Challenge and Responsibility of Izumibashi

Sustain local agricultural society

  Actions to re-energize agreculture by Izumibashi and story related with agriculture

Entity as a part of the local agrecultural industory

Izumibashi started brewery business because there was bountiful rice grown at Ebinako-chi. Also, Ebinako-chi is a part of the alluvial plains created by rich flow of Sagami River, sauced water from Mt. Oyama and Tanzawa cordillera in the west side of Kanagawa prefecture. We believe that our business has been a part of the local agricultural industry from old time and Izumibashi is not only for a owner and employees but also for rice producers, sake retailers, and customers to enjoy drinking sake.

We have to pass beautiful rice fields to our future generations.

Rice fields at Sagamihara-city

Rice planting event with sake retailers and restaurants – it continues from 1995.

Actions to re-energize local agriculture

From 1997 Izumibashi and member farmers of Sagami Sake Rice Association continue to increases cultivation areas little by little. In 2012 we grow rice at Ebina-city, Zama-city and Sagamihara-city. We borrow rice fields from many land owners at each area and grow rice. Some of the fields we are borrowing now used to be wasted or lying idle (*1). By cultivating these wasted fields, we can contribute to preserve the beautiful country view and the agricultural environment. Izumibashi think together with local people about future actions to re-energize local agriculture industry. (*1) Wasted rice fields are one of the serious issues for Japanese agriculture industry and main reason for this is the shortage of successors for the agricultural business.

Cultivate wasted rice fields April 2012

Cultivate wasted rice fields April 2012

Actions to preserve natural environment – agriculture to save dragonflies

Izumibashi believe this is our responsibility to pass the rice fields to our future generations with good condition. One of the action for this is to reduce the usage of agrichemicals. Based on the regulations for the agrichemical usage in Kanagawa prefecture, rice producers were allowed to use 14 kinds of agrichemicals. (Kanagawa is one of the strictest prefectures for usage of agrichemicals in Japan). To reduce the usage of agrichemicals, we introduced hot water sterilization for rice seeds, which does not have to use chemical disinfectant. Also we reduce the usage of fertilizer and make the rice lean and healthy enough to keep pests and disease out. In 2011, the usage of agrichemical at Sagami Sake Rice Association was 60% reduced from Kanagawa prefectural regulation. In the rice production at Izumibashi fields, we achieved 91 to 100% reduction from the regulation.

We experiment to fill the rice fields with water in the winter time with the help by Kanagawa prefectural government, irrigation association and Ebina-city. This will have effects for making the soil of rice fields rich and healthy and increase the ecosystem diversity.

Sprinkle rice polishings instead of using chemical herbicides

Experimented rice fields in winter – filled with water

Meeting with member farmers

Fun activity – investigate living creatures at rice fields

Unless we dive into the fields, search and record living creatures, it is difficult to find out the effect of our actions such as reducing usage of agrichemicals and filling fields with water in winter. Every year we investigate the living creatures in the rice fields and record the results. The method of investigation is we catch insects and record the variations and numbers. It is fun to catch insects like childhood and also motivates us to preserve our natural environment. We hope this actions ends up with brewing more tasty sake.

Recently, we are invited to the summer program at local elementary school and have a class about “Living Creatures of Rice Fields”.

Investigation of living creatures at rice fields from 2008

Captured Ischnura asiatica (dragonfly) at investigation

Class at elementary school

Collaboration with local specialty

There are so many local specialties in Kanagawa prefecture. For example, Japanese plum at Soga Odawara-city is well-known for its long history and quality. Also, production amount for strawberry in Ebina-city is no.1 in Kanagawa prefecture. Izumibashi is making liqueur by flavored with Japanese plum and strawberry from each producer. We make liqueur by bottling these specialty fruits into junmai-shu.

Japanese plum from Odawara-city Kanagawa

From left – Junmai daiginjo plum liqueur, Junmai plum liqueur and Junmai strawberry liqueur

Label for junmai daiginjo plum liqueur