Early September, the weather was fine and the breeze was refreshing in Kobe. I boarded a car at Motomachi (元町), the car came out of the long Shinkobe Tunnel (新神戸トンネル) through Mt. Rokkō, into a totally different part of the city. The destination of my trip was Ozo, where “King of Sake Rice” Yamada Nishiki rice fields were located. The owner of this particular rice field is a Mikage-based brewery that produces the sake “Fukuju” (福寿): Kobe Shushinkan (神戸酒心館).
After another 10 minutes of driving along the narrow road between the fields, we parked the car in front of a typical Japanese style house. In front of the house is a panorama of green Yamada Nishiki, all of them are the highest grade Special A fields!
We got off the car and approached the rice field. Under the contrast of bright and heated sunshine, the leaves seemed to be even greener. The rice was taking into shape for harvesting. I could imagine the whole greenish field would turn into golden colour in few weeks’ time, symbolizing the time for harvest.
It was burning hot but there was still late-summer breeze passing through. In fact, all of the Special A Yamada Nishiki fields are located in the basin behind Mt. Rokko. Good ventilation at the area not only reduces the risk of diseases, but also prevents the heavy rain from disrupting the growth of the grains. Hence, a small two-hectare field of Yamada Nishiki is worth a fortune! Good quality Yamada Nishiki usually costs around six to ten times higher than normal food rice.
This piece of rice field may seem ordinary too many, but to us sake-enthusiasts, I am silently touched by the green rice field stood in front of me. Silhouettes of farmers working diligently from dusk to dawn came to live. I was simply going on a field trip by walking around and taking photos, the sun and heat were already too much and I was ready to leave at any time. Just imagine the farmers working before sunrise until midday, one can get a small insight on how difficult and physically demanding it is to brew even one bottle of sake. Pinky-promise let’s not waste even one drop of the precious sake when you drink!