3 Famous Top-Quality Sake Brands that Niigata Boasts

When it comes to “Sake (酒)”, the rice wine that has been spotlighted in recent years is admittedly “Dassai (獺祭)”, which became a big hit in Japan several years ago.

The Sake Dassai is brewed by a Sake brewery located in Yamaguchi Prefecture “Asahi Shuzo (旭酒造)“, and was presented to the former president of the United States, Obama, when he visited Japan.

Because of this, it is no exaggeration to say that Dassai is the most popular Sake brand in Japan as of today, while when it comes to producing areas of Sake rice wine, the prefecture where I live, Niigata is famous.

Niigata is well-known for its delicious rice in Japan, so the prefecture also has several high-quality Sake brands that are famous nationwide.

Especially, the following 3 Sake brands are widely known to Sake lovers thanks to their deliciousness.

Kubota (久保田)

Kubota Manju (久保田 萬寿), Junmai Daiginjo (純米大吟醸)

Kubota is the top-quality Sake brand of “Asahi Shuzo (朝日酒造)”, a Sake brewery located in the city of Nagaoka, Niigata.

From the fact that the Sake rice wine is exquisitely delicious, it is said that Kubota has changed the image of Sake. In fact, there are few Sake fans but know the Niigata’s Sake brand.

There are 5 kinds of regular Sake in the Kubota series, that is, “Manju (萬寿)”, “Hekiju (碧寿)”, “Kouju (紅寿)”, “Senju (千寿)”, and “Hyakuju (百寿)”.

Among them, Kubota Manju is the best-quality Sake. Kubota Manju is a type of Sake called “Junmai Daiginjoshu (純米大吟醸酒)”, which is made from only 3 raw materials, 50 percent or less polished rice, malted rice, and water.

The Sake rice wine is characterized by its well-balanced umami and mild taste.

Koshi no Kanbai (越乃寒梅)

Koshi no Kanbai Kinmuku (越乃寒梅 金無垢), Junmai Daiginjo (純米大吟醸)

Koshi no Kanbai is one of the most famous Sake brands in Japan, which is brewed by “Ishimoto Shuzo (石本酒造)” located in the city of Niigata.

The Niigata’s Sake brand, Koshi no Kanbai has been highly regarded in Japan for decades. Actually, it was known as a phantom Sake before.

Although even now Koshi no Kanbai doesn’t have a lot of marketplace circulation, the Sake is so popular that the products in the series are sometimes traded at a premium price on internet auctions and online shopping sites.

As with Kubota, Koshi no Kanbai comes in several varieties. Among those, Koshi no Kanbai Kinmuku is the high-grade Junmai Daiginjoshu.

The Sake rice wine is characterized by its sophisticated taste as well as having a delicate fragrance called “Ginjoko (吟醸香)” specific to a type of Sake “Ginjoshu (吟醸酒)”, including Daiginjoshu.

Hakkaisan (八海山)

Hakkaisan (八海山), Junmai Ginjo (純米吟醸)

Hakkaisan is a popular Sake brand from Hakkaisan Brewery located in the city of Minami-Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture.

The Sake Hakkaisan is likened to a brother of Koshi no Kanbai, because the brewery has high brewing technics. In fact, as with Koshi no Kanbai, Hakkaisan is a nationally famous Sake brand.

The above product, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo is a type of Sake called “Junmai Ginjoshu (純米吟醸酒)”, which is made with 50 to 60 percent polished rice, malted rice, and water.

Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo is characterized by its mild feeling of the Sake going down the throat and umami of rice.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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