Water is a hugely important ingredient for making shochu, and Miyazaki is blessed with great quality fresh water – the shochu breweries around the prefecture are all located by the best water supplies. Miyazaki’s delicious authentic shochu is born from the fresh, clear streams and water that keeps the lush, green forests of the mountainous regions of Kyushu so bountiful.
Also, since Miyazaki Prefecture is quite long North to South, a wide variety of produce can be grown here. This means that one of the main characteristics of the local shochu is that it is made from a wide variety of local ingredients: Since medieval times, the warmer climate of the south of the prefecture has been well suited to growing potatoes, and the western area has been well-known as a rice producing region.
Plus, since the southern part of the prefecture is close to Kagoshima, it shares the custom for producing potato shochu, just as the western and northern parts of the prefecture, heavily influenced by Kumamoto, retain the custom of producing rice shochu – each region of the prefecture has its own preferences and style regarding shochu.
Shochu is born from the bounty of nature, and shaped by the unique farming methods and daily life of the region that produces it over many years. Miyazaki’s shochu, besides having a personality distinct to the region, is free from added sugar and pairs famously well with food – make sure to get out there and give it a try!