We’ve written a lot about nihonshu, also known as sake, here at RocketNews24, but it’s not (just) because we love all things alcoholic. Nihonshu is an integral facet of traditional Japanese culture and, although it may be going through a bit of a rough patch right now, it’s still very much a part of Japanese society today.

Nowhere blends the old and the new better than Japan and, while of course technological advances have made production safer and easier, many breweries still mainly use traditional techniques to preserve the special flavour of their beverages. This video gives a glimpse into the production process today at Matsumoto Sake Brewing Co. in Kyoto, which has been making sake since 1791.

The video, shot in black and white and set to a super-cool minimalistic sound track, shows people hard at work making the rice-based beverage. In just four minutes you can see the whole process, from the rice being prepared to the finished product being bottled. It’s so slick and stylish you could mistake it for a music video, but it’s been designed to promote the brewery’s line of Sawaya Matsumoto nihonshu.

The minds behind the video are creative company teamLab, whose aim was to show the value in both traditional and new approaches.


The message they seek to convey is that we must both preserve tradition while also allowing new ideas to innovate and break through old ways of doing things. By valuing both of these approaches, Matsumoto Sake Brewing Co. aims to create new value. The brewery even has their own special word for this approach; the spirit of shuhari.

守-SHU is to preserve tradition
破-HA is to come up with new ideas to break with tradition
離-RI is to create new values as you treasure both 守-SHU and 破-HA’


This is all conveyed by showcasing the production of nihonshu for the Sawaya Matsumoto label.

‘Sawaya is the “Yago” literary meaning “house name” which is used for names of guild, studio and business that is traditionally passed down since the establishment of the brewery during the Edo period. Sawaya Matsumoto preserves the tradition of Japanese sake brewing for more than 220 years in the city of Kyoto.’

You can check out the different kinds of sake they offer over on their website.


The video is gorgeous to watch, and scrolling through the swish, modern website left me itching to order one of the bottles on offer. While craft beer is currently seeing a boom in Japan and sake breweries are closing down all over the country, we hope that companies like Matsumoto Sake Brewing Co., that are willing to innovate, can lure people back to the bottle.

Brewery Information:
〒612-8205 京都市伏見区横大路三栖大黒町七
7 Yokoojimisu Daikokucho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 612-8205, Japan
Sawaya Matsumoto Website [English]
Momo no Shizuku [Japanese]

Source: Vimeo – Shuhari via Japaaan Magazine
Images: Vimeo – Shuhari