Chokaisan (Tenju Shuzo)
Located in the town of Yashima on the foothills of the beautiful Mt. Chokai, Tenju Shuzo sits in the shadows of the Fuji of Akita. The mountain is not only a source of wonder and inspiration to the local people, but also of incredibly pure water which can be used in brewing. Perhaps this is why, despite a population of only 5,000, Yashima is host to several sakes breweries. Tenju Shuzo is among the oldest of these breweries having been founded in 1874, by Eikichi Ohi. Six generations later it is still run by the Ohi family with brothers Takeshi and Hitoshi now at the helm.
Despite a long tradition of premium sake at the brewery, president Takeshi does not shy away from innovation. In addition to making sure his brewery is equipped with the latest brewing technology, much of which has been developed in the brewery, he also helped discover a new strand of sake yeast derived from flowers. This unique ingredient provides the wonderfully perfumed bouquet for which their sake is known.
Not only does Mt. Chokai provide clean water for brewing but it also creates ideal climatic conditions for rice. No one is more familiar with this than Shunji Sato, who is toji at Tenju Shuzo during the winter, and head farmer of the team in the summer that grows the rice for the following brewing season. Having this intimate connection with all stages of sake making allows him to create sakes exactly as he wants them. His ultimate goal, he says, "is to brew a sake that gives the drinker the sensation of looking up at the gorgeous Mt. Chokai on a clear winters day."
It is the sincere hope of the brothers Ohi that when American consumers first taste Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo, they too will get a sense of the beauty of the mountain after which it is named.