Why is Kochi called “the Sake Country”? There is no specific reason, but, during Edo era, people considered that lords and samurai warriors in Kochi were savage characters and hard drinkers. For instance, lord Motochika Chosokabe imposed controls on alcohol comsumption after he conquered Tosa (the old name of Kochi).
However, he drunk secretly, but his subordinate found out the fact. As a result, Motochika lifted the ban. Yodo Yamauchi, the famous lord at the end of the Edo era, also loved sake, and his pen name was “the drunken Lord who owns the seas abound with whale.”
During Edo era, there were about 300 breweries in Kochi, and most of them were congregated around Kochi castle. The Matsuo Shrine in Koda, Kochi city, has been worshipped as a god of sake. Not only do brewers in central Kochi worship the shrine, but brewers from afar in the Kami region also had faith in it.
At first, it was not easy to brew good sake since Kochi’s warm climate was not appropriate for brewing and it was difficult to get good rice in Kochi during that time. However at present, quality rice is harvested, and tasty sake is brewed by an abundance of pure, natural water. The blessings of nature and brewing tradition since the Edo era create the first class sake of Kochi.
By the way, people in Kochi city spend 32,590 yen per capita for drinking and eating in bars in a year (2004~2006 average), which is the highest expenditure in all of Japan. Alcohol consumption is the third highest; 90.1L per person per year (1998). It seems like Kochi’s drinking traditions have been passed down the generations. Be careful not to drink too much!
Taken from vol.34 PDF