Rokkō wind; “overlapped” brewery

The north wind that blows down to the coast from the Rokko mountain range is known as  Rokko oroshi. The range towers from east to west behind the cities of Kobe and Nishinomiya, shaping the winds. When atmospheric pressure takes on its typical winter pattern with high pressure to the west and low pressure to the east, the seasonal winds from the west are funneled through the Akashi Straits to blow strongly across the mountains, before hitting the summit to gain speed and come blowing down as Rokko oroshi.

Nada’s sake brewing tradition is said to have grown up mainly in the form of cold-weather brewing (kan-zukuri). The cold winds, blowing down from the Rokko mountains and shaped by the Inland Sea, provided a perfect environment for this style of brewing.

Nada sake breweries were built in an architectural style called  kasane-gura (重ね蔵, “stacked” brewery) to take best advantage of these winds. They were long structures laid out from east to west, with the mashing or fermentation room (also doubling as a storehouse) built to the north with a “front kura” (mae-gura, 前蔵,) built adjacent on its south side. In winter, the northern shikomi-gura was hit directly by the Rokko oroshi winds, giving low temperatures ideal for sake brewing, and in summer the “front kurawould intercept the sunlight from the south in order to maintain low temperatures in the storage room.