Hannō City, located in the northwestern region of Saitama Prefecture, with highly convenient transport from the Tokyo Metropolitan area, is a city overflowing with natural beauty making it a popular tourist attraction.
Hannō City is also home to a wide range of individualistic and appealing stores! In this article, we will introduce you to one of these stores, Igarashi Brewery, which has been brewing Japanese sake in Hannō City for years!
Igarashi Brewery was built at the convergence point between the Naguri River and the Nariki River, which flow through the city. Founder Kyūzō established the Igarashi Brewery here after falling in love with the clean air of the city and the underground river water that flows all the way from the Okuchichibu mountains.
At Igarashi Brewery, not only can you directly purchase the famous sake Tenranzan, but you can also take a tour of the brewery!!
We started our visit by perusing the large variety of delicious Japanese sake, such as Tenranzan, available for purchase at the brewery store.
The Igarashi Brewery shop sells a wide range of Japanese sake made on site by the company. There are also a number of special limited-edition products only available in certain seasons!
Next, we headed to the brewery cellars located just nearby.
Upon entering the cellars, we were met by the delicious scent of Japanese sake wafting in the air.
Visitors can also enjoy a detailed explanation of the sake-making process when touring the brewery.
Here’s a brief explanation of the sake-making process:
①Rice polishing ⇒ ②Rice washing ⇒ ③Rice steaming ⇒ ④Kōji (malt) making ⇒⑤Yeast making ⇒ ⑥Preparing ingredients ⇒ ⑦Pressing and separation ⇒⑧Filtration/pasteurization ⇒ ⑨Preservation ⇒ ⑩Packaging
Here’s a broader explanation of the process and terms above:
①Polishing the rice「seimai」
②Washing the rice「senmai」
③Steaming the rice「mushimai」
④Making kōji, the base ingredient for making Japanese sake, from the steamed rice「kōji zukuri」
⑤Making the yeast, another base ingredient which will turn the rice into alcohol「shubo zukuri」
⑥Mixing the yeast, kōji, and water before fermentation「shikomi」
⑦Pressing and separating the Japanese sake and the lees (dregs) approximately 1 month after fermentation「jōsō」
⑧Removing the yeast「roka」from the Japanese sake before pasteurization 「hiire」
⑨Maturing the processed Japanese sake「chozō」
⑩Lastly, packaging the sake into bottles then sending if off for shipping!!
The process is a lengthy one with many steps, however, it has remained unchanged throughout time!
You can hear all about the meticulous individual steps in the sake-making process right here at Igarashi Brewery. Why not visit and listen to the detailed explanation from the professionals themselves?♪
If you time your visit right, you may even be able to try out the freshly made Japanese sake!!
【It’s super tasty!! (^o^)】
Our visit happened to be just 1 day before the latest batch of sake went on sale, which meant we got to see a special part of the brewers’ work!
We had the good fortune to arrive on a day where the brewers were making sugidama, which are hung under the eaves of breweries selling their sake!
I learned that the staff at Igarashi Brewery make their own sugidama!
※Sugidama are made imbued with the hope that the brewery will produce delicious Japanese sake. They are hung under the eaves of breweries each year when a new batch of sake has been made. While initially the sugidama are a lively green color, they gradually change to brown.
Once you’ve finished the tour of the brewery and learned all about the sake-making process, don’t forget to visit the store again to buy the sake you liked the most!
You can even sample the different sake sold at the store😋
(※Currently, taste testing is unavailable due to COVID-19 infection-spread prevention measures.)
Sake goes great with nabe (hotpot) meals during these cold winter months
|Address||667-1 Kawadera, Hannō City, Saitama Prefecture 357-0044|
|Telephone||042-973-7703 (Direct sales line) 042-974-7788|
|Hours||9:00 a.m.～5:00 p.m.|
|Closed||January 1～３（Only during the new year period）|
|Access||5 minutes by car from Hannō Station, then 20 minutes’ walk|