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Help! Advice on Shochu Tour of Kyushu?

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In Korea for a couple weeks and am contemplating popping over to Fukuoka for a few days. I'm a HUGE fan of imo-shochu's and I hear that Kyushu is the spot. With Fukuoka as a starting point I'm wondering if any 'hounds have advice on which sho-chu distilleries are open to the public for tastings. Looks like a lot of stuff is around Kagoshima. Is that too remote from Fukuoka/Nagaskai to do without a car rental?

Any advice/resources would be most appreciated.

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  1. I looked into this a bit last year. Some of the distilleries do tours or have modest facilities set up for visitors. You have to look into the specific brands you are interested in. There are a few train lines and some major bus lines that you can travel on in Kyushu. This link describes a visit to one near Kagoshima--http://japaneats.tv/2011/04/10/boozeh... ....There are also some izakaya in Fukuoka City with ridiculous numbers of shochu on their menu- like in the 1000's- as well as a number of places that do shochu tasting flights, etc.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Silverjay

      I found some web pages about shochu in Kagoshima.
      Do those urls good for you?

      Kagoshima Travel Guide: Shochu Spirits
      http://www.kagoshima-kankou.com/for/w...

      Study Field Trip to a Shochu (Distilled Spirit) Cellar [Meiji Kura
      ]http://www.kagoshima-kankou.com/for/w...

      Satsuma Shuzo
      http://www.satsuma.co.jp/english/con-...

      Satsuma Kinzangura
      http://www.kinzangura.com/en.html

    2. The common wisdom runs something like: mugi-jochu in nagasaki, kome-jochu in kumamoto, imo-jochu in Kagoshima. I believe the sakura shinkansen goes from hakata (fukuoka) to kagoshima-chuo.

      Just a note, though, I once went to a shochu distillery in hitoyoshi, kumamoto. The process for making the stuff didn't seem as eloborate or refined as that of brewing sake and I found the tour underwhelming.

      If you're more interested in tasting, I would recommend a bar.

      1. Thanks for the advice. I have written Kyoya Distillery in Miyazaki (makers of Heihachiro) but haven't heard back yet. It also seems fairly hard to get there. Beniotome is just outside Fukuoka and seems pretty set up for tours - maybe even for English speakers.

        Shinkansen to Kagoshima runs about $100 USD each way so I'm not sure if it's worth the run for me and the wife. Think I might just hit up Beniotome on a day trip and booze it up at numerous izakaya in Fukuoka/Hakata.

        Any suggestions on places that could do serious tasting flights?

        1 Reply
        1. re: mrgreenbeenz

          I know Beniotome as a goma (sesame) shochu. Didn't know that was the name of a distillery. Might want to double check if you are into imo.

          I don't have info on the places we went. I had read about them in a tourist magazine I bought at the airport. The place that did flights that we found was all-you-can-drink where you select from a long list. The evening certainly started serious, moved on to sublime, and ended in a shack on the street eating tonkotsu ramen.