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Did you know that sake is becoming popular overseas these days? Sake is a fermented alcoholic drink made from steamed rice, ricemalt and water. The primary ingredient of sake is rice. But as rice contains no sugar, it's mixed with ricemalt, whose enzymes turn the rice's starch into sugar, while yeast is responsible for fermenting the sugar into alcohol. Simultaneous sugar conversion and alcohol fermentation in the same vat is an advanced brewing technique not seen elsewhere in the world, and is the essence of creating high-alcohol sake.
Sake is manufactured all over Japan, but the ones made with local ingredients, and made in the image of local symbols, are called "jizake (local sake)," each offering unique regional characteristics. There are also several types of sake under the same brand like pure rice and daiginjo sake, made with different techniques and ingredient ratios, offering different flavors. The point is, there's going to be some local sake that you'd really enjoy in the Hakuba Valley.

Hakubanishiki & Daisekkei

Hakubanishiki is made from special rice and water. The rice is 100% sourced from contracted local rice farmers, and the water is spring water from the Iyari Marsh, Nagano's natural monument in the neighboring town of Omachi. It's made without any added glucide whatsoever, so the sake retains the original good flavor of rice. The brand also offers sake matured in snow, so give it a try.
Daisekkei is a sake popular with the locals. It's made with ground water from the Northern Alps that's pumped up from a well. The water that's coming to the surface now is snow that settled in the Alps 100 years ago. It was the brewers' passion to create a mountain sake with a clean, straight sake much like the snow water that spawned Daisekkei. The sake is the essence of special water from Hakuba's vast natural environment, rice grown by the locals, and the enthusiasm of passionate sake brewers.

Gaku & Takane no Hana

Gaku is a sake Daisekkei created exclusively for the Fujimori Shuten liquor store in Hakuba Village. It's made from 100% hitogokochi, a rice variety categorized as excellent for making good sake. Since it has a higher alcohol content of 20%, make sure not to overdo it!
This is Fujimori Shuten's original sake, created in the image of small flowers on high mountains. Takane no Hana has a pleasant, moderate aroma and best served chilled. Also, visiting several liquor stores will be fun, because the liquor stores in Hakuba, Otari and Omachi all offer different limited-edition sake.

Local Hakuba beer: Hakuba Beer

Finally, there are some craft beers that are enjoying local popularity. Hakuba resident and Englishman Daniel, of the Hakuba Brewing Company, has created four craft beers under the Hakuba Beer brand. Daniel's craft brews include: IPA, a revived early pale ale with a distinct hop flavor; mild-bodied Amber; non-bitter Pale with a lingering spicy taste; and Black, a dark beer with a lasting bitter chocolate flavor.
You can buy Hakuba Beer at liquor stores or enjoy it at restaurants and bars in the village. Pick up a set of all four, great for comparing different flavors or as souvenirs.
photo & text : Kensuke Itahara

Facility Information

Fujimori Shuten (liquor store)

Address
12867-289 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301
Notes
Tel:0261-72-2018
営業時間:8:00~19:00

Kajikura Shuten (liquor store)

Address
3010 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301

Matsuya Honten (liquor store)

Address
6334−1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301

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