A Selection of Five Unique Liquors from the Northern Hanshin Area in Hyogo Pref.
Many sake producers from the northern Hanshin area are famous nationwide, but this area is also home to many other local liquors as well. Here are five drinks selected for their unique character. They are all available online, so why not try one out today?
Ichijuku Wine (Fig Wine) “Kawanishi no Asagiri” (Morning Dew)
Kawanishi City is a major fig producing area in Japan. Figs here are made not only into sweets and dishes, but also into fig wine, a rarity in Japan.
The 10% alcohol content of this rosé wine is relatively mild, allowing easy enjoyment of the wine’s fruity sweetness and faint fig fragrance. The figs harvested every summer are brewed in the fall with the wine on sale in February.
Available online, at some liquor stores in Kawanishi City, JA Hyogo Rokko Kawanishi Eino Shien Center, and as a gift for tax contributions through Kawanishi City’s furusato nozei. The 2021 stock is sold out, but the next batch will arrive in February 2022.
Online shop (Only in Japan): http://www.e-maenaka.com/shopdetail/009001000001/
Sales location: Maenaka Liquor Store
Address: 12-2 Sakae-machi, Kawanishi City, Hyogo
Beer from the End of the Edo Era Reissued: Komin Bakushu (Komin Beer) 330ML Bottle
It is said that the world-famous Japanese beer of today began with Kawamoto Komin, a scholar of Dutch studies known today as the “founder of modern Japanese chemistry” and the first to ever successfully brew beer in Japan. Komin’s translation of a Western chemistry book, “Kagaku Shinsho,” describes in detail how to brew ale, a recipe he seems to have put to good use himself.
“Komin Bakushu” is reproduced by following the historical records of that time. A beer of great depth and flavor retaining the taste of sake yeast. Let each sip transport you to the turbulent end of the Edo era (around 1853-1868). Available online or through the furusato nozei tax system in Itami City or Sanda City.
Online shop (Only in Japan): https://choujugura.com/products/116
This is a distilled liquor with a nihonshu base made from rice, water, and plums from Sanda.
The faint aroma of plums give way to a light, refreshing taste. Great whether on the rocks, with a splash of soda, mixed with hot water or just straight. What’s your favorite way?
Available online or through the furusato nozei tax system in Sanda City.
Online shop (Only in Japan): https://www.eonet.ne.jp/~okamura-sake/umesanda.html
Sales location: Okamura Sake Brewery (coffee is also served at the counter in the store or in an elegant ancient room constructed from the wood of former thatched-roof houses.)
Address: 340 Kozuki, Sanda City, Hyogo
This sake is made in Itami City, the birthplace of sake. After becoming gomenshu (the official liquor of government ceremony) of the Edo shogunate, it was named as the liquor of the Imperial palace and the shogun. Smooth and refreshing, with a rich yet slightly dry taste, it is highly valued by sake fans.
Available in stores or online.
Online shop (Only in Japan): https://shop.oimatsu.biz/
Sales location: Itami Oimatsu Sake Brewery Shop
Address: 3-1-8 Chuo, Itami City, Hyogo
KONISHI Daiginjo Hiyashibori 720ML Bottled
This sake, also a product of Itami City, stands out for its fruity aroma and fresh flavor. Recipient of the Highest Gold Award in both 2019 and 2021, and the 2020 Gold Award in the “Best Sake for Wine Glass” category.
Available online or through the furusato nozei tax system in Itami City.
Online shop (Only in Japan): https://choujugura.com/products/110
Sales location: Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura Shop
Address: 3-4-15 Chuo, Itami City, Hyogo
*The information herein is as of September 2021.
This article was originally published on Tourism Guide of Hyogo Hokusetsu.
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