35,000 yen (254 USD) per 60 kg, 30% Increase from Present price

Asahi Shuzo will conduct an independent inspection after the purchase of Yamada Nishiki harvested from fall of 2022 onwards. The rice which meets the criteria of being suitable for high-polishing will be purchased for 254 USD for every 60 kg. This price is approximately 72 USD (30% or more) higher than the present general purchasing value of Yamada Nishiki.


Aiming Beyond Current Standards

Until now, only Yamada Nishiki certified as first-class or higher according to grain inspection standards were used in the production of Dassai 23 and products of higher rank. However, Asahi Shuzo does not believe that the current inspection standard is without its flaws.

This is especially true from the viewpoint of withstanding high-polishing (*polishing rice until it reaches low rice polishing rate), because the times have changed since the inspection standard was established and demand for sake with high-polishing ratio has greatly increased since then. Therefore, we can say for certain that the inspection standard does not match the present situation.

The high-polishing ratio of Japanese sake is one of its greatest advantages when competing on the global stage. Growing rice that is suited to this purpose will in turn lead to the recognition of sake in the world. In the long run, increase of cultivation will contribute to the future of farmers.


The current rice cultivation techniques used by farmers are based on the grain inspection standards now. Taking on the challenge of a new cultivation method requires trial and error, and depending on the method, farmers must face the risks of a drop in yield or grade of the rice.

We want to overcome the risks and challenge the future together with the farmers, and make better sake with better rice. With this in mind, we decided to buy conduct an in-house evaluation on the Yamada Nishiki purchased. The rice that meets our criteria will be paid for in addition to the price calculated by the general grain inspection rates.



In the “Beyond the Best Yamada Nishiki Project” that Asahi Shuzo has been implementing since 2019, the Grand Prix is selected from the Yamada Nishiki grown by Yamada Nishiki farmers nationwide. The Grand Prix rice is then used to brew DASSAI Beyond the Beyond.

In the pursuit of the best Junmai Daiginjo made from the best Yamada Nishiki through this project, we realized that the old rice grading system and evaluation criteria established decades ago when highly polished Ginjo sake was almost nonexistent does not necessarily match the standard of sake rice required for brewing Dassai.

While the existing evaluation standard states that a large shinpaku (concentration of starch in the core of the rice grain) is good, it is fragile and not suited for high polishing. On the other hand, a small shinpaku is undesirable by existing standards, its traits are in fact able to withstand high polishing and exhibit excellent properties in subsequent koji making and fermentation processes.

Therefore, by purchasing Yamada Nishiki which is suitable for producing high-quality Dassai at a reasonable price unbound by existing rules, we believe this will drive Yamada Nishiki farmers to cultivate rice required by Dassai and as a result, we can produce Dassai that is even better in quality. We are confident that this initiative will benefit Yamada Nishiki farmers, consumers and all members of our team.


Awards ceremony for 2021 Beyond the Best Yamada Nishiki Project


【The “Dassai Standard” of Yamada Nishiki】

Contains a small shinpaku that is located at the center of the grain, and can withstand overwhelmingly high polishing ratios.

・Existing grain inspection categories such as grain size and less damaged rice ie. cracks in the trunk.

Person in charge: Takayoshi Enomoto

Member of Asahi Shuzo’s rice milling team with 12 years of experience. Jury of Yamada Nishiki Project. He was elected to head this initiative based on his rich experience in handling Yamada Nishiki rice. Also known as “The Man who Has Seen the Most Yamada Nishiki for Dassai in Japan”.



【Purchasing technique】

First, we buy the rice at the price that conforms to the standard price and grade of Yamada Nishiki of each prefecture. Upon delivery, we will conduct an in-house re-evaluation and inform the relevant producers of the inspection results. Yamada Nishiki deemed to meet Dassai standards will be paid for additionally in terms of the difference between the original price and 254 USD/60 kg.


【Reason behind the price of 35,000 yen (254 USD) for 60 kg of rice】

About 30 years ago, in 1993, the market price for special top-grade Yamada Nishiki produced in Hyogo prefecture was 31,000 yen (224 USD). Yamada Nishiki is currently priced around 25,000 yen (181 USD), which is lower that before. However, we think that high quality Yamada Nishiki is worth more than the highest price of Yamada Nishiki in the past, therefore we set the price at 35,000 yen (254 USD).



In 2021, Asahi Shuzo purchased a total of 150,000 bales (9,000 tons) of Yamada Nishiki from 20 prefectures. Since 2020, the demand for Japanese sake has declined due to the coronavirus pandemic, thus refraining from buying sake rice has posed a problem, but Asahi Shuzo continues to purchase at the same level as before the pandemic.