Nanbu Bijin

Kosuke Kuji

22nd July, 2022

Nanbu Bijin was founded in 1902 and is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. A family business for several generations, it is headed by Kosuke Kuji, a fifth-generation master sake brewer. 

Since its founding, the Kuji family has maintained the family motto of "quality first" to make quality sake. Today, they continue this tradition instead of moving towards an industrial dimension of their business. This effort has been rewarded with many prestigious awards, such as the gold and platinum awards at the Kura master in France and the title of the best sake in the world "Champion Sake" at the International Wine Challenge in the UK in 2017. It has also won several gold medals at the National New Sake Competition in Japan.

Today, we offer a sake from the Iwate prefecture that is highly regarded both in Japan and around the world. It is also exported to 55 countries, including France.

The town of Ninohe, in Iwate Prefecture, where our winery is located, is a small town of 26,000 inhabitants. It is located on the border of Iwate and Aomori prefectures and has only one sake brewery, ours. 

The city of Ninohe is also known as the leading producer of lacquerware in Japan. Lacquer is a traditional Japanese craft, often used to make various objects, including tableware. It is very popular for serving sake. It is also used as an adhesive component. It has been used to apply gold leaf to the Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto and to restore national treasures such as the Toshogu shrine in Nikko. All of the lacquer used for these national treasures comes from Japan, 70% of it from Ninohe. By contributing to the preservation of national treasures in this way, it was officially included in Japanese heritage in 2020 and recognised as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in the same year.

The Nanbu Bijin brewery is located in the city of Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture. It promotes sake brewing with respect for the land, valuing the rice, water, and climate of its region. In particular, the special junmai sake that won the Champion Sake at the 2017 International Wine Challenge is a truly local sake: the rice and water are drawn from the town of Ninohe and the actors involved are from there. 

Nambu Bijin is particularly committed to rice cultivation, using a local variety of sake rice, Ginotome. We are supported by all the craftsmen in the industry, grouped in the largest organization of craft brewers in Japan, who pass on their traditional techniques. In this way, we constantly strive to make a unique, local sake.  

Like a fjord, the coast of Iwate Prefecture is famous for its oysters, scallops, abalone and sea urchins. Inland, the town of Ninohe is famous for its Iwate Shorthorn Beef, a premium quality lean beef. The pairing of these dishes with our sake is exceptional. The ultimate option would be to have them served in lacquerware, so you can fully appreciate our land!

Our brewery also offers tours. It is possible to observe the process of making our sake, and in winter, to taste a glass served on the barrel. The century-old wattle and daub cellar has been converted into a guest house with a bar. This gives the sake tasting an authentic atmosphere. In addition, Nambu Bijin is the first sake in the world to be certified as vegan, kosher and GMO-free by the respective Japanese inspection bodies.

Our city is the first in the world to officially support dietary diversity, and has many halal and vegan shops. By respecting all diets, Ninohe wishes to welcome visitors from all over the world and to become an international city. 
We look forward to your visit! Kanpai! 

Original text

南部美人では蔵見学も受け付けております。実際に酒造りの現場を見ることが出来、酒造りの冬場はしぼりたての試飲も出来ます。100年以上前の土蔵の蔵をゲストハウスとして日本酒バーにしていますので、伝統ある雰囲気の中で試飲も出来ます。漆も漆器制作の現場を見学しながらショッピングできる場所がありますので、観光としても最適です。さらに南部美人は世界で初めて「ヴィーガン」の国際認定を受けた日本酒であり、ユダヤ教の食事規定の「コーシャ」の認定、遺伝子組み換えをしていない「NON GMO」の認定も受けています。食の多様性において、多くの方々にも安心して飲んでいただけます。さらに二戸市はフードダイバーシティーを世界で初めて宣言したまちでもあり、市内にはハラル、ヴィーガンなどの方々が安心して食事や買い物が出来るお店が多くあります。SDGsの「誰も取り残さない」を食の世界で実践する世界標準のまちなのです。岩手でお待ちしています。

Show more

Kosuke Kuji

NANBU BIJIN Co. LTD. CEO, the 5th generation brewer