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Discovering Yamaguchi Sake


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5 x 7"

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Discovering Yamaguchi Sake

A Taster’s Guide to Breweries, Culture, and Terrain

Jim Rion


Melinda Joe


A new and remarkable look at the sake produced in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture.

This book is the first of its kind, a deep-dive into a single sake-producing region to highlight its delicious brews as well as the people, land, and culture behind them. Brewing in Yamaguchi—in southern Honshu, Japan—reflects the whole history of sake in Japan, from boom to bust to resurgence, and many of its brands are now at fine restaurants around the world. 

Expert Jim Rion takes us on a tour of all 23 Yamaguchi breweries to introduce the character of each and its brewmasters’ best picks. Along the way he provides background on such topics as rice farmers, drinkware, brewing methods, and the controversy over sake “terroir” (does it exist?). An added bonus for travelers is a mini sightseeing guide to the region and its many delights. Illustrated with photographs and quick-reference sake labels.

"A thoroughly valuable book for anyone interested in sake, food and this corner of Japan."

Florentyna Leow, The Japan Times

"Highly interesting and cleverly written... Discovering Yamaguchi Sake is a very nice way to discover a prefecture while highlighting the hot topic of terroir in Japanese sake."

Chloé Cazaux Grandpierre, BKWine Magazine

"Fascinating & important. Made me want to try them all!"

Dave Broom, award winning author of The Way of Whisky and A Sense of Place

“Every prefecture in Japan has a story to its sake. History, climate, culture, and cuisine all play into these stories and inevitably lead us to a fuller appreciation of all things sake. While most books in English focus on grades and famous brands (of which Yamaguchi has its share), Jim’s is among the first to dive into the important concept of regionality. And it’s about time!”

John Gauntner, author of Sake Confidential and world-renowned sake authority

“Jim Rion offers a deep and intimate look at Yamaguchi’s wonderful sake tradition. The result isn’t only an illuminating look at the people who make the drink, but also a fascinating examination on how the region and its culture influence it. Let's drink to that. Kanpai!”

Brian Ashcraft, author of The Japanese Saké Bible and Japanese Whisky

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About the Author(s)

Jim Rion

Jim Rion

Jim Rion is a licensed international kikizakeshi (like a sake sommelier), certified sake professional, and freelance translator and writer working in the sake industry since 2018.

Melinda Joe

Melinda Joe

Melinda Joe is an American journalist and certified sake and wine specialist based in Tokyo, Japan. 

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