Tokushima Prefecture is located in the eastern part of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s 4 main islands. Shikoku [四国, literally ‘four provinces’] is southwest of Japan's main island Honshū and is divided into four prefectures - Tokushima, Kōchi, Kagawa and Ehime. A large mountain range runs through the island from east to west dividing it into a narrow northern area on the Seto Inland Sea side and larger southern area on the Pacific Ocean side of the island. Tokushima Prefecture’s total land area is comprised of approximately 80% mountainous area with mountains topping 1,000 meters on three sides.
Situated in the town of Naka at the foot of mountainous national parklands in south-eastern Tokushima, Naka Shuzō has been brewing sake since 1725. The brewery has been in the same family for 11 generations with Akihiro Matsuura now continuing the family’s sake brewing tradition with his wife and daughter. Matsuura-san has been brewing sake for over 40 years, previously working alongside the Tōji [Master Brewer] their family employed, until 1985 when he became the Tōji himself. Matsuura-san does virtually every part of the sake brewing process by himself and has ingeniously built himself devices throughout the kura to make this physically possible. Matsuura-san grows rice organically in a small field near the kura [brewery] which supplies enough rice for roughly quarter of his sake brewing needs each year, with other local rice growers supplying the majority of the remaining. From the rice growing, to each facet of the brewing, Matsuura-san is skilfully creating his sake to be rich in flavour and character. Naka Shuzō is one of smallest sake producers in Japan, brewing only 3-4 small tanks of sake per season. The Asahi Wakamatsu range made by Naka Shuzō are some of the most sought after sake because of its quality and rarity.