Okinawa Sake Breweries
Okinawa Prefecture is located on the Ryukyu Islands. In the Okinawan dialect, Awamori is called “Saki”. For the locals, sake was Awamori. Japan’s oldest spirits, Awamori is said to have a history of 600 years. It uses Thai rice (Indica rice) to make koji (mold), ferment it by adding water and yeast, and then distilled it by using pot stills. It is said that this manufacturing method hasn’t changed much from 600 years ago. Awamori that has been aged for three years or more is called “Kusu”. The greatest feature of awamori is as time passes, the ingredients inside of awamori continue to mature and the flavor changes, so after bottling, it still grows to become much more tasteful kusu. In Okinawa, pouring the alcohol in a clay pot or a bottle for aging is often expressed as “let it sleep”, the longer you let it sleep the more it becomes sweeter and creates mellow texture in your mouth. The richness of its flavor is equaled to the world’s most renowned whiskeys and brandies.
Chuko Awamori Sake Brewery
The company was originally named Tomigusuku Distillery and founded by Chuko Oshiro in Tomigusuku city located next to Naha city in 1949. Later in 1980, they changed the name to Chuko Distillery. With a basic concept of “Succession and Creation of Awamori Culture”, we have worked hard and pursued a new possibility of Awamori. Our mottoes are “Learn, Listen, Create, and Challenge”. We are going to expand our targeted area in and out of Okinawa and spread Awamori culture until you hear and know “Ryukyu Awamori”, hoping we can contribute to not only our community but also to the whole of Japan, and to the world.
Representative: Tsutomu Oshiro
Address: 132 Nakachi, Tomigusuku City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1949
Visit Chuko Awamori Sake Brewery Website
Helios Sake Brewery
Representative: Ryo Matsuda
Address: 405 Kyoda, Nago, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1961
Visit Helios Sake Brewery Website
Kumesen of Kumejima Sake Brewery
Ryukyu Awamori has been loved by people since the time of the glorious Ryukyu dynasty in the Middle Ages and has been spinning its history as a crystal of traditional culture to this day. Since its founding in 1949, the company “Kumejima’s Kumesen” has been nurtured by the blessed nature of Kumejima and a rich climate, and while valuing the “stickiness” of its predecessor, making awamori loved by everyone. Through the taste of their sake, you will experience the commitment to making awamori and the charm of the famous sake Ryukyu Awamori.
Representative: Masaya Shimabukuro
Address: Uegusuku 2157, Shimajiri-gun, Kumejima-cho, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1949
Visit Kumesen of Kumejima Sake Brewery Website
Mizuho Shuzo Sake Brewery
Mizuho Shuzo is a brewery that was born in the ancient city of Shuri in 1848 AD in the first year of Kaei. In the year of the throne of King Sho Tai of the Ryukyu Kingdom, its history has been nurtured and cherished along with the tradition of the royal family. Ryukyu Awamori made by Mizuho Shuzo is a historical and traditional awamori. Awamori was managed as a precious sake and was made only in the three towns of Shuri Castle (Shuri Sanka). Mizuho Shuzo is the oldest existing brewery in Shuri, which was founded in Toribori-cho, one of the three Shuri-sanka.
Representative: Misako Tamanaha
Address: Shurisueyoshi-cho 4-5-16, Naha City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1848
Visit Mizuho Shuzo Sake Brewery Website
Nakijin Shuzo Sake Brewery
There are many theories as to the origin of the name, but one theory is that the name comes from a newcomer (Imaki) who moved to the Motobu Peninsula from the north and settled there, and another is that Nakizumi is an old pronunciation of “Nakizumi”, which means “fish”. The name “Nakizumi” is said to have been changed to “Nakijin” as we know it today in the 17th century. The rich nature, water and air of Nakijin, with the skill and love of the Toji, who sincerely cherishes Awamori, are all factors in brewing and maturing the Awamori of Nakijin Shuzo. At the foot of the World Heritage Site of Nakijin Castle, located in the scenic Nakijin area where the history of the three mountains of Ryukyu is preserved, the 24 large storage tanks are the symbol of Nakijin Brewery.
