Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS


Regionality Other Shochu Production Regions


Rice Shochu and
Kasutori Shochu

Many sake breweries make shochu with the byproduct of sake making, lees, and rice powder, as well as rice itself, which is also the main ingredient of sake. These breweries are not limited to specific regions but scattered across the country.

There are various ways to make shochu from sake lees; distilling the mixture of sake lees and rice husks in a wooden basket steamer still, distilling a mash made of sake lees that is fermented by the yeast contained in the lees, and by making the starter mash with rice koji and use the lees as the base ingredient of the fermenting mash.

Buckwheat (Soba) Shochu

Soba, or buckwheat, grows in various parts of Japan. Its main producing areas are in northern Japan. As of 2019, Hokkaido was the top buckwheat producer followed by Nagano, Yamagata, Tochigi, and Akita prefectures. The first successful production of soba shochu was in Miyazaki in 1973. Since then, other buckwheat producing regions have made this type of shochu using local harvest. Soba shochu is usually made with rice koji. However, some distilleries make 100% soba shochu made with soba koji.

Chestnut (Kuri) Shochu

Regions in Japan that produce large amounts of chestnuts use this local ingredient to make shochu. As of 2018, the main production area of chestnut shochu is on the island of Shikoku. This includes Ehime prefecture, the third largest chestnut producer in Japan, and Kochi prefecture, which has a well-known brand of chestnut shochu. Ibaraki prefecture, the top producer of chestnuts in Japan, also has many distilleries producing chestnut shochu. Other chestnut and chestnut shochu producing areas include Nagano, Gifu, and Hyogo prefectures.

Sesame Seed (Goma) Shochu

Sesame seed shochu is a unique shochu with a pleasant flavor of sesame seeds. Like most shochu, the first mash uses rice koji. Brewers then add sesame seeds to the second mash made with barley among fermentation. This unique method was developed by a distillery in Fukuoka and later patented in 2004. Most sesame seed shochu production is still in Fukuoka today.

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