1. Overview

The Osaka Sake Awards 2023 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures) are held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Conduct annual quality examinations of sake made within the Kansai region, and notify entrants of their evaluation results in the fall.
  2. (2) Encourage the advancement, development, and quality improvement of sake making technology by disclosing the results of sake entries to parties involved in sake making.
  3. (3) Contribute to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region, which includes Osaka City, Kobe City, and Kyoto City, is well known for its sake consumption, and both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are Japan's leading sake producing areas. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for sake making, and is well known for producing 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. Consequently, 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 2022 brewing year (July 2022 to June 2023).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using rice with a rice-polishing ratio of at least 60%, with no limitation on brewing year.

3. Quality Evaluations

(1) Evaluation dates

September 25 (Monday), 26 (Tuesday) and 29 (Friday), 2023

(2) Evaluation venue

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

(3) Evaluation methods

Evaluations were conducted by a panel of 54 judges (individuals under the age of 65 years at the time of the quality assessments with broad knowledge and expertise in the quality assessment of alcoholic beverages, such as staff members of prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers).

Ginjo-shu was evaluated at room temperature (approximately 20°C), and warmed sake was evaluated at approximately 45°C after heating in a vessel containing water at 50-52°C.

(4) Evaluation standards

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

Ginjo-shu: Harmony of aroma and flavor that is distinctive of ginjo-shu and present in a matured and mellow taste.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aroma and flavor that elicits a desire that cannot be sated.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Total
Shiga 8 7 15 8
Kyoto 19 15 34 21
Osaka 6 5 11 6
Hyogo 32 34 66 37
Nara 8 7 15 9
Wakayama 5 5 10 6
Total 78 73 151 87

5. Trends in Sake Quality among Entries

In the 2022 brewing year, the temperatures at the peak of the brewing season were consistent with the yearly average, but the winter was generally warm. The rice tended to be hard and difficult to dissolve, although there were some variations in quality, and some cases in which the solubility of the rice was greater than anticipated. Even under such conditions, the expertise of the sake brewers was demonstrated to the fullest. Despite the intense summer heat, their diligent storage and production techniques resulted in many entries displaying a harmonious balance of aroma and flavor, a true testament to the exceptional quality of the sake produced.

(1) Ginjo-shu

Many of this year’s entries were of excellent quality, with enticing, fruity aromas and a clean, sweet taste. These characteristics were complemented by a hint of maturity from careful aging.

(2) Warmed sake

This category comprised a variety of high-quality entries, ranging from those with vibrant, captivating aromas to those that were more subdued. These sakes included ones with notes of acidity and sweetness, some with freshness, and others with a deep maturity.

6. Conferment of Prizes

Breweries whose entries received superior scores for quality were awarded the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau Commissioner's “Excellence Prize”.

7. List of “Excellence Prize” Recipient Breweries