Shimane prefecture is the one of the holiest place in Japan.
There is a very famous myth. In every October, gods all around Japan gather in Shimane and discuss about the national defense and marriage of people. Beside with this myth, there are so many myth inherited to this age.
There are also several myths about sake. Those ancient myths tell us how essential sake is for the Japanese life and sprit.
Currently, Shimane prefecture is called the birth place of sake.
Myth 1：ヤマタノオロチ – Eight-headed serpent
There was a serpent which has eight heads and on rampage. A girl was about to sacrifice her life to palliate the monster. A god “須佐之男命 Susanoo no mikoto” was asked to help her.
He ordered people to produce the strong sake “八塩折之酒” and leave in front of all 8 gate of their town.
The serpent came to the town and found pods of sake. All 8 heads stick into the pods and drunk sake up. After the serpent passed out, “須佐之男命 Susanoo no mikoto” slowly approached and chopped 8 heads off.
The peace came up in this town again.
Myth 2：火中出産 – Birth in fire
“Konohanasakuya Hime 木花咲耶姫” and a god slept a night and conceived. The god doubted if she conceived a baby of another god. She left a word “If this baby is yours, we will be safe even in fire”. Then, she set a fire to the shrine and birthed the baby. They were safe and proved the baby was the god’s one.
To celebrate the brith of this baby, a sake was brewed. The name of sake is 天甜酒 , which is considered as the origin of sake, hence the ancient document shows the sake is produced with rice.
The other is this “Saka Shrine 佐香神社”. The ancient document “出雲国風土記” says that gods gathered in Saka 佐香 area, brewed sake and had a 180-day-long party. The god of sake “酒造之太祖 久斯之神” is enshrined in this shrine. Also, the name of this area Saka 佐香 is similar to sake, hence this place is considered as the birth place of sake.
Saka Shrine 佐香神社
There are only 2 shrines allowed to brew sake in Shimane prefecture. “Izumotaisha 出雲大社” , one of the holiest shrine in Japan, is one of them.
In every 13 Oct, this shrine has the autumn ceremony and lots of brewers come and pray for the god of sake. In this ceremony, self-brewed unrefined sake is offered for prayer.
Self-brewed unrefined sake
Besides, the ceremony to appoint the honorable sommelier is held in this shrine. Our head sake sommelier Tadashi Okushima was also appointed a honarable sake sommelier in this place.
Priest in the honorable sommelier’s ceremony
New honorable sommeliers 2016
The production quantity of sake brewery rice accounts 60% of that of all kind of rice. This is one of the highest rate in Japan. Especially, it is said that the environment of Okuizumo “奥出雲” is perfect for growing the high-quality brewery rice. There is a gap between day and night. The soil is little sticky and well drained.
Rice field of Izumo area
In this perfect environment, Sakanishiki 佐香錦 was borned in 2003. Of course, the name originates from the Saka shrine.
Sakanishiki 佐香錦 is usually used for brewing the higher-grade sake, hence the amount of protein is less, the surface of grain is harder and the starch, which is necessary for brewing, is well gathered in the center of grain.
Therefore; this brand is great for highly polished Ginjo or Daiginjo and lots of brewers evaluate this brand can be the rival of Yamadanishiki.