The”Kimoto” making method,a traditional carfet skill-for our search of originality and unqueness of taste.

Sakata is a port town in Yamagata Prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. The city was developed at the mouth of the Mogami River, which runs through Yamagata Prefecture and empties into the Sea of Japan. Hatsumago started brewing sake in the 26th year of the Meiji era (1893) in this port town. This land always brings a rich harvest of quality rice, with an abundant supply of clean air and groundwater from the dune. The long, cold winter in this area is another important factor contributing to the quality of the sake. Lastly, many brewery workers from this community have inherited the traditional craft skills of sake brewing. One important principle of Hatsumago’s sake brewing is the “kimoto making” method. The “kimoto making” method is a technique for breeding yeast using airborne lactic acid bacteria living in the brewery. This method requires meticulous skills and years of experience. Sake made using the kimoto making method is unique because of its complexity, depth and smooth aftertaste. These characteristics complement the flavors of various foods.

Brewery profile

company origin

The brewery was originally called “Kinkyu”. The brand name “Hatsumago” (meaning the first grandchild in Japanese) was chosen in around 1930 when the first grandson was born to the founder’s family. The founder wished that everyone would love the sake brand the same way everyone loved his first grandson. The name “Hatsumago” has been used ever since.


“Yabukoji” is a plant that bears red fruit from fall though winter. It had been believed to bring good luck; therefore, people use it for decorations in festivals such as the New Year, etc.





We opened a new brewery in Jyurizuka, Sakata in the 6th year of the Heisei era (in 1994), which marks the centennial of our business. This is a brewery with a new concept, where we have introduced new technology to improve our kimoto making method. Our expertise of ginjo (premium sake) making is used in every brewing process.


Brewery worker’s craft skills

In the Hatsumago brewery, workers full of team spirit pass on the traditional craft skills they inherited, now using hygienic state-of-the-art facilities. A beautiful pine forest surrounds the building.

Brewery master
Hideyuki Goto

Graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture, he became a brewmaster at the age of 29. He is passionate and has excellent brewing skills. His craft sake, made with the kimoto making method, is widely recognized for its great pairing with a variety of foods.



  • Carefully selecting rice and polishing it with great care.

Kura Tanbo Kan

Hatsumago has a brewery museum called “Kura Tanbo Kan” (literally, brewery exploration museum), to share knowledge about the sake brewing process and various information about Japanese sake. The museum is open to the public. The museum has an exhibition area, a sake tasting section, and a video exhibit showing the sake brewing process.

The website presents information on our new products, events and current information about the brewery.