Representative: Yosuke Oshiro
Address: 500 Nakasone, Nakijin-village, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1948
Visit Nakijin Shuzo Sake Brewery Website
Okinawa Prefecture Sake Brewery Cooperative
Awamori produced by union members is procured, and high-quality awamori is stably exported outside the prefecture as “old sake” by long-term storage, and raw rice and other materials are jointly purchased to stabilize the industry and improve its economic status. The union was established in September 1976 with the participation of all 46 awamori manufacturers in the prefecture for the purpose of planning, and the business started in November of the same year. When collecting undiluted sake for storage, they commission a liquor expert such as a university professor to a liquor quality examination committee every year to strictly check the liquor quality and strive to secure and supply high-quality awamori.
Representative: President Tsutomo Oshiro
Address: 2-8-9 Minatomachi, Naha City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1976
Visit Okinawa Prefecture Sake Brewery Cooperative Website
Yamakawa Shuzo Sake Brewery
The northern region of Okinawa Island has long been referred to as Yanbaru, a name that is not seen on maps. Yamakawa Shuzo is situated at the bank of Manna River, where the water flows through the rich nature of Yaedake in Motobu Town. The Awamori is distilled using this clear, pure water that flows in abundance from the mountains which gives Awamori a deep and mellow taste and a sweet aroma, and is referred to as “Awamori, the Art of Sake.”
Representative: Munekatsu Yamakawa
Address: Namisato 58, Kanigamigun Motobu, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1946
Visit Yamakawa Shuzo Sake Brewery Website
Zuisen Sake Brewery
Zuisen sake brewery was founded on May 1st, 1887. In the old days, in order to maintain the high quality of Awamori, the government of Ryukyu Kingdom allowed brewing Awamori in 3 castle towns – Sakiyama, Akata and Torihori, these 3 towns were called Sanka. Sanka was in strict control over Awamori and kept its traditional taste. Shuri’s high-quality Awamori, “Ryukyu Awamori Zuisen” was named by Kouei Kyan, the founder of Zuisen sake brewery. There was a gushing fountain in the middle of stone steps that head to the 2nd gate of Shuri Castle. The official name of the fountain is “Zuisen.” However, water came out of a hole that was designed as a head of the dragon, so it is also known as “Ryuhi”.
Representative: Gaku Sakumoto
Address: 1-35 Shuri Sakiyama-cho, Naha City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1887
Visit Zuisen Sake Brewery Website
Masahiro Sake Brewery (formerly known as Higa Shuzo)
Representative: Masakuni Higa
Address: 5-8-7 Nishizaki-cho, Itoman-City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1883
Visit Masahiro Sake Brewery Website
Tsukayama Sake Brewery
Tsukayama Sake Brewery was founded around 1918 in Nago-cho, Kunigami-gun, a land of famous water located in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa Prefecture. The current brewery was built between 1945 and 1945, it is one of the largest existing wooden buildings with a red-tiled roof. Most of the buildings in Nago Town were destroyed in the Pacific War, but the facility was ingested as a bread factory of the US military after the war, and the remnants of that time remain in the building. The “Tsukazan Liquor Store Preservation Society” was established on January 29, 2005, and the facility is open to the public for the purpose of preserving its historical value and various uses as a base for sightseeing in the town. In addition, it was designated as a tangible registered cultural property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs on March 23, 2006. The brewery continues to carefully make only Okinawan sake – Awamori “Kokka”.
Representative: Minoru Zukemura
Address: 1-14-6 Oonaka, Nago city, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1924
Visit Tsukayama Sake Brewery Website
Uehara Sake Brewery
It has been more than 60 years since we had a brewery in Zaha, Itoman City, Okinawa Prefecture. We are working on making delicious sake that is kind to the body by applying electronic techniques (negative ions). Innovative technologies such as carbon burial and electronic charging have made it possible to activate raw materials and produce deep-flavored awamori without using old sake. Introducing this technique has earned it a high reputation, including receiving the prefectural governor’s award from the Awamori Appreciation Society in a row.
Representative: Tyouei Uehara
Address: Aza Zaha 1061, Itoman City, Okinawa
Foundation (year) 1947
Visit Uehara Sake Brewery Website