Hakoneyama Shop

Sake brewing philosophy and more – from Inoue Sake Brewery

Oct. 01. 2020
by George Inoue
Hakoneyama Shop
Shop inside Inoue Shuzo, Hakoneyama

Inoue Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. (Inoue Shuzo K.K.)

Founded by the sixth generation Kanameshichi of the Inoue family in the first year of Kansei (1789) which is the same year as the French Revolution. Kanameshichi who was engaged in agriculture at that time was hurrying his way to the castle town of Odawara in search of new business when he stumbled upon a stone. The stone was in the shape of a sake bottle. He firmly believed that this was a divine revelation to make sake, and so he established the Inoue Shuzo. The stone is still carefully preserved as a family treasure of the Inoue family.

Located where Hakone’s refreshing cold air consistently flows, the spring water we use can be traced back to the Gotenba area which is just below Mt. Fuji. During its underground journey, the water mixes with waters from Tanzawa Mountains in the Ashigara Plain. For more than 230 years since its founding in 1789 we have continued to use this precious water with carefully selected rice.

Sake Brewing Philosophy

Based on the philosophy that “human nature flavors the sake” we continue to cherish and believe in the “role of the three wa". The first “Wa” is “Aiwa” (harmony) between the brewers. The second “Wa" is shared between drinkers. Sake that ya”wa”ragu, (softens) the hearts of those who drink it. The third “wa" represents the “wa”nokokoro (traditional Japanese values of harmony) throughout the long production process.

The best sake will be brewed when the three “wa” is fulfilled. We will continue producing the finest sake in Japan for our customers under these values.

Hakone Yama

Judging from the ancient scripts, Mount (=Yama) Hakone retains the theory that it was considered the mountain of Gods. First developed as a hot spring resort in year 757, hot springs of Hakone were believed to heal various sickness. Located about 80 km south of Tokyo, it remains to be one of the favorite locations to forget the busy metropolitan life.

Moving Forward

We made efforts 50 years ago and in the late 1990’s to export sake but the infrastructure and demand was simply not there. Unlike other major producers who built offices around the world or found reliable distributors, our focus shifted back to our cherished domestic customers. Watching the recent significant increase in demand abroad, we now feel with confidence that it is the opportune moment to reach out to the world once again without forgetting to serve our supportive domestic fans