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.
Uehara Shuzō was founded in 1862 and is located in Takashima on the North-western side of Lake Biwa. Shiga is known for its pure water and the streets of Takashima are lined with fresh water canals and this natural spring water flows into the brewery for their Sake brewing. The brewery produces about 80% of its Sake with local Shiga rice and other rice is only brought from other prefectures when it is not grown locally.
These 7th generation family brewers have gone back to producing more of their Sake each year without any additional cultivated yeasts and always use traditional brewing methods where possible. They have also revived the tradition of using wooden casks for fermenting some of their Sake as they believe it provides better insulation for cold and heat rather than metal that is more likely to react to ambient temperature. The brewery also still uses a beautiful all wood press which takes 3 days to gently press the Sake rather than the 12 hours it would take if they used a modern horizontal press.