Asabiraki was founded in 1871, giving it more than a century of history. Its founder, Mr. Muri Genzo, was a seventh generation descendant of the southern samurai and a samurai himself, as Japanese tradition dictates. A stroke of good luck gave him an opportunity in sake brewing, which led him to give up his position as a samurai and whole-heartedly invest himself into a career in sake brewing. At the time, it was legendary to change status from a samurai to a businessman. Hoping the Meiji era would come with a new start, the brewery was called Asabiraki, which translates roughly to ‘rising sun.’
The brewery is located in Morioka City, Iwate prefecture in northeastern Japan. The city has one of Japan’s top 100 water features, Kanazawa Shimizu, and there are two underwater springs nearby called Daiji Shimizu and Kior清龍水. The sake brewery is situated on top of the famous Kuramotomeisui, known for its excellent spring water. Despite its high production, quality has not been sacrificed for quantity, as the 11th generation owner and master brewer are insistent on production and technology. Moreover, the sake master, Mr. Fujio Masahiko has the reputation of being a ‘famous modern worker’ and is a celebrity amongst the southern Mori clan.
In 1965, the 40th year of the Showa era, the quantity of sale had already risen to the highest in the prefecture, and Asabiraki had become the prefecture’s largest sake brewery. After investing actively in brewing facilities, computer systems were soon introduced for brewing management. Outside of Japan’s northeast region, in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, Asabiraki sake is also very popular. Today, it is the representative of local sake breweries, and production is still first in the Iwate prefecture.
Built in 1988, the 63rd year of the Showa era, Showa Asabiraki is traditional in appearance and design, while most of the internal brewing equipment is controlled by computers. However, there do remain some brews done entirely by hand. The inside of the brewery is impeccably clean, shaming even the financial offices of Central district. The overall area is very large, and there is a big sales department and restaurant inside the brewery. Many groups and tourists visit every year. Currently, there are many types of sakes produced here, with heart and technology integrated into each bottle, representing the brewery’s uncompromising pursuit of quality.
10-34 Daijijichō, Morioka, Iwate prefecture 020-0828, Japan