Izena Distillery & Co.

Common name: 
Izena Distillery
736 Aza Izena, Izena Village, Shimajiri-gun
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The auspicious symbols of cranes, turtles and the sunrise set the stage for a retro-chic and kitsch world of awamori.

Izena is a small island, just 17 kilometers in circumference, which lies in the East China Sea off the coast of the Motobu Peninsula on the Okinawan main island. It is well known for its famous Ryukyu pine trees and its azaleas. The Izena Distillery stands in a beautiful residential area with walls made from coral.
The present owner, Hideo Miyagi, produces awamori on this island in rich natural surroundings. He is very particular about the water used. In fact, he uses three kinds to produce his distilled liquor: hard water to wash the rice, because it soaks best into the rice; sweet soft water to prepare the koji mash; and tasty, refined water when determining the alcohol content. It's a luxurious kind of approach that's unique to Izena, the home of good rice and abundant high-quality natural water.
Izena was also the birthplace of Sho-en, the first king of the second Sho Dynasty. Izena's Kanemaru brand of awamori uses his name when he was a small child. The noble aroma and the tasty and mellow texture cannot be properly described in words-only those who have tried it know what it is all about. It goes very well with hot water, which brings out the vanilla-like aroma. Awamori is a living creature that ages with time. It also tastes somewhat different depending on the earthenware pots in which it is placed. Mr. Miyagi says that Kanemaru is made from kusu matured only in the finest, carefully-selected earthenware pots. One can see that Mr. Miyagi has deep respect for the heroic figure who was born on an island but went on to conquer the Okinawa islands and become the King of the Ryukyu Kingdom. His respect can be tasted in his noble awamori.