Blessed with clean air, green mountains, rivers flowing from the mountains, and the rich soil of the Kanto plain, people in Gunma have preserved their own lifestyle and customs, creating original and unique culture and traditions you can experience that have tastes like no other. Umakuchi is a sweet-smelling flavored sake that has Koku (richness) and Okuyuki (literally means depth) rather than Kire (sharpness), which often is found in Karakuchi (dry) sake.
Gunma's nature and locally-brewed sake there
Water – It is said that to brew good sake, you have to use good water. The Jomo Sanzan (the three most well-known mountains in Gunma) are among the many fountainheads of clear-stream waters of Gunma's affluent water supply, most of which is soft water that brew sake with soft taste and flavor.
Atmosphere – Japanese sake requires a good environment to brew. The clear atmosphere flown over the Nagano and Niigata prefectures is purified before coming to Gunma which is good for developing the microbial group used to brew sake.
Temperature – Good sake needs to be brewed at a low temperature. The good microbial group that can be developed at a low temperature is what brews good sake. Sake-brewing season in Gunma is very cold and therefore is suited to brewing sake.
In addition to these natural environmental elements, there is another factor to brewing good sake which is called Seimai Buai (the ratio of weight of high-quality raw rice that is used to brew sake vs. the weight of the rice after it is polished.) Gunma's brewed sake has generously low Seimai Buai. Also, the Toji's (master brewers) have been working hard to stick to the traditional sake-brewing method. All of these things contribute to making good locally-brewed sake in Gunma.
Throughout the four seasons, we have events and customs where we enjoy Japanese sake in Gunma. Hiyazake literally means chilled sake, but it really refers to the sake in room temperature. In summer, you put it in a refrigerator or add ice to enjoy Reishu, or chilled sake. In winter, Kanzake or warmed sake is your best bet. Please find your own way of enjoying Gunma's locally-brewed sake.
Booklet of Locally-Brewed Sake in Gunma
Website for the Locally-Brewed Sake in Gunma
Gunma's locally-brewed sake sold at Gunma-chan Chi, Gunma Prefecture's the antenna shop in Ginza