里山 / Satoyama



純米吟醸 里山(火入)
呑み方:冷酒◎ 常温○ 燗酒△

1800ml / ¥2,600(税別)
720ml / ¥1,300(税別)

純米吟醸 里山 無ろ過生酒
呑み方:冷酒◎ 常温○ 燗酒△

1800ml / ¥2,800(税別)
720ml / ¥1,400(税別)

Saving Our Endangered Rice Terraces

Beautiful rice terraces are a common sight in the area around our brewery. These date back to olden times, when—with steep slopes where Lake Biwa meets the mountains—our forefathers had to cut open the land itself in order to farm rice.

These rice terraces are among the most idyllic and timeless scenes of the Japanese landscape. In spring, the surface of the water that fills the paddies reflects the blue sky and the verdure of the mountains. In summer, the young stalks sway in the wind. In the fall, the fully-grown stalks glisten in gold, and in the winter, the terraces turn white with the veil of snow.
Of the rice terraces around our brewery, the largest and most beautiful of all is the Hata rice terraces, recognized as one of the most impressive rice terraces in all Japan. Three hundred and fifty-nine rice paddies cover a total of 38 acres (15.4 ha) in all sort of geometric shapes and patterns. Spanning a hundred meters from top to bottom, the terraces form a bowl shape that it is said to have reached nearly to the top of the mountains in times of old, filling the eye with the grandeur of gold come harvest season. These days, sadly, these beautiful rice terraces find themselves struggling for survival. Farming is difficult, output is small, and damage from wild animals is a constant danger. Each year, more and more paddies are abandoned. As these rice terraces are an important part of the ecosystem, and also serve as natural dams, their loss presents numerous dangers for the environment.
Since 2002, we at Hagi-no-tsuyu, have been brewing a premium sake, Satoyama Junmai-ginjo, with Koshihikari rice harvested from the Hata rice terraces. Through our sake, we seek to protect this natural treasure from abandonment and extinction, and share its marvels with the modern world.




棚田での酒米作り/ Terrace-farming of Sake Rice: A Risky Proposition


Sake is typically brewed from special breeds of rice collectively known as sake rice. These rice breeds have less flavor and texture than other rice breeds when eaten, but are perfectly suited to brewing sake, where they produce an elegant and balanced flavor. Just as sake rice can be cooked and eaten, regular rice breeds such as the popular Koshihikari can be used to make sake, but it is common knowledge among brewers that such sake is often not particularly tasty. So why are we at Hagi-no-tsuyu committed to brewing our Satoyama sake with Koshihikari rice, as opposed to Yamadanishiki or one of the many other breeds of sake rice? As a matter of fact, we first explored the possibility of growing sake rice in the Hata rice terraces. Unfortunately, sake rice breeds typically mature nearly one month later than Koshihikari, the only breed grown at the terraces. Were we to plant sake rice in the fields, the mature stalks would remain after all the other rice had been harvested, making the fields a prime target for the wild monkeys, deer, and boar that make their home in the neighboring mountains. It soon became clear that safely harvesting this rice was a hopeless proposition, and that clinging stubbornly to the idea of growing sake rice would not contribute to our goal of saving the rice terraces. So it is that we resolved to brew sake with the Koshihikari rice produced at the Hata rice terraces.

棚田米での酒造り/ A New Dream: Brewing Sake with Terrace Rice



Sure enough, brewing sake from Koshihikari rice proved to be a considerable challenge. Of course, we were able to brew sake, but achieving a taste that could meet our standards was another story. We feel deeply apologetic toward the customers who drank our first few batches of Satoyama to support our environmental conservation efforts, in spite of its taste.
Fortunately, experience allowed us to improve the next year, and the next, and in the third year of brewing, we finally achieved a sake whose taste truly stood on its own merits. We have continued to explore ways to finetune our brewing process, to the point that today, other brewers often come to us to ask just how we are able to brew such a delicious sake using Koshihikari rice.
One year, a customer paid us the highest compliment when he told us “I feel truly blessed to have discovered the most miraculous sake, Satoyama.” It is such words from our customers that have supported us for the ten-plus years that we have been brewing Satoyama.
The Satoyama that we brew today is the fruit of over ten years of experimentation and effort here at Hagi-no-tsuyu, but more than that, it is the product of the Hata rice terraces—with their pristine waters that run down the mountains, the sharp temperature difference between night and day, and all the natural blessings that contribute to the remarkable Koshihikari rice produced here. We know that we could not make this delicious sake with Koshihikari grown just anywhere.

棚田保全の今後 / Looking to the Future


In the city of Takashima where our brewery is located, an Adopt-a-Terrace program allows people to experience having a rice terrace of very their own. Every year, people come in numbers vastly exceeding the population of the small village where the terraces lie to plant and harvest rice together with local famers. Among these programs, there is a special course for sake lovers. Members can experience drawing furrows, planting and harvesting rice, then visit our brewery in the winter and receive for themselves Satoyama sake brewed with the rice they planted and harvested. Our participants include families that come year after year in three generations, groups of friends united by a love of sake, and a husband and wife who travel in all the way from Nagoya. While we are proud that this program has contributed to a greater understanding of the issues facing the rice terraces, we know that the conservation effort is no small task. Population decline and the aging of Japanese society also threaten the livelihood of the terraces. We understand that our humble efforts are but one piece of the puzzle, but your support of Satoyama and our mission to preserve the marvel of man and nature that is the rice terraces is deeply appreciated.