1. Overview

Kansai Sake Appreciation and Evaluation Meeting 2016 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama Prefectures) 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 the major consumer market and includes Osaka City, Kobe City and Kyoto City. Moreover, both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are 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 extends from the Sea of Japan, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean, 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 2015 brewing year (July 2015 to June 2016).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using 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 4 (Tuesday), 5 (Wednesday) and 7 (Friday), 2016

(2) Examination site

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

(3) Examination methods

Conducted with a total of 47 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).

Ginjo-shu and local brands were evaluated at room temperature. Warmed sake was gently heated in hot water (50celsiusC to 52celsiusC) and evaluated at about 45celsiusC.

(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 sake brands were evaluated according to the evaluation criteria and standards desired by each local brand.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Local brands Total
Shiga 10 9 0 19 10
Kyoto 19 12 8 39 21
Osaka 7 5 0 12 7
Hyogo 29 29 12 70 36
Nara 9 8 26 43 23
Wakayama 6 5 0 11 6
Total 80 68 46 194 103
(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 2  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 3  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 7 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 10  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 Shoryaku-ji Temple. Since the method's revival in 1999, this sake is now sold by nine breweries in Nara Prefecture.

5. Trends in Quality of Sake of Entries

In BY27 (Brewing Year Heisei 27, from July 1st 2015 to June 30th 2016), Western Japan saw unusually low temperatures from mid-August to mid-September, and the rice used in sake making had a tendency to be more soluble than usual, especially for late-growing strains of rice. Weather conditions in the winter were generally mild, but with a record-setting cold front arriving in late January, it turned out to be a season with drastic temperature changes, making for difficult brewing conditions.
 However, because producers fully utilized superior brewing skills cultivated over many years, and were careful when storing the sake during the summer, most of the products exhibited this year were very high in quality, with a good balance between aroma and flavor.

(1) Ginjo-shu

There was an array of items that exhibited brilliant and robust ginjo-shu aromas reminiscent of fresh fruit, and a smooth mouthfeel and rich flavor after being adequately matured over the summer.

(2) Warmed sake

This category had a wide variety of flavors and aromas, and many had been properly matured, with a nice umami and a clean finish for a taste that never gets old.

(3) Local brands


Aromas were diverse, from refined and elegant to flowery and showy, and the flavors were smooth and with a clean finish.


These sakes showed good balance between aroma and flavor, and a moderate sweetness.


These sakes were in line with the concept of each company, from ginjo types with flowery aromas, to matured types with more aged aromas and rich flavors.


These sakes had a lot of impact, with individualistic, heavy aromas, rich flavors, and a strong acidity typical of the traditional brewing methods used.


These sakes featured elegant and gentle aromas, and smooth flavors.


Many of these sakes were individualistic, featuring heavy aromas, umami, and a distinct acidity.


These sakes generally had some umami, and exhibited a wide variety, from sweet to dry and from light to full-bodied.

6. List of Entrants