I would like to express my relief today as I was assured by this beautiful matron Jukujo in the photo that one of my favorite shuzoten ( sake breweries ) was not affected by the 3-11 disaster in Miyagi Prefecture.
The brewery is a corporation, in other words, it has stockholders and its own legal status. It pays its own taxes. It's also one of the oldest and most prestigious breweries in Miyagi Prefecture.
The day I visited, the sugidama (cedar ball) was a beautiful brown color - brown means the sake has aged well enough for drinking. When the cedar ball is green, late fall early winter, means the sake is still fresh and young.
The two rice grains you see in the picture are Kame no O and Sasanishiki. Kame no O is a more robust and flavorsome rice that's more commonly used in sake brewing whereas the Sasanishi is typically a table rice used for sushi. SOME brewers blend rice to produce certain textures in sake - yes, some sasanishiki is used also, but not commonly!
Off to the left is the actual brewery. The traditional building is where you can sample, purchase and speak with staff. Tours are possible if you call in advanced. Sake here is made in the most traditional of methods.