All rights are reserved under the copyright of Yasuyuki Ayukawa (2023)

to be cont’d.

Go to Vol.3

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I am visiting companies challenging the global market with Japanese skills, Japanese quality, and Japanese craftmanship based on the tradition. I don’t know if the world has overtaken Japan or if Japan has declined, but in recent years, it is said that Japan’s position in the world is declining in various parts such as economy, society, and the quality of life. But is it really so? Japan still has world-class technology, traditions, and culture, and the value of these has been recognized in other parts of the global market thanks to the efforts of many companies pioneering the market in many countries. Furthermore, there are also new companies taking on the challenge with products and technologies, with their confidence and pride, to the world.  In this series, I would like to introduce how such companies are challenging the global market.

The 2nd. issue is for

Ide Sake Brewery


This second issue introduces the efforts of Ide Sake Brewery, Yamanashi, located on the northern foot of Mt. Fuji.  Ide Sake Brewery has worked on Sake for more than 170 years, and moreover has much longer history as the residents of sounding Mt. Fuji.  Ide Sake brewery questions its Sake in the global market, as one of the crystallizations of its long history and tradition. That’s how I received it.  Not “selling more”, but “showing deeper”.  Now let me Introduce Ide Brewery’s dissemination of the traditional Japanese culture to the global markets

Visiting Sake brewery at the Kawaguchi lakeside

In the morning of day in the end of March, I visited the Ide Sake Brewery, who has been brewing since the Edo era, located at the foot of Mt. Fuji and by the Lake Kawaguchi.

From the JR Chuo Line, I came to Kawaguchiko Station by a limited express train going directly to the Fujikyu Railway.  

Even though it was a weekday, the aisles and decks were packed with people who were inbound from overseas.   It seemed that they came from various countries such as Europeans, US and Asias.  

I heard English, Chinese, French, Thai and Vietnamese (sounds like), as well as some Slavic-sounding words. The on-board announcements are multilingual in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean only!  Not sufficient!

Yes “Mt. Fuji” is very powerful as the World Cultural Heritage.   I am very happy to see many tourists come back from overseas.

Kawaguchiko Station is a terminal for both Fuji-Kyuko and express buses from Tokyo, so it is very crowded, see the picture above.

I wanted to enjoy the footbath because I had just a little time, but I gave up because it was so crowded that I could insist to enjoy it at this time…_

Kawaguchi-ko. This beautiful lake lies just 5minutes off on foot, from Ide Sake Brewery

On the way from the Station to the lakeside, walk about 15 minutes and you will arrive at Ide Brewery.

This time, I could guided by the son of the family head, Mr. Takatoshi Ide.

The origin of Ide Sake Brewery started back to 1527, when the founder Yogoemon Ide moved to this area.

Ide Yogoemon was the second son of an old family who served as village governer of Fujinomiya Kami-Ide Village in Suruga (it was the name of the region of the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture).

Byobu-E (paitings on the folding screen) of Shugun’s hunt

That Ide family in Fujinomiya has been around for a very long time.

The house of family was used as the guest house of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the 1st. Shogun in Japan, when he held the large-scale hunting session on the southern foot of Mt. Fuji. (said to have been held in 1193).   

Actually, Ide Yogoemon family still keeps “E-Byobu”, folding screens depicting scenes such as Yoritomo’s hunting around Mt. Fuji and the revenge of the Soga brothers., in the tatami room of their house.

It was around 1700 when the Ide Yogoemon family started brewing. 

It is said that the brewery used to make miso and soy sauce. Around 1850, he started brewing sake, and after a while he devoted himself to sake.

Currently, under the 21st head of the family, Mr. Yogoemon Ide (Takatoshi-san’s father), Ide Sake Brewery manufactures sake and sake-based plum liqueur under the “Kai no Kaiun” brand. 

Acquired the license in 2020, Ide Sake Brewery started brewing whiskey as Fuji Hokuroku Distiller.

Commitment to tradition, not scale

Ide Brewery is a relatively small brewery with a production scale of 700 “koku” (approx..126kℓ) per annum. And therefore, Ide Sake Brewery does not go to the nationwide market, including Tokyo, which is a major consumption area of sake.

Yamanashi is a tourism prefecture, and Ide Sake Brewery’s sake shipments are mostly limited to within the prefecture, mainly to inns and hotels in tourist spots.

Ide Sake Brewery is not very particular about expanding its domestic market so much, but very particular about preserving the tradition with the deep background of long-lasting history, and how to have customers deeply enjoy it.

How does Ide Sake Brewery preserve such tradition?  At first, the concept of sake brewing. Ide Sake values “a pride of Sake brewery”, as an inheritor of Japanese culture, and is committed to realise it in brewing Sakes.

Based on the motto of “learning from the past to know the future”, Ide Sake Brewery mixes modern process and traditional methos in brewing Sakes. By sticking to traditional methods where human-hands process should be taken, and use machines to improve efficiency where such processes are not necessary.

And brand.

Ide Sake Brewery is formed as an individual proprietorship engaged in sake brewing.

Recently, more and more sake breweries have been incorporated, but Ide Sake Brewery is a private business run by Yogoemon Ide, the owner and head of the brewery.

It is just because to preserve the proprietor’s name on the label unchanged.  

Ide Sale Brewery keeps brewing license under Ide Yogoemon, the name of a proprietor which will be inherited to the next generation.

In case of a corporation, this name of proprietor on the label must be changed depending on the license status.

As a commitment to the tradition which should be protected, Ide Sake Brewery insists on keep the name of “Ide Yogoemon” and brand can be inherited for a long time.

which kinds of strategy
does Ide Sake Brewery take
for overseas market?

Let’s take a closer look
at this at the next time.

to be cont’d.

Go to Vol.3

Go to the top page of blogs

Go to Mainsite⇒

All rights are reserved under the copyright of Yasuyuki Ayukawa (2023)


2 thought on “Here you go, “The Crystal of Tradition” – Ide Sake Brewery Vol.1”
  1. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

    1. TThank you for your comments. After a long absence, I have updated a new issue in these series. Some issues will follow shortly.

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