“Miyamizu”, Nishinomiya’s Sake Brewing Water

Feb. 1 (Tue.),2022

Hello! We are already into the second month of 2022. Time flies!

As you may have heard, winter is the best season for sake brewing. This article is about the sake brewing water called “Miyamizu”, which is crucial for brewing tasty sake in Nishinomiya and the Nada region.

Miyamizu, which literally means “water of Nishinomiya”, is well water which can be drawn only from a certain area of Nishinomiya. It is thought that Miyamizu was found suitable for sake brewing by a brewer named Yamamura Tazaemon in Uozaki- (present-day Higashinada Ward, Kobe City) in 1840. (Some believe it was discovered by Sasabe Ichirō Uemon in Uozaki-.) Yamamura Tazaemon owned sake breweries both in Nishinomiya- and Uozaki-. One day, he transported water from Nishinomiya to Uozaki- and brewed sake in Uozaki using the water from Nishinomiya. This sake was just as tasty as the sake brewed in Nishinomiya, and Yamamura realized it was the water which had been making the Nishinomiya-brewed sake so special. Since that discovery, many sake brewers in Nishinomiya and the Nada region started using Miyamizu to brew their sake.

Scene of Drawing Miyamizu Water Using Hanetsurube

Some of the sake brewers in the Nada region began writing ‘Miyamizu’ on their sake labels. In “The Collection of Branding Iron Designs for Stamping Woven Straw Mat Wrapping for Sake Casks”, a historical book owned by the Nishinomiya City Library, Miyamizu is seen on branding iron designs. According to the book, sake brewers in Mikage and Tōmei (present-day Higashinada Ward, Kobe City) and Shinzaike (present-day Nada Ward, Kobe City) made branding irons with the name Miyamizu after Yamamura Tazaemon found that this water was excellent for sake brewing. These sake brewers did this to add value to their sake to appeal to purchasers in Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Moreover, the increasing demand of Miyamizu created a new business called “Mizuya”, where vendors drew water from Miyamizu wells and sold casks of the water. In the historical book “Hanshin Directory” published in 1910, ten Mizuya vendors were listed. This shows that the water business was still flourishing in the Meiji era (1869-1912).

Name of Miyamizu Venrors Listed in “Hanshin Directory” Published in 1910

In front of the Sakagura-kan, one of the museum buildings, there is an exhibit featuring “Hanetsurube”, a sake brewing tool used for drawing well water. Ropes tied on the front and rear of the log were pulled in alternate directions to pull the tub tied to the log up and down to draw water. There is another exhibit featuring a “Daihachiguruma” wagon – the method by which the casks filled with Miyamizu water were transported. Please visit the museum to see the actual exhibits and to learn more about Miyamizu, the water which has been used for brewing high quality sake in Nishinomiya and the Nada region since the Edo period (1603-1868). We also recommend a visit to the Miyamizu well area near the museum.

Exhibit of “Itaishimichi” (The Roads which were Double-lined with Flagstones ) and “Daihachiguruma” Wagon in Sakagura-kan , One of Two Buildings of Sake Museum

Please check back next month for a new “Sake Talk” topic!


I’ll make you understand the depth of sake brewing!


Oh, sake has been loved and enjoyed by people just like sakura.