Umami Mart Registry
Bodaimoto being made at Terada Honke by creating soyashi-mizu (water of soaked, uncooked rice)
We are kicking off Sake Gumi 2.0 with a theme I've wanted to run for the last six years – bodaimoto. With the importation of more bodaimoto, I was able to get my hands on two bodaimotos from breweries I admire: Terada Honke and Tsuji Honten.

Yaegashi-san of Terada Honke was generous enough to take the time out to answer some of the questions I had about Daigo No Shizuku, their bodaimoto. This unique, tart bodaimoto uses Koshihikari rice with a low-polishing ratio of 90%, plus ambient yeasts that live in the brewery. With an SMV of -20~-80 and acidity ranging from 5-12, this sake reminds me of tej, Ethiopian honey wine – it is earthy, sweet, and sour. Don't expect a 20th century refined, daiginjo when popping open a bottle of Daigo No Shizuku. Instead, consider it as a sake that allows you to step back in time and imagine that this is the type of sake that was brewed 800 years ago.

Yoko: What is your name and what do you do for the brewery?

Yaegashi-san: My name is Yaegashi, and I am in charge of Terada Honke's affairs. I am in charge of receiving orders and responding to inquiries from customers and retailers.

Yoko: Can you tell me about Terada Honke? Its beginnings and what makes it unique?

Yaegashi-san: Terada Honke was founded approximately 350 years ago, around 1670, in Kanzaki Town, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Before coming here, the company was founded in Omi Province (present-day Shiga Prefecture), but with the development of Edo, they moved to this area in order to be closer to major consuming areas.

The current location of the sake brewery is along the Tone River, where sake can be transported using the river, and there are many rice fields in the Kanto region, and Kanzaki Shrine is right behind it, so good water still gushes out. It seems that sake brewing took advantage of this geographical advantage.

Yoko: From afar I've always admired Terada Honke's commitment to making sake with with nature and history in mind.

Yaegashi-san: Yes, the concept at Terada Honke is, "Learning from nature and making sake in harmony with nature."

Fermenation tank at Terada HonkeNatural fermentation at Terada Honke
Yoko: This month, Sake Gumi members are getting Daigo No Shizuku, a bodaimoto made at your brewery. It is cloudy yellow, with notes of orange peel, honey, and lemon which reminds me of tej (Ethiopian honey wine) with a heavy dose of acidity. Can you tell me a little bit more about this sake?

Yaegashi-san: Daigo No Shizuku originates from Bodaisen Shoryakuji Temple in Nara, and is a reproduction of the starter preparation for bodaimoto that was made there, which was invented around the Kamakura Muromachi period.

Bodaimoto is prepared using water called soyashi-mizu, which is a mixture of natural lactic acid in the air and wild yeast living in and around the brewery.

This sake brewing can be said to be the prototype of kimoto and the origin of sake brewing.

In order for you to enjoy the product as it is, we bottle and deliver each batch as muroka genshu (without charcoal filtration or water dilution).

Yoko: Why did you decide to make bodaimoto?

Yaegashi-san: Around the time of the 23rd generation (when Keisuke Terada was the kuramoto, brewery owner), a former temple monk named Fujinami-san wanted to make sake at Terada Honke. He later became involved in sake brewing and became the toji (master brewer) in 2002.

It was in 2003 that we released Daigo No Shizuku.

Yoko: What surprises or delights the team during the making bodaimoto?

Yaegashi-san: Before it becomes alcohol, it goes through a unique process of "getting bad in order to get better." At first, it has a sour, rotten smell, but thanks to the presence of natural lactic acid bacteria and yeast, it transforms into an incredibly delicious drink. It starts out negative and turns positive. That is the charm of Daigo No Shizuku.

Yoko: What makes it a sake that only you and your brewery can make?

Yaegashi-san: We use carefully cultivated rice without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and without adding any other additives. The brewers use their hands to ferment naturally, using the power of bacteria that live in the brewery. 

Yoko: What are your favorite food pairings with this sake?

Yaegashi-san: I live having it chilled 5-10  °C (41-50  °F) in a wine glass with creamy dishes such as pumpkin gratin, fried shrimp and tartar sauce, and yuzu sorbet for dessert. 

Yoko: Can you tell me about the label?

Yaegashi-san: It is a brewing method that has been passed down since the Kamakura period, about 800 years ago, and the design is based on calm colors that give a sense of history, and is shaped like a shizuku (drop) which is in the name.

Funashibori (boat press) at Terada HonkeFunashibori (pressing in a wooden box) at Terada Honke
Yoko: I taste a lot of acidity in this sake, with notes of orange peel, but also an earthy honey flavor. What do you taste?

Yeagashi-san: I get characters of yogurt, grapefruit, and sometimes cheese-like aroma, and a sweet and sour taste with a hint of lactic acid. We hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to talk to us about Daigo no Shizuku! We hope to visit you some day in Chiba.

Column: Sake Gumi News


Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published