Marumoto Sake Brewery, Okayama

Marumoto front

Brewery History

Marumoto Brewery has been brewing sake tirelessly since 1867. Marumoto’s sake production bears many similarities to the estate-bottled wine model, wherein the brewing and rice cultivation are undertaken by the brewery directly. Which often gets referred to as the “Farmer’s Brewery”. The current president and sixth generation brewmaster, Niichiro Marumoto, focuses his attention particularly on the production of rice, which is the main ingredient of sake. Marumoto started cultivating their own Yamada-nishiki sake rice for brewing in 1987, expanding from an initial 3 hectares to now over 20 hectares, spanning 60 fields spread across 16 towns in the regions surrounding the brewery.

By cultivating their own rice, Marumoto is able to ensure that it is perfect for any style of sake they choose to produce. They even use different soil compositions depending on whether the rice is destined to be used in the fermentation or koji-making processes, collecting and analysing soil samples every season. Marumoto is also one of the few breweries in Japan to obtain an organic certification for their rice fields. Their organic rice production is all about achieving environmentally sustainable cultivation while conserving the natural surroundings.

Marumoto uses the “San-Ou” rice cultivation method, which leaves the rice stalks to whither to yellow three times during its growing cycle. This allows the roots to grow stronger by absorbing nutrients on their own, and minimises the amount of fertiliser used. This makes cultivating the rice an extremely arduous but rewarding task, as the flavour profiles can be traced back to the individual rice fields and the various factors that drive their cultivation.

A great deal of care and attention goes into all aspects of Marumoto’s sake production. Even their “futsu-shu” (ordinary or table sake) is made with premium “daiginjo”-level (ultra-premium grade) precision and quality ingredients. While their rice is primarily used to brew their flagship Chikurin brand, they aim to one day produce all their sake using self-cultivated base ingredients.

Marumoto Staff


Chikurin Logo


kamomidori logo


houhoushu Logo


Sake characteristic

Brewed using self-cultivated Yamada-nishiki sake rice from fields around the brewery. “Fukuryu-sui” (a famous water used in tea-making, which has been served to visiting royalty) is sourced from Mt. Chikurin, which stands right behind the brewery. The Chikurin brand sake are all “junmai”-style (meaning there is no added alcohol), allowing the rice to take centre-stage with a richness and soft flavour profile, creating the ultimate food-friendly sake.

Marumoto Harvest

Location & Climate

Located in Kamogata, Okayama Prefecture (in western Japan), the brewery is situated with Mt. Chikurin looming over it. The mountain is also where their sake brand takes its name. In addition to being regarded as a spiritual powerspot, Mt. Chukurin also boasts Japan’s, and one of the world’s, largest optical telescope observatories, and offers amazing views from its peak. The water used by Marumoto for sake brewing is a hard and soft water blend, sourced from an underground reservoir that originates all the way up in Mt. Chikurin itself.

The climate within the Kamogata region is quite warm, which makes it highly suitable for growing sake rice. Marumoto chose the Yamada-nishiki variety because it grows extremely well in warmer conditions. The region is also comparatively dry during the sake-making season (around February), meaning that the koji rice can simply be left uncovered in the brewery to cool, without resorting to a dedicated cooling room.