TERADA HONKE

CHIBA

Most of Chiba prefecture lies on the hilly Boso Peninsula, a rice farming region, the East coast of which is known as the Ninety-Nine League Plain, an especially productive area.  The Kuroshio Current [or Black Tide] flows around Chiba’s shores, which keeps it relatively warmer in winter and cooler in summer than neighbouring Tokyo.  

Terada Honke have their own 4,000 m2 rice field, where they cultivate pesticide and herbicide-free rice. They are also leading the way in the recovery of old indigenous species of rice of their area. Apart from their own rice fields, they also have 10 local farms growing rice for them; they are all practicing organic farming, but each has its own originality in their natural rice cultivation, such as rice duck farming [a method where ducks are freed in the rice fields, to let them eat the weeds and the bugs] and non-tilled cropping [where rice is cropped without ever ploughing the soil].

The Terada Honke brewery is in the town of Kozaki and was founded in 1673 [yes, they have been brewing Sake for over 335 years!].  They make naturally brewed sake using only organic rice, all the work is done manually with the only outside help being from the yeasts and various micro-organisms that are naturally inhabiting the air within the old walls of the brewery.  Their entire production is made according to the ancient Kimoto method [original yeast starter] which most sake brewers today have stopped practicing.  The only ingredients they use are rice, water and Koji [steamed rice inoculated with starch-breaking mould] so all of their production is Junmai.