About Kuma Shochu
Shochu is a distilled beverage native to Japan. It is most commonly distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice. Southern Kyushu is the home of shochu, but it is now produced everywhere in Japan. Kumamoto Prefecture is particularly well known for its production of rice shochu, mixed and ground with clear water from the Kuma River. Kuma shochu , produced in Hitoyoshi and the Kuma area, is protected as a geographical indication approved by the World Trade Organization. There are 28 Kuma shochu distilleries. Factory tours are available at various Hitoyoshi distilleries for visitors interested in the production process. In Kyushu, the center of production, shochu is far more common than sake. Indeed, here in Hitoyoshi, sake generally means shochu, and is normally enjoyed mixed with hot water.