When it comes to local alcoholic beverages, Kagoshima is synonymous with Shochu, a distilled liquor made from locally grown sweet potatoes.

Shochu is stronger than sake (which is made from rice) or wine, but weaker than other liquors such as whiskey and vodka. Some may compare the taste of Shochu to that of vodka. It is transparent in color and has a distinctive smell and taste. There are different ways to enjoy it, but here in the south of Japan, mixing it with hot water is quite common. The ratio between the liquor and hot water depends on each person’s preference, but it is usually 6 to 4 or 7 to 3.

Shochu had remained a local drink until it gained national popularity in the 1990s. The boom has subsided somewhat since then, but Shochu has established itself as one of the main alcoholic beverages in Japan, though it is still not as well known in the world as sake.

In Kimotsuki, Shochu lovers are roughly divided into two groups: one favors Taikai brand whereas the other prefers Kojika. The difference in taste is rather clear. While Taikai tends to maintain a rather traditional stronger taste and smell, Kojika offers a little milder smell and taste.

When you come to our town, we recommend you try both brands. If you want to explore the world of Shochu, please be our guest. It is said that there are over 200 Shochu brands throughout Kagoshima!

Together with excellent local food, Shochu may make your stay in Kimotsuki even more memorable and colorful!