Location of the Morikawa Sake Brewery

morikawa-shuzoThe brewery is located in western Japan at the southern portion of the Hiroshima prefecture, in a small town surrounded in nature; being a part of the Seto inner sea national park. Our brewery is located at the eastern side of the Noro Mountain [839m]. The Norogawa River flows nearby, and its clean waters and the clear air are representative of the beautiful surrounding environment.
Along with Nada and Fushimi, Hiroshima is known as one of the 3 greatest producers of sake, and has been known from long ago as a land suited for making sake. The traditional method of making sake in Hiroshima is the “Soft water brewing method”, a brewing method that fully utilizes the characteristics of the water quality in Hiroshima (generally soft water), and the quality of the sake is recognized throughout Japan.

History of the Morikawa Brewery

Poster of the pastThe brewery was established in 1887. For 100 and some years, we have continued to preserve the traditional sake brewing technique of Hiroshima toji (brewers). Our efforts have won numerous awards, including the gold award in the “National Sake Competition” 5 years running from 1993.

Meaning of “Hakuko”

hakuko-logoThe definition of Hakuko, is “a large white bird”, and it sparks an image of a magnificent white bird with noble aspirations soaring up into the great sky. It signifies a bright future full of hope.

Characteristics of the “Hakuko”

The FountainThe foundation of our brewery is in the quality water. The quality of water used is one of the most important factors in making sake. Our water has been commented on by professor Sasaki of the Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University, also known as the “Professor of water”: “This is a vary rare soft water which matches the definition of “Good water” given by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The water quality is good for making not only tea, coffee, and cooking, but is also optimal for making soft water brewed sake.”.
The figures learned from analysis show that because of the very low mineral content, the yeast is easily starved of nutrients, and it is difficult to ferment into alcohol. It is said that the mineral content is the very minimum it can be to make alcohol with. Because of this, our brewery puts in a significant amount of effort in making a good koji (malted rice) to introduce the alcohol fermentation, and as a result, a flavorful sake is born.
To sum up the “Hakuko” in one phrase, it is “a sake that tastes soft and pleasant but is full of flavor”. It is a sake perfect for the dinner table.

Work at the Morikawa Brewery

The Norogawa RiverAlong the clear “Norogawa” river running next to the brewery, fireflies are seen in early summer. Fireflies are known only to grow where the water is pure, and because of this there are only a few places in modern Japan where you can see them. This also indicates that locations where there are fireflies, is where the water is purest. In order to protect the Norogawa River, we gather volunteers along with our own staff to cut reeds in the river in the wintertime. Cutting dead reeds every year helps to purify the water in the Norogawa.

“Firefly / Moon / Flute gathering”

Every year at our brewery, we hold an event on the evening of the first Saturday of June, where we gather to watch the fireflies of the Norogawa River and enjoy “Hakuko”. The participants all gather at our brewery wearing Yukata, and listen to the Biwa and Shino flute in a Japanese garden dimly lit in candlelight, while eating a light kaiseki dinner and drinking Hakuko.
After dinner, guests are invited to take candle lanterns and take a walk around the banks of the Norogawa River among the fireflies. This is a very popular event in which you get a full traditional Japanese cultural experience. Because the number of guests is limited to 50, the participants are determined by a random drawing.

Description of our products.

Hakuko junmai nansui jikomi (pure rice soft water prepared) (tokubetsu junmai – special pure rice wine)

tokubetsujunmai60greenRice used:
Malted rice: Hiroshima prefecture Hattan No. 35
Rice used for brewing: Hyogo prefecture Yamada Nishiki
Rice surface milling ratio: 60%
Alcohol content: 15-15.9%
Ingredients: Rice, malted rice
Serving temperature: cold, room temperature, lukewarm
A soothing Muscat grape like fragrance with fine acidity which rises in the throat, and a beautifully lasting aftertaste. The exceptional balance of sweetness and acidity will induce a second sip. This is a great sake.
[Comment by Kanzake Fukyuu Kyokai (warmed sake promotion association) chairman, Kimura Arata]

Hakuko junmai daiginjo 50 “Sara soujyu” (junmai daiginjo – pure polished rice wine)

junmaidaiginjo50sarasoujuRice surface milling ratio: 50%
Alcohol content: 16-16.9%
Ingredients: Rice, malted rice
Serving temperature: cold, lukewarm
Dry sake with the full flavor of the rice. A rich flavor spreads when first sipped. Clean finish when swallowed, with a clear aftertaste.

Hakuko “Kura”

kuraRice used: Hiroshima prefecture Nakate Shin Senbon (100%)
Rice surface milling ratio 70%
Alcohol content: 19.0-19.9%
Ingredients: Rice, malted rice, brewing alcohol, sugar
Serving temperature: cold
This is a base sake with no water added after the moromi (fermented sake broth) is squeezed, with over 19% alcohol content. This sweet, deep and rich flavor that only the brewer had access to before is now available. Can be served on the rocks.

Ginjo “Yoi”

ginjo-yoiRice used: Hiroshima prefecture Hattan No. 35 (100%)
Rice surface milling ratio: 60%
Alcohol content: 15.0-15.9%
Ingredients: Rice, malted rice, brewing alcohol
Serving temperature: cold
A flavor with volume that never becomes boring. A clear tasting, slightly dry sake. Good for the dinner table.