From left:  Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi,Echigo Ginjo and Ginjo Gokujovercitas.

This year, Deja vu Sake Co is celebrating 10 years of representing a selection of Japan’s finest sakes in Australia. Over the next few months, we’d like to introduce you to a few of our favourite Japanese sake breweries – starting with Yoshinogawa Brewery – and tempt you with some delicious suggestions. Kampai!  

The long, cold winters, stunning snowfields and soft water rivers of the Niigata Prefecture provide essential natural elements for growing the best sake rice in the world – and for producing the finest crisp, clean, dry sake. Ranked as the third-largest producer of Japanese sake, Niigata is the home of Yoshinogawa Brewery – the oldest sake brewery in the prefecture and fifth-oldest in Japan.

Established in 1548, Yoshinogawa Brewery is still owned and run by the 20th generation of the Kawakami family. Yoshinogawa not only makes excellent use of their own high-quality home-grown rice, but they also brew their sake with local spring water that combines the subterranean streams from Japan’s largest river, the Shinano River, with melted snow from Niigata’s eastern mountain range. The resulting ‘soft water’ contains fewer minerals than regular tap water, producing sake with a gentle texture.

Yoshinogawa’s Master Brewer (‘Toji’) Fujino and his team apply a combination of techniques, including traditional Yoshinogawa skills refined over centuries alongside modern brewing technology, to produce a wide range of crisp, clean sake with a dry finish.

Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi (A$36/720ml) An everyday dry style of sake that is quite fruity on the nose with a tight structure and hints of citrus and savoury notes. It can be enjoyed both chilled and warm, and is perfectly paired with Chinese food.  

Yoshinogawa Echigo Ginjo (A$41/720ml) Echigo is the traditional name of the Niigata prefecture, and this sake reflects the elegant, crisp and dry style of sake traditionally made in this region. This delicate drink has a lower level of alcohol (12%), and is best served chilled and paired with seafood tempura.  

Yoshinogawa Ginjo Gokujo (A$54/720ml) Yoshinogawa’s highest Ginjo grade sake is crisp, clean, aromatic and silky smooth. Try it served with prawn sashimi, grilled fish, risotto with parmesan or any semi-hard cheese.  


Japanese sake, whisky, gin, umeshu and yuzushu are available to purchase at Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Qantas Wine and at local wine retailers.

Yukino Ochiai of Deja Vu Sake.