パートナー:櫻田酒造

Partner: Sakurada Sake Brewery

*This interview was conducted before the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake, and the brewery is currently closed.
The Noto Peninsula juts out about 130 kilometers into the Sea of ​​Japan. Surrounded by the rich blessings of the Satoyama countryside and the harsh yet beautiful nature, the peninsula has an ideal environment for sake brewing. Proof of this is the Noto Toji, who learned and honed their skills here. Noto Toji, who are well versed in traditional sake brewing, have traveled from breweries all over the country for a long time and have supported sake brewing in this country behind the scenes.

Sakurada Shuzo, the northernmost sake brewery on the Noto Peninsula, was founded in 1915 (Taisho 15). The fourth-generation brewer, Sakurada Hirokatsu, is one of the current Noto Toji brewers.The brewery has been located near Takojima fishing port in Suzu, where snow crab (Kanon crab) is thriving, for over 100 years. Its flagship brands, Hatsuzakura and Junmai Ginjo Sake, Taikei, are indispensable at local fishermen's parties.

"I just enjoy making sake. Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm worried about whether it turned out well, but that's fun too."

Sakurada was smiling from the moment we met, and her smile grew even brighter as she began to talk.

Sakurada began his involvement in sake brewing at the age of 22. Having just returned from university in Tokyo, he was trained by a veteran toji brewer who was only employed during the winter. While spending busy days working in the brewery and making deliveries, he learned traditional techniques by watching and imitating. His father was not a toji brewer but rather a manager, and he often said, "I hope one day one of my family members will become a toji brewer."

About three years later, one day when Sakurada was 25 years old, the master brewer who had been training him suddenly said, "You do it now. I'm not coming back next year."

"I was surprised at the suddenness of it, but I thought I had no choice but to do it."

Sakurada says that being able to work in a place that was rooted in Suzu was also an attraction . At the time , his debut as the youngest brewer in Noto was a hot topic . Perhaps it was because of his youth . At first , he was anxious , thinking , "Today has ended without any results ."

Now , his motto for work is to enjoy and not push himself . " I work pretty stress - free , because I really enjoy it," he says . That doesn't mean he's lazy . When it 's important work, he stays in the brewery, sleeping and waking up in a kotatsu to watch over the sake . But when he's thinking about how to finish the sake that's gradually getting closer to completion , he says that every task is fun .

Most of Sakurada Sake Brewery's sake is shipped within Suzu City . With the recent boom in sake , fans looking for rare sake are increasingly coming from far away . However , they have no plans to expand their factory or ship far away , and have chosen to continue producing solid local sake .

"When you're busy, you stop enjoying sake brewing , and I don't think that 's happiness ."

Takojimacho , Suzu City Located at the northernmost tip of Noto , this town is part of the downtown area of ​​Suzu City and has flourished as a fishing town since ancient times . In the fall , the enthusiastic Kiriko Festival is held , where men in flashy costumes run through the town with vigor , carrying lanterns weighing as much as one ton. Until 2004, this was the terminus of the Noto Line , and is remembered by many tourists as the gateway to tourism in the depths of Noto .