Yamanashi Meijo Inc.’s Shichiken is brewed in Hakushu, a town in Hokuto city, which means “northern forest.” Located in northern Yamanashi embraced by the majestic Southern Alps with Mt. Fuji gracing the horizon, 80% of Hakushu is untouched forest that is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Flowing through the forest of Hakushu is the Ojiro River, one of Japan’s top 100 pristine waters that have long been treasured by the local communities. This crisp clear river’s name “Ojiro,” which translates as “white tail,” comes from an ancient myth in which a sacred white horse inhabited this beautiful forest of Hakushu and left its tail as a river.
Hakushu is best known as the home of Suntory Hakushu Distillery. As a collaborative project of the two breweries receiving the forest’s bounty, Shichiken matures the sparkling sake “Morino Kanade,” meaning a “symphony of the forest,” in Suntory’s whiskey barrels.
Water accounts for about 80% of sake. Shichiken uses water drawn from a subterranean river of Mt. Kaikoma, one of the highest mountains in the Southern Alps from which Japan’s most popular natural mineral water is produced. With an abundant supply of water, Hakushu is named after its alluvial fan composed of white granite sands polished by the rushing waters of the Ojiro River. The waters of Hakushu are incredibly soft and smooth and rich in minerals, embodying the perfect balance of nature. Inspired by this life-giving water and reflecting its exquisite taste and texture in sake, Shichiken pursues its philosophy of brewing sake in harmony with nature to resonate with you through a glass of sake.
Shichiken is brewed with premium sake-specific rice grown locally in Hokuto through a partnership with the local government and farmers. In 1999, Yamanashi Meijo Inc. established an agriculture corporation to cultivate Shichiken’s original sake rice. By having the brewers participate in rice farming, they can now grasp the condition of the rice and adjust the brewing process accordingly. Through being involved in both sake brewing and rice farming, Shichiken hopes to preserve the rural landscape and vitalize the local community of Hakushu. Also, by sustaining the local environment through which the pure waters of Hakushu flow, Shichiken strives to pass on its sake brewing culture to future generations.
In 1750, our founder fell in love with the quality of Hakushu waters to start sake brewing in Daigahara on Koshu Kaido, a hub of diverse cultures brought together by travelers passing through on one of the Five Routes connecting Edo (today’s Tokyo) to the outer provinces. Since the beginning, our family-owned brewery has been devoted to creating the finest sake by working closely with generations of local brewers, farmers, and residents to embody the brand name’s origin “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove” or “Chikurin no Shichiken” in Japanese. Our rich heritage that shapes Shichiken today is symbolized by our historic main building where Meji Emperor stayed for one night in 1880.
In 2015, Shichiken took on a new challenge by releasing “Yamano Kasumi,” the first bottle of sparkling sake with secondary fermentation in the bottle, to brew various types of sake to suit the wider range of cuisines enjoyed by people today. In 2020, “Morino Kanade,” the second bottle of Shichiken sparkling, won a prestigious award, a platinum medal in the sparkling sake category from “Kura Master,” a notable sake competition held in France. In 2021, Shichiken is releasing “Alain Ducasse Sparkling Sake” in collaboration with the world’s most celebrated French chef, Alain Ducasse.