The brewing of Shiromirin started in the mid-Edo era. Monjiro Horikiri started brewing the predecessor of the current “Manjo mirin” in 1766, and Sanzaemon Akimoto, succeeded the name as the fifth generation master of the Akimoto family, started brewing the predecessor of the current “Appare mirin” in 1782.
They are the two big brands of Shiromirin in Nagareyama
Before that, mirin was a dark beverage made in the Kansai region. The Akimotos and the Horikiris who brew alcohol in Nagareyama back then worked hard competing with each other and created the Shiromirin individually. Shiromirin became popular with those who couldn’t drink much and women in Edo (currently Tokyo) as sweet beverage. It was carried to Edo by water transportation of the Edogawa river, and brought prosperity to Nagareyama.
There were nine breweries by Tempo era (1830 – 1844), and the Shiromirin of Nagareyama became famous throughout the Kanto region.
The whole area surrounding the current ISSA-SOJU Memorial Hall is the site of the original factory run by the Akimoto Family, inventor of the “Appare Mirin.” The fifth generation Sanzaemon, one of the inventors of clear mirin, is known for his connection and support of Issa Kobayashi, a famous haiku poet in Japan at the time. Sanzaemon enjoyed haiku himself and his pen name as a haiku poet was Soju.
“Manjo Mirin,” one of the two famous brands, has been producing mirin in Nagareyama Honcho for more than 200 years. The place where the factory of Kikkoman Corporation is located currently in Nagareyama used to be the brewing warehouse of the developer, the Horikiris. The rare items such as the label design of the mirin products of the day are exhibited on the walls of the factory. Tourists visit and enjoy this intown museum.
Nagareyama City Museum introduces the history of Shiromirin invented in Nagareyama and how to produce it by easy-to-understand exhibits. You can see very big barrels and tools for brewing Shiromirin and the movies of the manufacturing process. You may be surprised at the vast number of different types of mirin products shown there?!
Nagareyama Honcho flourished along with the mirin industry for over 200 years. Many stores and restaurants there provide a wide variety of foods which use traditional Shiromirin. They include Japanese or Italian meals and Western or Japanese confectioneries. Please try special mirin gourmet foods you can enjoy only here♪