One of the common varieties of rice used in sake production is Aiyama rice nowadays, although it’s one of the more modern rice types. Indeed, Aiyama rice was developed in 1949, and to this day, it’s only grown in the Hyogo region. Aiyama rice’s lineage goes back to both Yamadanishiki rice and Omachi rice varieties, making it something of a “best of both worlds” rice type. Japanese sake made from Aiyama rice typically tends to be full-bodied and fruity with a slightly higher acidity level than is sometimes found in other sake beverages.
Named to mean “love at first sight,” there’s no doubt that Hitomebore rice is one of the most popular sake rice types. This rice type is the newest type of rice on this list and was made in 1991, and it is one of the more expensive rice varieties used in sare brewing. The rice itself is incredibly soft and mild, giving a floral scent overall. Hitomebore rice sake is typically medium dry and medium-bodied with slightly higher acidity and is particularly delicious when served with seafood and fish dishes.
Kura no Hana Rice
Another common option that breweries use to create sake is Kura no Hana rice, which was first developed in 1987 by crossing Yamada Nishiki and Tohuku strains. Kura no Hana rice is one of the easier varieties to grow, which can make it a more affordable solution. What’s more, this rice type is highly-praised for its ability to create a rich, mellow, medium-weight alcoholic beverage that’s undeniably refreshing.
Sake made with Omachi rice tends to be mildly aromatic, earthy, mellow, rich, and complex. A herbal quality is typically present. Omachi is a very old, heirloom sake rice strain. It has been used to cultivate many of the sake world’s most famous rice types. But in its original form, it has attained god-like status. . The grains crack easily during milling. Since cracked grains are not ideal for making quality sake, this limits how much milling can be achieved. The typical maximum seimaibuai for Omachi is around 45% (55% removed). It tends to give sake complexity and wilderness. Its cultivation is so difficult that it was a rare breed at one time. Omachi rice characters are generally less fragrant, more defined flavour elements, more earthiness.
Yamada Nishiki Rice
We’ve briefly mentioned Yamada Nishiki rice as one of the ancestors of the modern Aiyama rice strain. However, that doesn’t mean that Yamada Nishiki rice has been replaced – far from it, in fact. In fact, in many regions, Yamada Nishiki rice is considered one of the kings of Sake rice types, thanks for its ability to create fragrant, fruity sake overall. Yamada Nishiki rice was made in 1923 and is grown in several regions, including Shiga, Kanagawa, Tokushima, Fukuoka, and Okayama. In short – if you’re looking for high-quality sake, Yamada Nishiki rice could be an excellent rice type to consider. However, it’s also one of the most difficult rice types to grow, making it more expensive. Furthermore, it can only be grown in Japanese regions that aren’t flat, owing to the fact that it’s easily knocked over by the wind.