Regional distinction

Sake, like wine, is a product of the earth. Brewed from only rice, sake
will reflect in its final form the land and climate from which it came.
And, as sake is 80 percent water, the quality and chemistry of the local
water will greatly affect the style of sake that results. That's why the
sake from different regions of Japan will have overall different flavor
characteristics. There are other factors as well ? most notably local
cuisine ? that have affected the flavor profiles of sake over the

Here are some of the major sake-producing regions from around Japan, and
their typical flavor profiles.

The Nada Ward of Kobe City: Dry, masculine sake, mellow and less fragrant
than most places. Excellent water and a great port location has made this
the number one brewing location in the country.

The Fushimi Ward of Kyoto: Second largest producing region. Soft,
feminine, mildly sweet sake. Kyoto rose to brewing greatness in the 19th
century with its elegant, refined style.

Niigata Prefecture: Third largest producing region. Famous for "tanrei
?karakuchi" sake, or "light and dry" sake. Clean and crisp, many
connoisseurs prize sake like this.

Akita Prefecture: Fourth largest producing region. Mostly dry sake with a
tight and often crisp flavor profile, although lately there is a lot more
variety out of Akita.

Hiroshima Prefecture: Long a stalwart of excellent sake, mostly soft and
sweet but elegantly brewed.

Fukushima Prefecture: Overall soft and gentle sake, but with a wide range
of variety.

Other important brewing prefectures with distinguishable characteristics
include Shizuoka, Miyagi, Yamagata and Kochi. Many of these unique styles
are becoming homogenized and evolving into newer, more funky styles of
sake. But prefectural pride and local cuisine are helping to preserve
traditional flavor profiles too.


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