To compile our extensive sake list, we have spent much time since 2000 treading the backroads ,villages and city sake precincts of Japan. Many were the fortuitous discoveries directed by locals or sake aficionados who would point us to a small kura (sake brewing factory) nearby which had ,quite often, operated for centuries with the original cedar buildings with beautiful facades, sake presses and ancient gardens but with varying degrees of new updated machinery to meet the demands of ,in most cases, local consumption.. The sake world is full of quirkiness. . .like the kura in Nagano which plays only Bach cello concertos during fermentation to help the components of the 'sleeping' sake integrate melodically or the kura in Akita who has never sold a bottle outside their own town let alone to a restaurant in the wilds of Albert Park. Our starting point has always been at our friend Yamasan's miniscule sake bar in Namba district of Osaka where sake lovers from all walks of life (salarymen, artists, politicians and students) meet to contemplate the heady pleasures of the rice nectar matched with Misako's delicious Osaka-style food. Sake conversation consumes the passions here as Yamasan (one of Osaka's most revered sake judges and sommeliers) pours the most exquisite junmai and daiginjo sake lighting the fuse on another round of animated discussion and hyperbole . Hold on to your barstools..the little sake capsule in Namba is about to lift off again! If we are heading north to Akita or down to Mie in the south, Yamasan will scribble down the names and contacts of an interesting kura or two , often brandishing bottles of their finest to sample. Our last night before leaving Japan is always spent at Yamasan's giving him the postmortem on our travels and savouring his 'last night in Japan' specials, usually fabulous daiginjos from obscure kuras, impossible to obtain. This often makes the trip to airport a challenge. The wonderful thing about this little gem of sake culture is that next year we take up the never -ending conversations again ,often seeing the same faces and hearing about their years joys and woes. Kanpai!

From the sake menu...

Misuzus Restaurant - Traditionally Innovative Japanese Cuisine and Izakaya Dining
3 - 7 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park, Melbourne 3026 | Call +61 3 9699 9022 | Google Maps