6 Okinawan Distilleries You Can Visit
Okinawa has its fair share of breweries – most of which produce rum and awamori. Visiting Okinawan distilleries can be a great deal of fun. Not only are the tours free but you can also sample their products and buy your favorites directly from the manufacturer. Listed below are 6 recommended Okinawa distilleries you can visit.
The Helios Distillery
The Helios Distillery is located in Nago City on the main Okinawan island. The brewery first started in Naha as a rum distiller during 1961 because of the abundance of sugarcane on the island. They moved to their current location in 1972. Today, they still produce rum and in addition the brewery also specializes in sake, awamori, craft beers, shochu and a type of habushu known as Uruma.
The facility is open 7 days a week and people are welcome to tour free of charge. The tour lasts for an hour and visitors can even sample their different products. There is an on-site shop which sells the Helios Distillery’s various products.
|Address||405 kyoda, Nago, Okinawa|
The Sakimoto Shuzo Distillery
The Sakimoto Shuzo Distillery in Naha has been producing a very mellow awamori in the exact same way since 1902. Visitors can take a free 20 minute tour of the small factory which mainly manufactures by hand instead of with modern machinery. Afterwards, sample some of the different variations of awamori before purchasing your favorites.
|Website||No known website|
|Address||1-25 Shuri Torihori-cho, Naha City|
The Seifuku Distillery
The Seifuku Distillery in Ishigaki City is much more than just a distillery – it’s also where you will find the awamori museum. During the tour you will learn about the high-tech machinery used in the production of awamori while at the museum you can see how it was done for centuries before.
The distillery, which first opened for business in 1949, not only produces one of the most popular awamori brands in Okinawa but also brews various flavors of liquors such as coffee liquor. All these can be sampled during the tour and visitors will have the option to purchase their favorites.
|Website||seifuku.co.jp (Japanese version only).|
|Address||148-3, Aza Arakawa, Ishigaki City, Okinawa|
The Iejima Distillery
The Iejima Distillery on the main Okinawa island brews a special type of rum made from sugarcane. The facility was originally built by the Japanese government and Asahi Breweries, not to produce consumable alcohol but instead bioethanol fuel. The facility was later purchased by Ie Rum who are running it to this day. Free tours are available for visitors but it’s important to phone and book in advance. At the end of the tour you will be able to sample and purchase the Santa Maria rum produced here.
|Address||1627-3 Higashiemae, Ie-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa|
Sakiyama Shuzo Sho
The Sakiyama Shuzo Sho brewery first opened for business in 1905 and is the proud manufacturer of the highly popular Ryukyu Awamori Matsufuji. Tours are free but it’s advised to first call and make a booking. During your tour you will learn the process behind how they produce their own specific brands of awamori and sake. After the informative tour you can sample their wide variety of products and even make a few purchases.
|Website||http://sakiyamashuzo.jp/ (Japanese version only).|
|Address||751 Aza-Igei, Kin-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa|
The Awamori Zuisen Distillery
The Awamori Zuisen Distillery is one of the most visited Okinawan breweries partly due to the fact that they are conveniently situated right next door to the very famous Shuri Castle. They have been in business since 1887 and produce a wide variety of beverages which includes the famous Blue Dragon Awamori. Free tours are available and so is sampling their products – and maybe purchase your favorite brand of Zuisen Distillery awamori too while you are there.
|Website||http://www.zuisen.co.jp/e/index.html (Japanese version only).|
|Address||1-35 Sakiyama-cho Shuri, Naha City, Okinawa|