Toshimaya was established in Keicho 1 (1596) and is Tokyo’s oldest sake selling establishment.
Its trademark is “Kane-ju”. This is a combination of “Kane-jaku”, or steel square; the symbol of stability and prosperity, and “ju” (ten) from the name of the founder, Juemon. Juemon lived for “kane-ju”. He worked hard every day, hoping for a sincere business and stable and prosperous sales.
At first, he started a sake shop and tavern at Kamakura Waterfront in Kanda. He served “Dengaku”, miso-coated tofu, with his drinks. The aromatic fragrance of the grilled miso-coated tofu went well with the “Kudari-zake”, sake from Kansai, and there was no end to the number of customers. Further, the original Shirozake (white sake) he would sell before the Doll Festival (Hina-matsuri) started an unprecedented Shirozake boom in Edo, and was even drawn in the “Edo-Meisho-Zue” (Guide of Famous Spots of Edo), and people began to sing, ”For Mountain, it’s Mt.Fuji; for Shirozake, it’s Toshimaya.”
The sake brewery was first built mid-way through the Meiji era. Toshimaya began brewing “Kinkon” (Golden wedding anniversary in English) in Nada, Kansai, and moved the brewery to Higashi-Murayama, Tokyo, at the beginning of the Showa era, bringing the brewery even closer to its clients. Customers who drink at Toshimaya, currently in Kanda-Sarugakucho, down town in Tokyo, visit the brewery, and brewers visit the stores of enthusiasts.
Recently, the most popular sake is a specialty of Junmai-shu, “Juemon,” and an in-bottle fermented, sparkling sake “Aya.” Both types go well with cuisines from around the world, including French, Italian, and Chinese. They are also well accepted by younger generations.
Toshimaya intends to follow through with its code ”Continuity with Change”. Toshimaya aims to maintain its credibility, reliability, and high quality, while creating sake that suits the needs of the changing palate of the world. Toshimaya places value in sake that has been around for hundreds of years, like Shirozake, as well as in newly developed products.
Sake represents a part of Japanese culture. Toshimaya strives with all its energy to provide alcoholic beverages from Tokyo, made by master craftspeople, to everyone both within Japan and abroad. Toshimaya also believes that this will provide a path to understand Japanese culture, as well as help make people’s lives more fulfilling.