About an hour’s drive north of Kochi city is the only place outside of Okinawa where awamori is made. Awamori is a type of shochu normally associated with Okinawa. It’s a distilled beverage that’s well-suited to warmer areas since unlike other shochu, it only goes through one fermentation before being distilled. It’s produced in the gymnasium of an abandoned school near the Sameura Dam on the Yoshino River in the rural town of Motoyama.
When you enter the gymnasium, the beautiful aroma of brewing causes a frisson of excitement. The brewing and distilling takes place in several rooms that have been constructed for the purpose. You can see everything that’s going on through the large windows. There’s a simple still, and tanks for maturing the awamori.
The rest of the space is taken up with displays of the products. In addition to two strengths of awamori, the facility produces several kinds of doburoku, rice shochu, and pumpkin shochu.
Name in Japanese: 本山蒸留所
Pronunciation: motoyama jōryūsho
Address: 173 Yoshino, Motoyama, Nagaoka-gun, Kochi 781-3618