Osaka is the second smallest prefecture in Japan, with an area of only 1,892 km2. It’s neighbours are the prefectures of Hyogo and Kyoto in the North, Nara in the East and Wakayama in the South. Surrounded by mountains to the North, East and South, Osaka Prefecture faces Osaka Bay to the West and is blessed with weather that is generally mild, but that also has four distinct seasons. The Yodo and Yamato Rivers flow through the prefecture and expansive alluvial plains extend around the Yodo River estuary running into Osaka Bay. Osaka is part of the Kansai region of Japan’s main island Honshu which covers a broad area including the neighbouring cities of Kobe, Kyoto and Nara. Sake brewing in Osaka began in the Middle ages.
Akishika Shuzo was founded in Osaka prefecture in 1886 and under Hiroaki Oku, the present 6th generation Kuramoto [Brewery Owner], this tiny brewery is creating some of Japan’s most exceptional and unique sake. Oku-san is both Kuramoto and also Toji [Master Brewer] at Akishika and his belief and skill in creating quality sake shows in every bottle. Akishika Shuzo is one of only a handful of sake breweries that follow the ‘Château concept’ as we see in wine production with Oku-san contracting 20 local farmers to grow rice for his sake in addition to the rice he grows himself. Two of these rice are the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of sake rice - Yamada Nishiki and Omachi. Although Oku-san has grown all of his rice organically for many years, from 2011 he has obtained certification for organic rice cultivation.
Oku-san only brews Junmai [pure rice] sake and as he doesn’t believe in carbon filtering his sake they are also all Muroka. All of the sake Oku-san creates are made with great structure, acidity and body and so are well suited to ageing. Akishika Shuzo have 2 years worth of production ageing at any one time, a massive investment particularly for such a small brewery. Oku-san only releases his sake when he believes they are ready. Sake from Akishika Shuzo have a cult status in their local area and around Japan, so when Oku-san does release sake they sell out exceptionally quickly. We feel extremely privileged to enjoy them in Australia.