Yamagata ousts Fukushima as Japan's No.1 sake producer with most top prizes

Japan's northeastern prefecture of Yamagata has become the country's best producer of sake, winning the most top prizes for the first time in nine years.

Judges at the Annual Japan Sake Awards announced the 218 winners of the "Gold Prize" on Wednesday.
Twenty of those sake brands are from Yamagata Prefecture.

This is the third time the prefecture has achieved Japan's No.1 spot.

The head of the prefectural brewers' association, Nakano Masumi, says he is happy that judges have acknowledged Yamagata's sake-brewing skills.

He expressed hope that this would boost domestic demand for sake, as sales remain sluggish since the coronavirus pandemic.

The Annual Japan Sake Awards are held by the National Research Institute of Brewing. It is Japan's only nationwide sake contest, and dates back to 1911.
This year's event, the 111th, drew 818 entries.

Yamagata's neighbor Fukushima, which aimed to become the first prefecture to win the most gold prizes 10 years in a row, was ousted and ended in fifth place with 14 golds.

Hyogo was placed second with 19 golds, Nagano third with 16, and Niigata fourth with 15.