島根は松江の名酒「李白」を訪ねて@李白酒造 / Visiting the famous “Rihaku” in Matsue of Shimane


Hello there! This is Kuranuki, who’s in charge of the sake brewery owner for our “SakeLover” app!


Since I was on a business trip to Shimane Prefecture’s Matsue city, I took the chance to sneak out between work intervals to visit the Rihaku brewery, makers of the “Rihaku.” On my previous visit to Matsue, I bought some Rihaku back as souvenirs, and have been so addicted to that wonderful taste ever since that it led to my visit to the brewery this time.


The brewery was a five minutes cab ride from Matsue train station.  When I told the cab driver I was visiting Rihaku brewery, he made a comment that I must really like Japanese sake! And my reply? “Yes, I do!”




Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to tour the brewery itself, but I was allowed to sample the sake!



My first drink was a sparkling Rihaku. It has no sweetness and tasted refreshing. According to the lady at the brewery, people seem to be taking it as a cider substitute during summertime. Apparently, it has a subtle pink color because it was brewed from black rice.


Of course, it goes without saying that I tasted the Junmai Daiginjo Rihaku. And it goes without saying that it was wonderful. I wished I had a side dish to go along!


As it was autumn, the new sake hadn’t been brewed yet, so I took some hiyaoroshi* instead. It was good, too. (*Hiyaoroshi: Sake pasteurized once just after brewing but released in the fall without the usual second pasteurization.)



A quick look at the surroundings is all you need to see that sake isn’t the only thing that will catch a Sake Lover’s eye here. Interesting artifacts like photos of the brewers of old and polished rice adorn the walls. When a grain of rice is polished to 35%, it becomes really round! Utterly luxurious! And that’s also why the sake is so delicious.


As I sampled a few things here and there, I explained our “SakeLover” app to the people from the brewery, garnering some positive feedback as I did. The brewery’s young president (the fifth successor) expressed interest as well, and we even exchanged name cards! Job well done, if I do say so myself.


“Please go ahead and sample everything,” the young president offered, and I took him up on his gracious invitation.


Everything tasted so good… The sake that was brewed from malted peony (the Prefecture Flower of Shimane) was the anomaly amongst the lot, leaving a faint flowery fragrance in your mouth after a sip…


And, believe it or not, I even got to taste the “Honmirin.”


It was my first time drinking mirin**, with its strong fragrance and taste, allowing that exquisite sweetness to spread in my mouth. Making it like kahlua milk mixed with soymilk was a tasty decision too. Though sweet and gentle, its alcohol content is surprisingly substantial.
(**Mirin: Sweet cooking sake.)

李白は海外でも”Wandering poet”というキャッチフレーズを付けることで沢山のファンがいるそうです。なんだか洒落てますね。

Rihaku has a strong fanbase worldwide, to the extent that some have given it a swank-sounding “Wandering Poet” subtitle!



Visiting Rihaku brewery and speaking to the people there have made me even more fond of Rihaku than before. It goes without saying that I bought some back as souvenirs!

I hope I can visit again!


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