6 Okinawan Distilleries You Can Visit
Okinawa has its fair share of breweries – most of which produce rum and awamori. Not only can visiting these Okinawan distilleries be a great deal of fun, but the tours are also free. Visitors can even sample their products and buy their favorites directly from the manufacturer. Listed below are six recommended Okinawa distilleries you can visit.
- The Helios Distillery
- The Sakimoto Shuzo Distillery
- The Seifuku Distillery
- The Iejima Distillery
- Sakiyama Shuzo Sho
- The Awamori Zuisen Distillery
The Helios Distillery
The Helios Distillery is in Nago City on the main Okinawan island. The brewery first opened in 1961 as a rum distillery and was located in Naha because of the abundance of sugarcane nearby. They moved to their current location in 1972. Today, they still produce rum, and also, sake, awamori, craft beers, shochu, and a special type of habushu known as Uruma.
The facility is open seven 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 precise same way since 1902. Visitors can take a free 20-minute tour of the small factory which mainly manufactures by hand instead of using modern machinery. Afterward, 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, located 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, produces not only one of the most popular awamori brands in Okinawa but also brews various flavors of liquors such as coffee and strawberry. All these can be sampled during the tour, and visitors will have the option to purchase bottles of their favorites.
|Website||seifuku.co.jp (Japanese version only).|
|Address||148-3, Aza Arakawa, Ishigaki City, Okinawa|
The Iejima Distillery
The Japanese government and Asahi Breweries originally built the facility, not to produce consumable alcohol but instead bioethanol fuel. The facility was later purchased by Ie Rum, who is running it to this day. Free tours are available for visitors, but it’s essential to phone and book in advance. At the end of the tour, you will be able to sample and purchase the famous Japanese 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 call ahead and make a booking. During your visit, 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 because 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|