Yamanashi Meijo Brewery
BREWERY | 山梨銘醸酒造
Yamanashi Meijo Brewery
In 1750, 1st generation Ibei Nakaya branched out from the Kitahara family in Shinshu Takato (slightly northwest of Hokuto) to start his own brewing company. He based himself in Hakushu, falling in love with the water quality there. Today, several major companies have set up whiskey and mineral water factories, making Hokuto the biggest mineral water producer in Japan. The name Shichiken comes from the title of a fanlight (a celebratory gift from a feudal lord for a building inauguration at the brewery), "Seven Sages in a Bamboo Grove." Shichiken means Seven Sages.
Immediately west of Tokyo, Yamanashi Prefecture is in central Honshu, the main island of Japan. The northern half of Mt. Fuji (known as the more scenic view—like Mariah Carey, we all have our "better side"), as well as the five lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji is in Yamanashi, making the prefecture the best place to view Mt. Fuji. The fertile lands of Yamanashi produce delicious fruits that Yamanashi is famous for. Hokuto city, where the brewery is located, is a popular destination for both casual and serious hikers alike, and its unique high-altitude spots offer escape from the summer heat of the Tokyo area.
Head Brewer - Toji
As his older brother was set to take over as head, Kitahara never envisioned working for the family business. He spent his high school years seriously pursuing soccer, and although he continued on to Tokyo Agriculture University for Fermentation Technology, he planned to work in a field involved in soccer upon graduating. In his second year, he got a call from his father that the family business was expanding, that there was no way the company could be run by a single person and he needed someone to separately head the sake brewing division.
In taking over, Kitahara noticed that while the company had a wide variety of sakes, it lacked focus in its character. He decided that the most important thing was to bring out and spotlight the best raw source they had as a company—the water. Since then, he has strived to create sake that embodies the pure, pristine qualities of the Hakushu waters; one can say he is succeeding mightily, seeing that he won the Sake Competition 2017 only three years into his tenure.
Awards & Accolades
2019 BTI World Sake Challenge Gold Medal
From this Brewery
Our goal is to create sake that embodies the Hakushu water. As a company, we believe that true local sake (jizake) must be made with local rice and water. We work closely with local farmers to cultivate high-quality sake rice in Yamanashi.
Water and Rice
Hokuto city is known for its pristine water source which attracts several major companies to set up whiskey and mineral water factories there, making Hokuto the largest mineral water-producer in Japan. In 2014, The Minami Alps, which includes Mount Kaikoma, our water source, was added to the UNESCO biosphere reserve list, certifying it as a mountain with world-class waters. Shichiken is the only sake brewery in Hokuto, and the only sake that is produced using Mount Kaikoma water.