Miyama Nishiki is a type of brewing rice, and is the third most widely planted brewing rice after Yamada Nishiki & Gohyakumangoku.
When it was first discovered in 1978 through a sudden mutation by exposing another variety of rice, Takane Nishiki to gamma radiation, the thing that stood out was its shimpaku: a “whiter than white” white-heart to rival the snow capped peaks of even the most beautiful mountain ranges. And so it was named as such: Miyama literally translating to “the beautiful peaks”.
Although its main growing area is Nagano, it is grown in as many as 7 prefectures located in the North East of Japan, usually at higher altitudes because of its resistance to the cold.
What sets Miyamanishiki apart is its clean flavour. It is what we call a wase (early ripening) rice which means that it is one of the first rice to be harvested each year. Because of this, it is a much harder rice which means that it breaks up less easily in the fermentation mash, releasing less flavour into the end product. As a result, the sake it produces is cleaner, leaner, but not light in body like Gohyakumangoku and still manages to impart enough inherent ricey (cereal-like) notes, albeit in a tight manner and with a quieter nose.