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Sake Sommelier

In Harmony with Its Regional Features

Nanbu Bijin Brewery


The water percolating through the local mountains, home grown rice being developed for sake brewing, and a traditional, respected sake brewing technique: they all meet in Nanbu Bijin Brewery.  Brewing sake in an area called Nanbu in the northeastern part of Japan where it has been located for over 100 years, the brewery has taken advantage of these natural assets. This region is especially famous for its blessed nature that conveniently provides the optimal ingredients for sake, and it is also the home of Nanbu Touji, one of the three most prestigious brewing styles in Japan.

“When we produce our sake, we keep in mind the concept, ‘wajou ryoushu,’ meaning that good sake is brewed from harmony and that good sake produces harmony. We always think about how our sake is being enjoyed by customers and try to brew sake that is easy to appreciate,” comments Kosuke Kuji, the 5th generation president of Nanbu Bijin Brewery. Two Nanbu Bijin lines are currently available in the U.S.: Daiginjo, which has a clean and fruity flavor, and Tokubetsu Junmai, which retains its rice flavor well. Both of them are made from locally cultivated “Gin-otome” rice and represent the brewery’s taste. When asked about the best pairing Mr. Kuji says, “Daiginjo goes well with white meat fish sashimi like ‘hirame no kobu-jime (seaweed flavor infused fluke).’ It is the ‘umami’ from the seaweed that enhances this match. Tokubetsu Junmai is matched well with rich and fatty fish types of sushi. The rice flavor in the sake and the sushi rice are a heavenly combination.”

The quality and popularity of Nanbu Bijin sake are proved by the awards it has received both domestically and overseas, including at the 2009 World Wide Wine Championships held in Chicago. In addition, it has been selected as the sake served in Japan Airlines’ first class section, as well as one of the official liquors for FIFA South Africa World Cup 2010. Appreciated by top class sake connoisseurs, the sake from this small town in Nanbu is sure to amuse your taste buds.

Three things you should know about NANBU BIJIN BREWERY

1. Sugar Free Ume-Shu


Nanbu Bijin has just patented ume-shu (plum wine) with no sugar added. Unlike traditionally enjoyed ume-shu, whose main ingredients are white liquor, sugar and ume (plum), Nanbu Bijin’s ume-shu is made from their junmai type sake and locally grown ume. It is low in calories and has a clean flavor. Currently it is not available in the U.S. yet, but is on the way.

2. The Oldest Automated Sake Vending Machine


Nanbu Bijin carries a spring system, automated sake vending machine that is thought to have been used about 80-100 years ago. It is the oldest sake vending machine and has been registered as a Mirai Isan (Future Heritage), the activity promoted by the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.

3. Powered by Young Brewers


While many of the sake breweries in Japan are suffering from the aging of staff members, the average age of Nanbu Bijin’s staff is around mid-thirties. Under the supervision of Nanbu Touji brewmaster Junji Matsumori, the power of youth protects the sake’s solid flavors.


Nanbu Bijin Brewery

13 Kami-machi, Fukuoka,

Ninohe-shi, Iwate,

JAPAN 028-6101

TEL: 0195-23-3133

FAX: 0195-23-4713