1 Overview

Kansai Sake Appreciation and Evaluation Meeting 2015 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama prefecture) is held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Annual quality examinations of sake manufactured within the Kansai region in the fall, and notification of evaluation results to entrants.
  2. (2) Advancement, progression, and quality improvement of manufacturing technology for sake through the disclosure of sake entries to parties involved in its manufacture.
  3. (3) Contribution to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region constitutes major consumer markets, including Osaka city, Kobe city and Kyoto city, what is more, both Nada (Sea side of Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (Southern area of Kyoto City), Japan’s largest sake production zones. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for the manufacture of sake, and is thus known for the production of high-quality sakes.

The Kansai region is from the Sea of Japan side, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean side, with its milder climate. There are a large number of breweries that produce a wide variety of rich, mellow, and crisp sakes.

2 Sake Entries

(1) Ginjo-shu

Ginjo-shu (“Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake [National Tax Agency Notice No. 8, 1989]”) produced during the 2014 brewing year (July 2014 to June 2015).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made from rice with a rice-polishing ratio of 60% or greater, with no limitation on brewing year.

(3) Local Brands

Products meeting quality standards for individual regional brands.
(These producers are working as a group to commercialize and spread their sake products based on unified manufacturing methods and screening criteria)

3 Quality Examinations

(1) Examination dates

October 8 (Thursday), 9 (Friday), and 14 (Wednesday), 2015

(2) Examination site

Alcoholic Beverage Inspection Office, Fourth Floor, Osaka National Government Building No. 3

(3) Examination methods

Conducted with a total of 50 jury members (individuals under the age of 65 at the time of quality examinations with broad knowledge and specialized quality examination capacity concerning alcoholic beverages, such as staff members from prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers (persons in charge of sake manufacturing).

Ginjo-shu and local brands were evaluated at room temperature. Warmed sake was gently heated in hot water (501 to 521C) and evaluated at about 451C.

(4) Evaluation standards

Overall quality was evaluated for the following qualities of sake deemed to be “good.”

Ginjo-shu : Harmony of aroma and flavor distinct to ginjo-shu present in a matured, mellow taste.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aromas and flavor enticing desire that cannot be sated.

Local brands were evaluated according to the evaluation criteria and standards desired by each regional brand.

4 Status of Entries

(Unit:entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Local Brands Total
Shiga 8 8 0 16 8
Kyoto 20 13 9 42 21
Osaka 5 5 0 10 5
Hyogo 29 31 14 74 38
Nara 9 8 22 39 20
Wakayama 5 5 0 10 6
Total 76 70 45 191 98
(Local brands)
Prefecture Brand name Entries Overview
Kyoto KYOTO BRAND 6 Sake produced from Kyoto rice grown with environmental and safety/security consciousness, and carefully selected to meet rigid quality standards.
KYOTO GINMI HYAKUSEN 3 Sake produced in harmony with Kyoto’s native traditions, techniques, and wisdom
Hyogo NADANO KIIPPON (NADASYUKENKYUKAI) 9 Using traditional production techniques, these sake varieties have been brought together as “Nadano Kiippon” (purest Nada sake) to celebrate Nada’s heritage as a sake-producing district beyond individual corporate frameworks.
This designation is restricted to sakes of exemplary quality that have been certified through careful consultation and examination.
NIWASAKE 5 A shared brand for sakes produced using koji mold and yeast collected in Niwata Jinja, an ancient shrine mentioned in the Harima Fudoki, a chronicle from the eighth century.
Nara NARAURUHASHI 6 Junmai-shu (pure rice sake) made from Nara rice and produced using yeast obtained from the precincts of Bodaisen Shōryaku-ji Temple; once known as sobo-shu, or “monks’ sake”
YAMANOKAMI 7 Sake produced using yeast harvested from bamboo lilies (Jp. sasayuri), sacred flowers that grow within the precincts of Ōmiwa Jinja, a shrine associated with the Japanese god of wine
RESEARCH SOCIETY OF BODAIMOTO 9 Sake brewed according to the Bodaimoto yeast starter method, once unique to Shōryaku-ji Temple. Since the method’s revival in 1999, this sake is now produced by nine breweries in Nara Prefecture

5 Trends in Quality of Sake of Entries

After lower than average temperatures for August and September throughout Japan, the 2014 brewing year witnessed a trend in which late-harvest rice varieties used in sake production dissolved more easily than in normal years. Moreover, the peak brewing season from December to February saw considerable temperature fluctuations, posing a challenge for sake production. However, through the sake brewers’ undaunted application of outstanding brewing skills and appropriate storage techniques during the summer season, the sakes being showcased this year have exhibited an excellent balance of flavors and are of superior quality.


Many ginjo-shu had a flowery ginjo scent, reminiscent of fruit, with a mellow finish that was easy on the palate after aging over the summer months.

(2) Warmed sake

Appropriately aged and characterized by a gentle aroma and umami that allows for repeated and pleasurable consumption.

(3) Local brands


A large variety of sakes with bouquets ranging from the refined to the bold. Many of these sakes also had a full and smooth flavor.


A gentle bouquet with a smooth, but slightly acidic, finish.


From the heady bouquet of the ginjo-type sakes to the mature aromas and dense flavors of the aged varieties, these sakes perfectly embodied the concepts of their respective manufacturers.


Evocative of traditional brewing methods, these impressive sakes demonstrated unique and complex bouquets with dense and strongly acidic flavor profiles.


Many of these sakes expressed gentle bouquets with an excellent balance of acidity and sweetness.


A complex bouquet with a unique finish characterized by umami with notes of acid.


Overall, umami with a variety of finishes from sweet to dry, and from light to dense.

6 List of Entrants