Gazing at the winter sky, quietly awaiting spring.
Listen carefully to hear the breath of koji.
Brimming with mountain spring water.
Each drop is a gift from heaven, speaking to the heart of the brewers.
Our Thirty-Six Guardians sake from Shonai is the purest.
When the winter moon reaches its zenith, the brewers leave the yeast growing koji room and look up at the cold sky. The world is quiet, but at the brewery, the nightly feast of koji begins in the stacks of koji-buta, shallow wooden tray-like boxes for growing koji. The tray koji method is based on the technique cultivated by the master brewer to regulate precise temperatures to one-tenth of a degree Celsius. Rice koji is alive, and therefore free to ferment. The brewers do everything they can, but both the koji and yeast are transformed into sake, according to the mood of the heavens. The climate is not always stable. Sometimes it is in harmony with the heavens, and sometimes it is not. Among our crafted products, each sake batch is unique in itself.
Water flowing from Mt. Chokai and Mt. Gassan brings fertility to the plain. The life of Shonai turns from winter when everything is frozen over, to spring when life begins to sprout. All living things are turning around. Mt. Chokai is a mountain of life, and Mt. Gassan is a mountain of revival. Since ancient times, people have seen rebirth on the two mountains. This cool and clear sake is made from the ground water of the Akagawa River flowing from Mt. Gassan, known as Moon Mountain. Sip it, and the story of Shonai will instantly find you.
In the Middle Ages, while protecting a princess who had been chased out of the eastern provinces, the 36 vassals crossed the mountains and arrived at the Shonai Plain. There, they found peace, put down roots, and the town was born. Hundreds of years have passed since then, while the town has flourished as a lucrative region in the northern part of Japan. The brewers of the 36 Guardians sake are native to Shonai. Their straightforward temperament exudes patience and humbleness in a spiritual climate known to the region. Our sake possesses an undiscovered calm and boldness, inherited from the Middle Ages.
A fragrant Ginjo aroma soars to the heavens. Hiten is exquisite in its uniqueness, and the scent of alcohol is truly subtle, despite being a Daiginjo. An elegant, mellow flavor is worthy of being our greatest masterpiece of the 36 Guardians sake.
|Sake Rice||Yamadanishiki 100%|
Our white label represents the beauty of snowflakes falling in Shonai.
The smooth aroma and aftertaste are as clear as the sky reflected on the surface of the water. The aroma and umami, which only a fine-quality Yamadanishiki sake rice can produce, are brought out in this sake. Suiten is the pinnacle of a Junmai Daiginjo that delights everyone.
|Sake Rice||Yamadanishiki 100%|
Our sepia label represents sunset clouds glimmering off the water.
With each sip, the dry taste with a clean, crisp aroma pleases the palate. It has an intense and pure finish, reminiscent of the color of dawn. A masterpiece of No. 6 yeast and Miyamanishiki sake rice that retains umami and fruity aroma despite its spiciness.
|Sake Rice||Miyamanishiki 100%|
Our red label represents dawn shining from Mt. Gassan.
The smooth aroma and aftertaste are as clear as the sky reflected on the surface of the water. The 65% rice polishing ratio has been achieved to create a refreshing taste that never gets old. Made in Yamagata Prefecture, So-ten is a native sake with Yamagata yeast, water, rice and devoted hands from Shonai.
|Sake Rice||Dewanosato 100%|
|Serve||Chilled or Warm|
Our blue label represents an endless blue sky after snowfall.
Its mellow aroma is a blend of Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo from Yamadanishiki sake rice. Our exclusive reserve, Haku-u is like delicate drops of pure Shochu falling from the heavens.
|Raw Material||Daiginjo Sake Lees, Rice|
|Serve||on the rocks / with hot water|
Our other white label represents sudden evening showers hitting your cheeks.
The Obako-Ume plum, which heralds spring in the snow country, is an extremely rare variety from Shonai. The sweetness and acidity of the plum, refreshing yet deep, are well balanced in this clear sake.
|Raw Material||Plum, Sake, Brewer’s Alcohol, Sugar|
|Serve||Before meals : with soda
After meals : straight / on the rocks / with hot water
Our light pink label represents a spring breeze blowing through Shonai.
Our symbol, a combination of the Chinese numeral "36," which looks like the Chinese character for "heaven (天)," reveals the silhouettes of the Shonai plain and two symbolic mountains. The brewers entrust their prayers to the heavens for making a good sake.
The sand carried by the rapid stream of the Mogami River created dunes on the windswept coast of Shonai. Black pine trees, planted to protect the town from sandstorms, became the black forest. The brewery of the 36 Guardians stands quietly, deep in the black forest we call Kuromori.
The Shonai Plain is a well-known rice producing region in Japan. The golden color of our symbol reflects the shining harvest of our rice.
Brewing since 1897, Kikuisami still employs the traditional tray koji method practiced by the Shonai local master brewer and brewers. The brewery’s dedication to thoroughly handcrafting sake has earned it a reputation both in Japan and abroad. The sake is pressed after a harsh winter to produce a crystal-clear drinking experience.
Kikuisami is in a perfect location where it can capture the landscape of Mt. Chokai, Mt. Gassan and the Mogami River in a single field of view. No matter how blessed our brewers are with the climate or natural features, they will not settle for less. Heaven does not always respond to the wishes of man. We take our time, keep calm, follow best practices of brewing quality sake, and sometimes pray.
The Japan National New Sake Appraisal: Gold Award 17times
International Wine Challenge: Trophy 3times
The U.S. National Sake Appraisal: “Daiginjo A” Category Gold Award 8times, “Junmai” Category Gold Award 5times
650, Yoshibayama, Kuromori, Sakata, Yamagata, Japan