Hamamatsu Nindoshu is a kind of Japanese herbal liqueur beverages developed by Hamamatsu resident Kamiya Gonbei in the 16th century. It was then dedicated to the health-conscious lord, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) who was then ruling Hamamatsu. It’s no wonder that Ieyasu, who later became a great founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, fell in love with Nindoshu, one of whose essential ingredients is the herb honeysuckle (Nindo in Japanese). Therefore, it is sometimes said that Ieyasu’s habitual tasting of Nindoshu was the secret of his longevity.
During the Edo era, Nindoshu was gradually introduced to local clans, gained popularity, and prevailed across Japan. In the quite stable and peaceful Edo era, which prospered for 260 years, Joseon (Korean) missions visited Japan 12 times in a gesture of friendship and goodwill. A record says Nindoshu was served at the banquet for them. A delegate named Cho Ryushu, deeply impressed by its exquisite aroma, wrote an impromptu Chinese poem praising the beauty of Nindoshu in 1643.
However, to our great regret, the production of Nindoshu was totally discontinued in 1943 in confusion during World War II. Since then Nindoshu has been stuck in limbo.
One day about 50 years after the war, one customer asked us where he could get Nindoshu. He happened to find the word “Nindoshu” in the Kojien Japanese dictionary and found that Nindoshu was herbal sake once brewed in Hamamatsu. Unfortunately Nindoshu was not produced in Hamamatsu at that time. This incident, after a long brain storming, encouraged us to help establish a Nindoshu project team and led us to the revival of Nindoshu. But it was easier said than done. Just like renowned French liqueur Chartreuse, the recipe of Nindoshu was strictly confidential and we could not but realize that we had a long way to go.
But luck was on our side. We, by chance, obtained a memorandum which showed the ingredients (rice, malted rice, Japanese distilled spirits called shochu and honeysuckle) and how to use them to brew Nindoshu. After many twists and turns, and thanks to many people’s strenuous efforts, we finally succeeded in restoring our traditional Nindoshu in 2011. We also made three improvements.
All of the ingredients are made in Japan.
We are sure that Ieyasu would call our job a laudable success and be satisfied with our Nindoshu.
We would be very happy if you try Nindoshu and feel a 400-year-old historical romance.
Ingredients : rice, malted rice, Japanese distilled spirits (shochu) and honeysuckle
Alcohol : 14 degrees
Taste : sweet with a hint of bitterness
Brewery : Sumiya Bunjiro Brewery Co., Ltd www.mikawamirin.com/en
Products planning : Hamamastu Nindoushu No Kai http://nindousyu.jimdo.com/en