Takazato Distillery Corporation

Common name: 
Takazato Distillery
417 Aza Takazato, Ogimi Village, Kunigami-gun
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The rich flavor of nature can be tasted in the liquor made from spring water from the mountains of Yanbaru.

Takazato Distillery was founded jointly by the villagers of Ogimi Village after World War Two. It is located in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa at the foot of the mountains that are home to the rare Okinawa rail (Yanbaru-kuina), designated as a National Natural Treasure. The villagers in this very rural area had attempted to produce liquor by themselves before the war. At the time, liquor and daily necessities were brought by waterway from Shuri.

But it was not until 1949 that awamori-making began in what used to be a sugar-producing factory. The founder, Shinsui Omine, has now been succeeded by Akio Ikehara, the third owner. The distillery's eight employees from the local area continue to produce distilled liquor for the local people. Takazato Distillery is still the only distillery in the village.

Of the 100,000 liters of awamori produced every year, 70 percent is consumed by the villagers of Ogimi. But this phenomenon cannot simply be explained as reflecting the villagers' affection toward their local awamori brand. The water used to distill the liquor is spring water from the areas of virgin forest that are home to the Okinawa rail. The natural water directly supplied using pipes is said to be the tastiest in Okinawa Prefecture and families come from as far away as Naha City to take the water home in tanks.

The awamori from the distillery is sold under the brand names Yanbaru Kuina and Maruta. Yanbaru Kuina is a blend of the untamed wilderness and tenderness of the forest. Maruta, with a mild texture, is named after a local area in Takazato. Both varieties are of superb quality, largely due to the freshness and purity of the water they are made from. The distilled liquor is not produced in large quantities, and much of it is consumed locally. It is available in special awamori jars and dachi-bin hip flasks at souvenir shops for tourists. Gaze at the illustration of the Okinawa rails on the label, and you will almost be able to hear the people of Takazato bubbling with mirth, boasting of their natural water!