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No.Ⅰ Matters relating the characteristics of liquor which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin

  • (a) Characteristics of liquor
     In general, the seishu of Harima tastes smooth, mild, round and less bitter or astringent with delicate body and rich flavor. By using koji nurtured in a wholesome manner from Yamada Nishiki, sake-brewing rice, produced in Hyogo Prefecture, pleasant acidity is added to fermentation mash, resulting in light aftertaste.
     Especially, Junmai-shu and Honjozo-shu taste rich and balanced between flavor and acidity and do not cloy the palate. Junmai ginjo-shu and Ginjo-shu have sweet fruity aroma like a beautiful apple, mixed with pleasant acidity, producing further smooth taste.
  • (b) Essential attribution of its geographical origin to characteristics of liquor
    • (1) Natural factors
       Hyogo Prefecture is located around the center of the Japanese Archipelago, facing the Sea of Japan on the north and the Seto Inland Sea on the south. In the center of the prefecture, the mountain area of the Chugoku region, consisting of relatively small mountains, less than 1,000 meters above sea level, stretches from east to west, and humid winds from the Sea of Japan bring sufficient precipitation to this mountainous area. The water accumulated in the mountains forms a number of rivers, including Kako River, the longest in the prefecture, Ichi River, Yumesaki River, Ibo River, and Chikusa River, providing a rich water resource to the breadbasket spreading in the foot of mountains.
       Rice, an ingredient of seishu, is cultivated in this breadbasket, and Yamada Nishiki was created in this region through breeding as a seishu-brewing rice variety. In the season that rice ripens, Rokko Mountains block warm air from the south. Additionally, the climate with large differences in temperatures during the same day and clayish mineral-rich farmland give Yamada Nishiki advantages as a seishu ingredient, such as the shape of shimpaku, the white core, and less fat and protein.
       Moreover, the production place of seishu of Harima is situated in the region, spreading to the west of Akashi Channel and to the south of Chugoku Mountains. The climate is mild with long sunshine hours and light precipitation. These factors create water, as a seishu ingredient, that is low in iron, which derives from Chugoku Mountains, and contains appropriate amounts of inorganic salt (such as potassium, phosphoric acid, magnesium and calcium). The water can be used as shikomimizu, water for sake-making.
    • (2) Human factors
       “Harimanokuni Fudoki” (description of the culture, climate, etc. of the Harima region), complied in the Nara period (in the eighth century), reports the first record of the sake-making that used rice koji as a saccharification agent, the so-called original form of the present-day sake-making.
       Moreover, when production of sake prospered in its neighboring Nadagogo in the Edo era (from the 17th to the 19th century), Harima played a key role in supplying labor, notably Banshu toji (masters of sake brewers) and as the supplying base of sake rice. In the late Edo era, a great number of sake breweries started business by making better use of such legacy, and Harima started establishing itself as a production place of seishu.
       In 1928, the “Sake-Rice Test Site of Hyogo Prefecture,” the only sake rice specialized research body in Japan, was opened, where a group led by Teiji Fujikawa tested the adaptability to the production place of sake rice for many years. In 1936, Yamada Nishiki, was bred.
       Afterward, to the present day, the Hyogo Prefectural Technology Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries retains the original seed of Yamada Nishiki (breeder seed). The quality of rice has been protected strictly by the main agricultural seed production ordinance (Hyogo prefectural ordinance No. 31), whereby Yamada Nishiki has taken root in Hyogo Prefecture.
       Furthermore, in brewing technology, lessons on brewing technology are given in events, such as “Sake-brewing lectures” by officials from a regional taxation bureau and the “New sake-tasting meeting.” Activities, such as exchange of brewing technology, joint research, seminars, lectures and brewery visits, are organized through the “Sake-brewing technology workshop of the Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Technology” in an effort to improve Sake brewing technology and develop human resources in the whole of the region.
       In 2013, 13 cities and nine towns including Himeji-shi formed the “Harima Broad-Area Collaborative Council,” and the “Harima Sake Cultural Tourism Council” made up of four sake-brewing associations in Harima, which are promoting activities to spread sake culture through the messages of “The birthplace of Yamada Nishiki” and “Harima is home of Japanese sake.”

No.Ⅱ Matters relating the raw materials and production method of liquor

  • (a) Ingredients
    • (1) The only rice and rice koji that can be used must come from the produce that was cultivated and harvested in Hyogo Prefecture from the seeds of Yamada Nishiki that were qualified by the main agricultural seed production ordinance (Hyogo prefectural ordinance No. 31).
    • (2) The only water that can be used must be collected within the scope of the production area.
    • (3) The only seishu ingredients that can be used must be the ones specified in Article 3-7 of the Liquor Tax Act
        However, among ingredients of seishu specified in Article 2 of Order for Enforcement of the Liquor Tax Act, nothing other than alcohol (limited to the case that alcohol is used when the weight of alcohol does not exceed 50% of the weight of rice [including koji]) can be used.
  • (b) Production method
    • (1) Seishu must be brewed within the scope of the production area in the seishu brewing method, specified in Article 3-7 of the Liquor Tax Act.
    • (2) In the process of sake brewing, sake must be stored within the scope of the production area.
    • (3) Bottling shall be completed with containers planned to be delivered to consumers within the scope of production area.

No.Ⅲ Matters relating management to maintain the characteristic of liquor

 In order to use geographical indication (GI) “Harima,” the liquor that uses the GI is required to be confirmed by the following control body pursuant to guidelines for work implementation, prepared by the control body as to whether the relevant liquor satisfies “No. 1. Matters related to characteristics of liquor attributable to the production place of liquor“ and “No. 2. Matters related to the ingredients and brewing methods of liquor” by the time the relevant liquor is shipped to places (excluding places subject to the provision of Article 28, paragraph 1, of the Liquor Tax Act) from its brewing place (including places deemed as brewing places with the permit to produce liquor by the provisions of Article 28, paragraph 6 or Article 28-3, paragraph 4 of the Liquor Tax Act [Act No. 6 of 1953]).

Name of Control Body: Harima Sake Research Society
Address: 246, Hojo Nagara-cho, Himeji-City, Hyogo Prefecture
Telephone: 079-222-1472
Mail address: gi.harima@gmail.com

No.Ⅳ Matters relating liquor classes

 Seishu / sake (Article 3, Item 7 of the Liquor Tax Act)