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Fukumitsuya Kagatobi "Ai" Junmai Daiginjo

Fukumitsuya Kagatobi “Ai” Junmai Daiginjo

Saké typeJunmai Daiginjo
Milling ratio50%
Fukumitsuya Kagatobi Junmai Daiginjo

I quite regret that I hadn’t taken enough interest in sake before our first (and still only!) trip to Japan in 2016. I was still planning to go to the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum near Kyoto, but we just didn’t have enough time. That’s why I don’t have many sake photos from that trip. Oh well, hopefully I will have another opportunity for that. One place I really want to visit is the Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery in Kanazawa, which has been making sake since 1625. The brewery also makes a few lines of sake-based cosmetics and healthy drinks also based on by-products of sake.

Kanazawa is often referred as Little Kyoto, and famous for its beautiful Kenrokuen Garden, the castle and a slightly old-fashion feel of the area, which some Japanese affectionately call the backyard of Japan. So while still waiting for an opportunity to go there I decided to try their famous sake first. The Fukumitsuya brewery has a wide range of brands, from premium Mizuho and Kuroobi, and vintage Hatsugokoro to more affordable Kagatobi and Fukumasamune.

Kagatobi Junmai Daiginjo’s blue bottle immediately caught my attention by standing from its generally brown or green friends. The reason why brown and green bottles are more common is that they protect the sake from a detrimental effect of the sunlight. However, blue bottles looks more premium as the blue was always more expensive and if you keep the bottle away from the direct sunlight, it’s absolutely fine. Personally I associate the colour blue with purity and freshness. The combination of the bottle’s colour and beautiful kanji on the label make it look like a piece of art for me.

So here we go. As most Japanese breweries don’t ship internationally, I used a forwarding service to get it here. The Fukumitsuya sake arrived after a few weeks of eager anticipation in a nice carton box and looked even more beautiful than on the brewery;s website. As it happened, I had one of my Japanese friends coming over in January, which presented a perfect occasion to open and drink this excellent sake.

Kagatobi is a great sake. The rice polishing ratio is 50%, which is the minimum for daiginjo sake. It is light and despite its sake meter value of +4, it is a tiny weeny bit on a sweet side, which I like. It feels a bit stronger than some other sake I have drunk before but the alcohol content is standard, so I guess it’s just my imagination. My friend also liked it very much, which I take as a stamp of approval.


Alex is a London-based sake blogger, podcaster, IWC Sake judge and sake advocate. He is a publisher of the Sugidama Blog website and a host of the Sugidama Podcast. Alex has an International Kikisake-shi (Sake Specialist) qualification from SSI (Sake Service Institute). He sees his mission as expanding the awareness of Japanese sake among as many people as possible and helping the growing community of sake lovers to bring together beautiful Japanese sake and non-Japanese food as a way to build a better understanding between our cultures.