaki City, 100 kilometers away from Shirakawa-go, decided to play a role in making nigori sake to reproduce the doburoku of Shirakawa-go.

Founded in 1837, the Miwa Sake Brewery had more than enough expertise in sake brewing, but the road to commercialization was not an exception. It was necessary to create a sake that could be sold year-round within the definition of sake. After much research and study, they managed to create a nigori sake with a flavor similar to Shirakawa Village’s doburoku, a type of sake that is sold all year round. Miwa Shuzo’s nigori sake, “Shirakawa-go,” became a popular souvenir of Shirakawa Village, as originally planned.
What was unexpected was that its popularity was not limited to the Shirakawa Village area. Sake lovers who heard of the brewery’s reputation began to clamor for “Shirakawa-go,” and the sales channels expanded nationwide. As a result, the ratio of nigori-zake to sake production at Miwa Shuzo has reached 9:1, and the company has become known not only throughout Japan but also to sake lovers overseas as a brewery specializing in nigori-zake.

Nigori Sake, a rare treat in the world, is a part of Japan’s food culture

A rich nigori with concentrated original flavor of rice. This is the reason why “Shirakawa-go” is favored by so many people among the many nigori sake brands. The taste of nigori sake is strongly, deeply, and richly etched in the memory of those who taste it. However, the mash, which is the basis of nigori, is as rampant as a bull in a rodeo, and the role of the cowboy in a four-stage rodeo is aptly described as a “four-step rodeo. If the four-stage brewing process, which plays the role of a cowboy, can control it well, the result is a sake with the perfect combination of sake-like sharpness and rice flavor, but a mistake can cause it to become too active and explode. However, one wrong move and the sake can explode. It is also difficult to produce a stable nigori sake throughout the year, as the flavor can easily change. However, the Miwa Sake Brewery has been able to maintain the taste of moromi above a certain level through a unique process called “hi-ire,” which is an exquisite combination of complex factors such as the degree of heat treatment and fermentation, and the five senses of the toji (master brewer). The exploration of nigori sake has continued, and now the company has created sparkling and frozen types, and continues to create new types of nigori sake.
In fact, nigori sake and doburoku, which contain solid ingredients, are rare in the world and unique to Japanese food culture. In addition to the sweetness, sourness, miscellaneous flavors, and umami, it has a unique texture and potage-like feel on the tongue. It is refreshing to see how the unique “habit” of “Shirakawa-go” grabs the hearts of sake lovers. This must be because they have gone back to the basics of sake and created a new original.


Miwa Sake Brewery Co.
4-48 Funamachi, Ogaki-shi, Gifu
TEL 0584-78-2201
URL http://www.miwashuzo.co.jp/