Bottle Cellar in A Cave
post : 2014.11.17 16:00
In northern Okinawa in the village of Kin, there is Kin Distillery. Their awamori, Tatsu (Dragon), is known beyond the local scene, is easy for women to drink and is a popular brand.
One part of what they sell is the service of aging awamori and the place they keep it is very strange.
Kirino from the Tatsu no Kura (the dragon’s warehouse) gave us a tour.
At “Tatsu no Kura” is separate from the awamori they sell, they take bottles of awawori and they them sit for 5 or 12 years and they aged it in a limestone cave!
Tatsu no Kura is next to the entrance, so were given a tour posthaste.
No light can enter the limestone cave. And in the cave awamori was lined up quietly and taking in time!
The cave is humid and a bit chilly but throughout the year it stays at about 18 degrees which is perfect for letting awamori rest.
The cave has a sweet scent. The oldest bottle is from 1988. What does it taste like?
There are a lot of people put in a bottle to commemorate events like the birth of a child or on weddings. People’s memories are slowly aging.
If you just want to see the limestone cave, they take visitors at 11 in the morning and 2 and 3 in afternoon and that alone is very fun.
There is another player in the cave taking in time.
This is “tofu yo”.
“Tofu yo” is Okinawan tofu that is put in awawori and it allowed to ferment and age. Normally there are a lot of products at are put out on the market after 3 months but here it is aged for a year to a year and a half.
It is best to have it little by little with awamori, but the shops that offer it are limited.
However you can easily enjoy tofu yo in the dish tofu yo pasta, at the sister shop of Tatsu no Kura “Cafe Restaurant Choraku”!
When you put it in your mouth there is a gentle saltiness and a mellow sweetness and the subtle aroma of awamori is, without a doubt, excellence.
They also offer taimozen that use taimo that was grown in Kin. About ten years ago taimo was not a crop that farmers paid special attention to but when they did not a stable harvest they pay a lot of attention to them:
Toyokawa the director of Interlink Okinawa, the company that runs Choraku and Tatsu no Kura, reclaimed the natural resource of taimo and he decided to open a restaurant from his strong feeling to want to revitalize Kin.
This is taimozen, which is fun to look at.
The traditional local dishes on menu, like “muji soup” made from the stalk of taimo, “dengaku” which is especially sticky and sweet, and “duruwakashi” made from a mix of pork, shitake mushrooms and minced fish, are delicious.
Taco rice, awamori, limestone cave and restaurant are not the only charm of Kin, there are quite few of them so enjoy.
Tatsu no Kura
Address: 245 Kin, Kin-cho
Closings: Open Year-round
Cafe Restaurant Choraku
Address: 4348-15 Kin, Kin-cho
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