Tokyo Sake Brewer's Association, to be exact, is an organization that represents sake brewed in Tokyo. The office is located about a 5 minute walk from JR Tachikawa Station, south exit.
The significance of such an organization is to promote awareness of Tokyo brewed sake and to
de-stigmatize peoples misconceptions about the quality of sake brewed right here in the capital of Japan. There are about a dozen or so breweries throughout the greater Tokyo area, each with their own special brewing techniques and labels, which are all worthy of mention, by the way.
Unfortunately, many sake enthusiast pay very little attention to sake here. What comes to mind often times when people are judging the quality of sake, is the region it was brewed in, and who brewed it. They think of places in the Hokuriku region and Tohoku because of the natural bounty of fresh mineral water, high quality rice grains, and perfect temps. Of course, all of these factors play an important role in the production of good sake in general, but not all of Tokyo is lacking in the seasonal variations either. It does snow in Tokyo, but not as much as it does in the northeast and in some parts of western Japan. Tokyo does have quality water from wells deep down in the earth, just not as many as other regions. Nobody in Tokyo uses tap water to brew sake, and rice is on a par that's good enough for making every kind of nihonshu.
To give you a little perspective, Tokyo is huge, it's a little over 2000 square kilometers, with only one percent of that area consisting of water. It has the densest population in Japan and is a megalopolus of a city full of culture and history and pristine nature. Tokyo is the great crossroads of fusion cuisine and the center of innovation which can be felt all over the world. Tokyo has some great offerings and the nice thing about the Tokyo Sake Brewer's Association is that they frequently offer free tastings right in their office, so of course knowing me I had to stop through to sample the goods.
From the far left from top to bottom we have Ginnomai, Ginkara, and Yawakuchi, which are also lesser known, but delicious nevertheless. Some of my favorites were the Sayanoi, Kazen, and Kisho. All possess complexity and texture. There were some clean and fruity variations as well.
Tamajiman, Kinkan Masamune, and Marushin Masamune are also worthy of mention. The bottom row from right to left is Kouzuru, Kuwanomiyako, Hinodeyama and Chiyotsuru, all brewed in Tokyo.
The actual name is Futures and it came highly recommended, so my buddy and I went and ate there and drank well. Most of everything we drank was Tokyo sake.
Of course the food was impeccable and very Japanese, nothing too eclectic here. Just good traditional dishes which complemented the sake we had.
We ordered warmed sake using a conventional method; pot, burner. It worked and the sake flowed down warmly and well.
And then the dish off to the left is a fried lotus seasoned in some lightly savory powder, and sashimi with a light flavored dipping sauce.
Sake expert himself. He's too modest of a gentleman, but a true representation of his time. A model Japanese man if you ask me. Look at the finger action on the sip. The list here at this izekaya was immense and I'll be sure to return in August for the drink-a-thon. Tokyo does have soul!
Be sure to stay tuned for sake updates and tasting here: http://tokyosake-shop.com or
So while Tokyo sake may not be as recognizable as some of the other brands, it's already there in terms of quality taste. People just need to expand their perception a little. Just because there's less water, doesn't mean the quality isn't there, and in its wells. Tokyo has woods, mountains (Mt. Takao), nature reserves, and parks in the district of Meguro.
Other links on Tokyo