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We have spent over 150 years refining and improving our sake making process this page explains how its done.
The sake making process begins in winter, when Echigo Yuzawa lives up to its name as ‘Snow Country’   fuyu no kura

seimai   After taking delivery of our specially-selected rice, we mill the rice grains to remove the husk, leaving the soft white grain. This process is known as seimai. The rice is then stored for a specific amount of time in order to ensure an exact level of humidity. The Kura-bito carefully wash and drain the rice batch, which is then soaked in cool water for a period of 5 to 60 minutes, depending on the rice variety. Finally, the rice is left overnight to soak, so that this pure water can be absorbed by the rice grain core.

This is the process of steaming the rice with Koshiki and steamed at a very high temperature. The rice is turned in the basket by hand. This is a difficult job for the kura-bito due to the heat of the steam that is generated.    koshiki

komekoji   In this extremely delicate process, the Toji carefully controls the heat of the rice, and the amount of water to be kept in the mixture, and then adds a specially developed mold named kome-koji. This kome-koji aids the creation of sugars for fermentation. This all takes place in a specially designated room called the Seigiku-shitsu. This is a defining point in the process for the development of sake with the Shirataki taste and style.

The rice is then left to sit for a while to propagate: eventually a white coloured covering can be seen. At this point the rice is spread out. When in the opinion of the Toji this propagation has been sufficiently completed, the rice is cooled in order to halt the process.    toji

shubo   Here, the rice is put into a tank and shubo is made. Live yeast is added, which creates bubbling carbon dioxide during fermentation, as shown in this photograph.