Nara prefecture is one of only eight prefectures out of the 47 prefectures in Japan that is landlocked and therefore not bordered in some way by ocean or sea. Nara is surrounded by the four prefectures of Osaka to the West, Kyōto to the North, Wakayama to the South and Mie to the East and over half of its land is covered by forest. Nara occupies an important position in history as it was the location of Japan’s first state. The ancient capital, Nara Heijo-kyo was established in 710 A.D. and is now a World Heritage site that recently celebrated the 1300th anniversary of its founding. In the same way, Nara Prefecture can also be considered the historical heartland of sake where centuries ago “Nara-zake” was a term to signify sake of exceptional quality.
Miyoshino Jozo was established in 1912. It is located in the heart of the Kii Peninsula under the impressive Mount Yoshino which is famous throughout Japan not only for it’s famous Buddist temple but also for the thousands of Sakura [Cherry Blossom] trees that cover it’s slopes. An amazing sight during blooming season. The water for the brewery is sourced from a well named ‘Yuzuruha no Ido’ which is thought to be mentioned in one of the most ancient Japanese manuscripts, Manyoshu.
The current Toji [Master Brewer] at Miyoshino Jozo is Teruaki Hashimoto, who returned to the Kura after studying Sake Brewing at Tokyo Nodai, Japan’s foremost academic institution of brewing studies. He started working in 2006 and became Toji in 2009. Hashimoto-san focuses on yeast which he believes is the best representation of the local environment and the acids emitted by the yeast make the resultant Sake very unique. He uses only naturally occurring yeast in the ‘Yamahai’ and ‘Bodaimoto’ versions of their Sake and thus does not want to ‘dilute’ the character or uniqueness of these Sake by adding cultivated yeast.