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May, 2023
Tsukayama Awamori Distillery, Nago, Okinawa © Champ Travel / JK

Surviving the Second World War and retaining its original traditional structure, TSUKAYAMA AWAMORI DISTILLERY is a rare gem within the main island of Okinawa. Situated in Nago, just north of the capital city Naha, the distillery’s small operation of Okinawa awamori liquor is a testament to the island’s history of occupation and tradition. As Japan’s oldest spirit, Awamori is said to have a history of 600 years. Due to the humid climate of the islands, it is made with Thai rice and inocculated with black koji mold where it is left to ferment and then distilled in large yachimun ceramic pots.

Built in 1928, the distillery is found within charming timber architecture covered by traditional red kawara roof tiles and is even designated as one of Japan’s National Important Cultural Properties, respectfully. At the TSUKAYAMA AWAMORI DISTILLERY, head toji brewer Hide-san guides visitors throughout the space, from the distilling rooms to the residential side where formerly and traditionally, the company director would also sleep due to the time-intensive production. Within the humble site and a staff of just two, every process of the production method is done at the distillery, from ageing to bottling and labelling. Referred to as Kokka (Tsukayama’s awamori) holds an alcohol percentage of either 30% and 43% with various years of ageing available. The longer the age, the smoother and mellow the liquor with heightened flavours and nuances.

For those exploring the northern half of the mainland near Nago, Ogimi and Nakijin, TSUKAYAMA AWAMORI DISTILLERY is a must-visit.

Tsukayama Awamori Distillery, Nago, Okinawa © Champ Travel / JK
Tsukayama Awamori Distillery, Nago, Okinawa © Champ Travel / JK
Tsukayama Awamori Distillery, Nago, Okinawa © Champ Travel / JK
Tsukayama Awamori Distillery, Nago, Okinawa © Champ Travel / JK

1-14-6 Onaka, Nago
Okinawa 905-0017

For more must-visit locations in Okinawa, click here.

Text: Joanna Kawecki
Images: Champ Creative © Champ Travel

May, 2023