Kubo Honke Shuzo


Uda, Nara

This family run brewery has over 300 years of history and focuses on Kimoto sake brewing as well as aged sakes. Their sakes are incredibly smooth and often best when drunk warm, but are also complex demanding, and thus perhaps less suited for sake novices.

Main brands Kimoto No Dobu, Suiryu
Founded 1702
Generation 11
No of Employees 9
Annual Production 500 Koku
Website https://kubohonke.com/


People behind the scenes

Katsunori Kato

Junpei Kubo

In search for a brewery that would allow him to make the kind of sake he wanted to make, he became master brewer in 2003. In order to make sake with the traditional Kimoto method, he directed the remodelling of the brewery.
After giving up a life as a global fund manager at Resona Bank, the brewery’s owner, Junpei Kubo dedicated his efforts on making matured kimoto junmai sake.
Interview with the Toji

We speak with Kubo-san about the history of Nara, his brewery, and what it takes to compete and differentiate yourself in a competitive and declining industry.

Read the full interview here.


Kimoto Method of Sake brewing Yamaoroshi

Uda, where the Kubo Honke Brewery is located, is known as a place of scenic beauty loved by the poets of the Manyoshu (the oldest collection of Japanese poetry, dating back to the 8th century). It is also close to the capital of Asuka, which is the time period when Japan started to be referred to as “Nihon” (日本). In the Middle Ages, it was also a castle town under the control of the descendants of Oda Nobunaga. Later, in the early modern period, the town was a busy place where people and goods came and went as a post town connecting to Kumano Kodo and Ise Kaido.

Around this time, Kanbei Kubo, the first generation, came out from the mountains deep in Yoshino and started brewing sake at the present location in the Genroku era of Edo with the ambition to make a name for himself in the then greater region of Uda. Since then, the Kubo family has been brewing sake for over 300 years.

Kubo Honke Sake Brewery in Nara Building

Kubo Honke’s stylistic sake lays its foundation on the traditional Kimoto brewing method, which emphasizes umami and lightness at the same time as providing mild aromas. It has a refreshing acidity and a solid core of flavor that goes along with almost any type of food. The sharpness of full fermentation and the depth of flavor of several years of aging make Kubo Honke’s sake special.

At Kubo Honke, the steamed rice and koji are made a little harder when compared to other breweries. The yeast population is carefully nurtured in the open natural environment. By doing so the Koji mold reaches a strong saccharification power and the yeast has a strong fermentation power for the parallel fermentation process. The aim is to create a sake with a firm body of flavor that is closed off by sharp acidity.


Asuka Village

Asuka (明日香村)

Historic Site Access from Brewery: 25 min. by car

Historic village with temples and stone relics from ancient ages.

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Miwa Shrine

Miwa Shrine (大神神社)

Shrine Access from Brewery: 25 min. by car

Shinto shrine located in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture.

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Mount Yoshino

Mount Yoshino (吉野山)

Outdoor Access from Brewery: 30 min. by car

This mountain is especially renowned for its beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring.

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Old town of Uda-Matsuyama

Old town of Uda-Matsuyama (宇陀松山の古い町並み)

Historic Site Access from Brewery: 0 min.

The old Japanese townscape of Uda-Matsuyama great for a stroll.

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