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Although lesser known overseas, shochu, a refined vodka-like beverage that is made from a variety of sources including sweet potato, molasses and rice, is as widely drunk in Japan as sake. Oita is renowned for its wheat variety and has a number of large and many small, boutique distillers of which Kanehachi is one of the most prized. Shochu, which is potent at either 20 or 25% proof, is best enjoyed the local way on the rocks with a squeeze of kabosu citrus fruit or diluted with hot water.
Distilleries open to the public include:
At a glance
Mugi-jochu, a refined wheat vodka, is Oita's version of Kyushu's famed shochu tipple.