Tokuyama Distillery

Common name: 
Tokuyama Distillery
1500 Sawada, Irabu Town, Miyako
Tokuyama Distillery
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The rich and sweet aged awamori, matured in a tank lorry, is the pride of the distillery.

Irabu Island, one of the Miyako Island group, is famous for fisheries and agriculture. Just like Cuba in the distant Caribbean, where rum made from sugar cane and cigars are important means of income, sugar cane and tobacco are the main produce. The Tokuyama Distillery has been producing distilled liquor from sugar cane since it was founded. Maybe that explains why the liquor from the Miyako Island has such sweetness and body.

The Tokuyama Distillery stands in a village of sugar cane fields. The distinctive scenery of the adjacent Sawada beach includes rocks lying here and there, and nearby is Shimochi Island, the site of Japan's only pilot training facility.
The distillery's brand, Honen ('A Year of Rich Harvest') was named by Tomoaki Tokuyama in 1948 to pray for a rich harvest. The distillery is a family business. It is now run by the third generation owner, Tsuyoshi, his wife, Kuniko, and their son, 26-year-old Kengo, who is training to become a master distiller. There are many fans of the Honen brand both on Miyako Island and elsewhere.

In the distillery there is a large tank lorry bought from the US army. This is where the kusu is kept for maturing. The distillery discovered by chance that the oval-shaped tank was ideal for that purpose and its distilled liquor has been matured in it ever since. The kusu has the richness typical of awamori plus sweetness, providing a gentle taste.