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Sake of the week #025: Shichihonyari Junmai Daiginjo Wataribune Kibune Jikagumi

Shichinonyari Junmai Daiginjo Wataribune

Shichihonyari Junmai Daiginjo

“I thought I was done with nama and I had moved on, you know, but with this one…” Right after the kanpai at our last benkyokai with Takase-sensei, Matsumoto-san mused on the continued attractions of a good nama, with a big radiant smile. After that first sip of cloudy Shichihonyari Junmai Daiginjo Wataribune Kibune Jikagumi, everyone took brief silence to ponder, then the chatter emerged, followed by big round of applause from all around the roomful of two dozen devoted nihonshu fans.

The very special nihonshu from Tomita Shuzo in Shiga was bottled directly out of the traditional, time consuming, wooden fune pressing vessel. It did not go through any filtration or pasteurization. Thus, it captured the taste you can usually only enjoy at the brewery during the brewing season.

“This one is so well balanced and umai!!!” Matsumoto-san enthusiastically continued as he poured a second time. Indeed, the soft and young brew had a very creamy first feel, refined sweetness balanced with acidity, then finished with a very slight touch of nigami. It left the dryness to prepare the palate for the next sip. Unlike a lot of nama genshu, it was quite versatile with food as well. It went well with both sashimi and grilled anago with sweet thick soy tare.

Back in April, we visited Shichihonyari in Shiga and saw the extremely narrow, slightly sloped brewery built at the end of the 19th century. At that time, Tomita-san explained their very complicated brewing process in such an old kura with a very limited space. I was very touched to see that he is sticking to passing on the family tradition from a few centuries back rather than moving production to a more convenient larger space. Throughout the brewery and his sake, you see and feel the same philosophy to treasure tradition.

There are so many stories behind Shichihonyari, I cannot cover them all in one blog post. I will revisit them, but please check out other sources to find out more about some of the less obvious treasures of sake.

Additional Resources

My favorite section of John Gauntner’s Sake’s Hidden Stories (Page 135) gives you full story behind the brewery with over 470 years of history.

Also, Urbansake article and the short Youtube video taken at the kura will give you more insight into the long tradition at Shichihonyari.

Video: Shichihonyari-Tomita Shuzo

Tomita Shuzo Web Site in Japanese: http://www.7yari.co.jp/

Shichihonyari brewing tank signed by sensei

Brewing Tank signed by Sensei

Shichihonyari brewing tank

Shichihonyari Brewing Tank



  1. […] wasn’t long ago that Et-chan waxed rhapsodic about Shichihonyari, but I couldn’t resist coming back to them this week. The fact that we had two bottles in the […]

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