- Famous brewing water from Nishinomiya.
In the collection of essays called Sekiso-orai (尺素往来), the regent Ichijo Kaneyoshi praises “the delicious sake of Nishinomiya”, so we know that fine sake was being brewed there from the 15th century. However, the wider recognition of Miyamizu as sake-making water is largely the achievement of Yamamura Tazaemon.
Around 1800-1870 in the late Edo Period, the Yamamura family brewed sake in both Nishinomiya and Uozaki , and noticed that the sake from Nishinomiya was consistently superior. This remained true even when everything from the rice to the toji was changed. Then, when the well water from the Ume no Ki (“Plum Tree”) brewery in Nishinomiya was used at the Uozaki brewery, the sake produced was, for the first time, of the same high quality as that produced in Nishinomiya. So, from 1840 onwards, that well water was transported to Uozaki in sufficient quantity to be used regularly as water for mashing, and fine sake resulted. This sake was tremendously popular in the Edo (Tokyo) market, and brewers from Nada and other regions came to compete to use the Nishinomiya water.
From this time, a distinctive local business arose, in which mizu-ya (“water sellers”) sold natural well water to sake producers without a Miyamizu well. It was first sold as “Nishinomiya water”, and it is said that this was abbreviated to “Miya water” – Miyamizu.
These are the origins of Miyamizu. The Ume no Ki well is recognised as the place of discovery, and Yamamura Tazaemon as the discoverer.
At the time of its original discovery, Miyamizu existed in the coastal district near the harbour, but is currently found further north. Thanks to the cooperation of all the firms involved in the preservation of Miyamizu, both the volume and quality of water are stable.