Producers of Hattori Hanzo Sake
Est. 1892, Iga, Mie Japan
Ota Brewery is located in Iga, Mie prefecture on the main island of Honshu, Japan. Their sake Hanzo is named after the great ninja Hattori Hanzo.
Hanzo sake is brewed for the local people using soft water from the subsoil flows of Nunobiki mountain.
There are four family members involved in the brewery.
Their philosophy is to stay true to premium local ingredients. Mie sake rice, Mie prefecture yeast and pristine water is never compromised in order to make premium Mie local sake.
With careful hand brewing and small lot sake production, their sake is brewed in open-top tanks. Mie locally-produced rice: "Yamada Nishiki," "Ukon Nishiki," and "Kami no Ho" are highly regarded in the sake world and have been awarded various prizes.
All of the sake rice is hand washed through a restricted water absorption method, and after being steamed, is cooled in a natural environment in winter before the long-term, low temperature brewing process.
Iga, Ninja Town
Iga is known as Ninja town due to the highly developed ninja skills of the many ninja that lived in Iga city.
Iga is surrounded by mountains and from the 12th century many battles took place in Iga as the samurai or military class sought to expand their private estates. The local ninja developed their spycraft and those who mastered Iga Ninjutsu were known as the Iga Ninja.
Daimyo lords - powerful landholders - employed the ninja.
It was Hanzo Hattori (1541 – 1596), 2nd generation head of the Hattori ninja family, who helped the future shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa evacuate from Ozaka (currently Osaka) to Okazaki with the assistance of Iga ninjas. As a reward the Hattori family were designated the Tokugawa Ninja. The Hattori ninja were instrumental in helping Tokugawa Ieyasu become the ruler of a united Japan.
Hanzo, the most famous ninja in history, was the legendary samurai ninja leader nicknamed “Oni no Hanzo” or the Devil Hanzo. He was a master of war, a master tactician and master of the spear. He was also known as “Hanzo the great lancer”.
One of the gates of Edo Castle, residence of the shogun (now Tokyo Imperial Palace) is called Hanzomon which translates as Hanzo’s gate. Hanzo and his warriors were charged with guarding this gate and Hanzo is said to have lived in close proximity.
It is said that Hanzo lived his last days as a Buddhist monk. Hanzo built a temple called Sainenji, 2.5km to the west of Hanzomon where his grave remains to this day. You can see Hanzo’s battle helmet and favourite spear in this temple which was given to him by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The spear - yari, originally 4.2 metres in length was damaged but you can see it now at Sainenji temple albeit at 2.58m length, 7.5kg.
Now in their 4th generation, Ota Brewery produce approximately 500 koku/90kL of Hanzo sake a year. There are 5 kurabito (brewery staff) including Toji (Master Brewer).
Hanzo sake can be found in many department stores in Japan including Daimaru (Tokyo), Takashimaya (Nagoya) Mitsukoshi (Nihonbashi Tokyo) and Hankyu & Hanshin (Umeda Osaka).
Hanzo Sake Online
- Hanzo Kaminoho Junmai Daiginjo – their most popular sake
- Hanzo Karakuchi – dry and delicious
- Hanzo Tokubetsu Junmai – gold medal winning hot sake
- Hanzo Junmai Kioke Shikomi - Slow Food Award winner
Hanzo Umeshu Online
- Hanzo Umeshu – premium dry umeshu
View Hanzo Sake Online
View Hanzo Umeshu Online