Shiga prefecture is in the centre of the Japanese Archipelago and is known as ‘Lake Country’ due to one-sixth of it’s total area being Japan’s largest lake, the beautiful Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is 670 km2, which means that it is bigger than the famous Awaji Island [which is about the same size of Singapore, and has a population of over 150,000 people]. Lake Biwa is surrounded by very fertile plains and beautiful mountain ranges and two of it’s most well known neighbours are the prefectures of Kyōto and Nara.
Ōta Shuzō was created by the ancestors of the 15th century Samurai warrior-poet and military tactician Sukenaga Ōta (1432-1486). When Sukenaga Ōta also became a Buddhist monk he adopted the Buddhist name Dōkan, by which he is commonly referred to as today. The current Ōta family can trace their ancestry all the way back to this warrior who was also the architect and orchestrator behind the building of Edo Castle in 1457 [today’s Imperial Palace] in what is now known as Tokyo.
Ordered by Iemitsu Tokugawa [1604-1651] the third Tokugawa Shogunate [reigning feudal power during the Edo period] to protect the Tokaido High Road, the Ōta family moved to Kusatsu in Ōmi province [now Shiga] where the family eventually began brewing Sake. The Ōta family has continued to produce Sake which receives nationwide acclaim in Japan, naming the product "Dōkan" after their famous ancestor.