Tsuji Honten brewery in Katsuyama, Okayama is one of the few sake breweries with a woman toji. A toji is the title given to the traditional head of the brewery. Maiko Tsuji took over seven years ago, after the previous toji passed away. Although the brewery was established in 1804, the family has been doing business as part of the merchant class for seven generations. About a ninety-minute drive from Okayama, Katsuyama is a picturesque village tucked alongside the Asahi-gawa River, which provides the characteristic soft water and acidity for Tsuji’s sake.
The brewery also operates a restaurant on-site that serves excellent food to pair with its sake and has a very cool interior combining sixties-era furniture design with the original 200-year-old structure. The town was actually the setting for the Miyazaki film Spirited Away, and all its citizens are quite the characters themselves, so it’s not difficult to imagine them turning into spirits as the sun disappears behind the mountains.
1572, Toyosaka, Maniwa, Okayama.
Photos: Courtesy of Max Levy