Know Umeshu

The History of Umeshu

Ume has always been revered throughout Asia. Still today, the Japanese appreciate ume for its nutritional value.The existence of the plum tree can be confirmed as far back as 4,000 years ago.

 The historical period of Umeshu

  • Yayoi period (c. 300 BCE-300 CE)
  • Edo period (1603-1868 CE)
  • Taisho Period to Showa Period(1912-1946 CE)

Yayoi period (c. 300 BCE-300 CE)

It came to Japan from the Yangtze River basin in China, where it originated, during the Yayoi period (710-794), and ume, a smoked green plum, was used as a Chinese herbal medicine. In Japanese archaeological sites, according to the database of the National Museum of Japanese History, plum seeds began to be excavated from sites in the late Jomon Period and spread throughout the country in the Yayoi and Kofun Periods. These are probably edible and medicinal rather than ornamental.

Edo period (1603-1868 CE)

In the Edo period (1603-1867), ume was planted by farmers for use as preserved food and household medicine. Since harvested ume could not be eaten as is, it was processed into pickled plums and plum wine for preservation and consumption.

 A book called “Honchoshokan” describes how to make “Umeshu”. Since sugar is thought to have been a precious commodity at that time, it is thought that only a limited number of people were able to drink it rather than it being a drink for the general public.

Meij Period to Showa Period

 Umeshu Boom

At this time, making plum wine at home had become common, but in fact, it was still prohibited by law for ordinary households to make Umeshu.In the late Meiji period (1868-1912), the enactment of the Liquor Tax Law prohibited any home brewing, and alcoholic beverages were “purchased with the payment of liquor tax. 

However, in 1962, the law was revised again to allow people to make and enjoy fruit wine and other alcoholic beverages at home, as long as the alcohol content was 20 degrees or higher and the liquor tax had already been levied, and so sake was once again made at home.

The Age of Authentic UmeshuーTraditional and Innovative Umeshu

Umeshu has a variety of flavors and drinking styles, depending on the base liquor. The standard base is white liquor, but you can also enjoy the deep flavor of shochu, brandy, tequila, and other Western liquors, each of which has its own unique flavor. 

Once you become accustomed to the standard, you may discover new charms of Umeshu by comparing Umeshu with different base liquors. If you want to enjoy plum wine easily, why don’t you have a try?

About Umeshu Lovers

Made with the finest ume plums from Japan, Umeshu is an apéritif with a sweet-sour flavour.  

Known commonly as “Japanese Plum Wine”, Umeshu is among the most well-known alcoholic beverages in Japan and is slowly gaining popularity worldwide.  

Recent Articles

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound