A sake brewery in Kyotamba, Kyoto Prefecture, has mixed steamed rice with rice malt and water in a traditional, mostly manual fashion so fermentation will yield the season's new products.

The Chourou brewery, founded in 1903, has maintained the sake brewing method inherited from masters from the Tajima northern area of neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, one of Japan's major sources of craft sake brewers.

Since many of the processes involve no machinery, the amount of production is limited.

In one process, brewers took out rice steamed from the early morning in "koshiki" clayware and spread it out on a special table, creating a cloud of white steam.

After determining the right temperature for the rice based on the air temperature and conditions inside the tank, they loosened the steamed rice by hand and put it into a 2-meter-high tank.

Brewers allow steaming rice to cool at the Chourou brewery in Kyotamba, Kyoto Prefecture.

Then they stirred the mixture inside, called "moromi," with "kai" poles, causing splashing sounds to echo and the sweet scent of moromi to spread in the room.

Wataru Terai, 53-year-old chief brewer and president of Chourou Co., said, "The cold weather this year has made it difficult to control the temperature, but the more effort you put into it, the more beautiful the sake will be."

"I hope consumers enjoy it with their favorite dishes," he said.

The Kyoto Shimbun

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