Yamakawa Awamori brewery is well worth visit

Awamori production at Yamakawa starts from this room.

There’s only one Awamori brewery in Motobu Town, the Yamakawa Brewery, and that’s all the town needs; it’s “Kusu” awamori is that good!

Master brewer Muneji Furugen personally oversees every phase of the production at Yamakawa.

Good awamori needs good water, and Yamakawa Brewery is located at the edge of the Manna River. Most of water used for awamori at Yamakawa Brewery comes from the upper stream of the river. The brewery’s specialty is the “Kusu” awamori. “Kusu” means old awamori that is more than three years matured in the warehouse or tank to acquire the smooth taste old awamori is known for.

Yamakawa Brewery has more than 40-year-old Awamori in stock now, and they aim to keep it until the ripe age of 100 years old. The 3rd generation owner, Munekatsu Yamakawa, says “Actually almost all Kusu around Okinawa breweries disappeared during the World War II in the mid 1940’s, so Yamakawa Brewery’s awamori can be said to be one of the oldest Kusu in Okinawa. The major awamori products by Yamakawa Brewery are labeled Sangosho, which means Coral in English, and there are variations of Sangosho like 10 years old with 43% or 30% strong alcohol content, 5-year-old 43% or 30%, and regular Sangosho 43% or 30% strong.”

Yamakawa brewery is small and located in an obscure corner of Motobu by he river near the entrance to Yaedake Cherry Tree Park.

Specialty items are a line of awamori labeled Kaneyama that are all more than 15 years old. A bottle of 40-year-old Kaneyama special limited edition sells for ¥300,000! But it could be your treasure for your lifetime! 10-year-old 750ml bottle costs ¥3,000 and up, and regular Sangosho starts from ¥720 per bottle.

Muneji Furugen, the master brewer at Yamakawa Brewery, says “we can not produce large quantities of awamori like other major breweries, but we take care of each item, and want customers to enjoy our taste or aroma.”

Yamakawa Brewery provides Awamori tasting at the shop just in front of the factory. Also if time is available, they can show inside of the factory. Visit their website at http://www.yamakawa-shuzo.jp/index.htm  Tel: 0980-47-2136. Map: http://goo.gl/maps/OO2z3