BREWERY | 八重垣酒造
Yaegaki started out as a timber company founded in Banshu-Hayashida (modern day Himeji area) of Hyogo Prefecture in 1666. The “Yaegaki” brand, established in 1881, was named after a poem written by Susanoo-no-Mikoto, an ancient mythical character thought to have pioneered the Himeji area. In the poem, Susanoo protects his home and his newly-wed wife with many-layered clouds, figuratively expressed as eightfold fences, or yaegaki. Yaegaki uses the name as a symbol of celebration and joy that sake can bring to people's lives. Among the generations who headed the company, there were innovators that changed the history of sake brewing—13th generation Kanzo invented fermentation and koji machines that brought about the modernization of the sake world in the early 1900s. He also extracted a natural red food dye from the koji they use in their sake, which became a huge hit after red dye was discovered to cause cancer. Today, Yaegaki has their hand in sake brewing, brewing machinery, and bioengineering. With history and tradition firmly intact, Yaegaki opens new doors to innovation in the dynamic world of sake.
Located in the Kansai region, is home to the famous Himeji Castle (the best-preserved castles in all of Japan), Kobe Beef, and various hot spring resorts. One of the largest Buddha Statues is located in this prefecture. The best time to visit Hyogo Prefecture is in the spring time to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms and cool weather.
Head Brewer - Toji
Sato was born in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture and attended Tokyo University of Agriculture (the university that specializes in nature activities) – where he spent a lot of time exploring the mountains. Sato then joined Yaegaki in 1989 as a researcher and became Toji in 2018. He has certification for Tajima Toji and First Class Sake Brewing Technician.
Awards & Accolades
2016 IWSC Quality Award (Mu Junmai Daiginjo)
From this Brewery
The king of sake rice, Yamada-nishiki, the notable Senju water, and the brewer's skill and pride in kanjikomi*. These are the three pillars that create the richness of Yaegaki sake. *An old, traditional brewing method where the cold winter temperatures, instead of modern ventialtion systems, are utilized to activate yeast.
Water and Rice
With its long ear (the grain-bearing tip of the plant) and larger grains, growing the King of Sake Rice, Yamada-nishiki, is especially time-staking as they are more vulnerable to the elements. They also require a large day to night temperature difference in order to grow its starchy core, shinpaku, to its fullest size. The northern side of the Rokko mountain range, located in Hyogo Prefecture, meet all the specifications and is the ideal place to grow Yamada-nishiki. We work with the local farmers that grow this rice, and aim each year to be better than the last. Founded in 1666, Yaegaki has continued to brew sake in this area for 350 years thanks to the water quality that is like no other in the land. The water, which the Toji checks carefully every night, is soft water that flows from the famous spring of “Senju no Mizu,” and allows Yaegaki to make the most delicate, pure, and gentle sake. Yaegaki sake has long been—and will continue to be—sustained by the bounty of the mountains, the forests, and the land.