Shochu: the popular liquor from Kyushu

28 Feb 2018 in Food Culture

It’s one of Japan’s favourite tipples – yet few Westerners have heard of it. Discover shochu – and enter our contest at the end of the article to try and win a bottle!


Shochu is a liquor that is more popular in Japan than sake. While sake is fermented, shochu is distilled – typically from sweet potato, barley, rice, buckwheat or brown sugar.

It has a pure, nutty taste and is usually around 25%-30% alcohol by volume – almost double that of sake.

The best way to drink it?

Neat or on the rocks for a high-quality shochu.


Mixed with hot water, tea or fruit juice for more standard versions.


Another popular form of the drink is chuhai, a blend of shochu, soda water, ice and tea or fruit flavouring.

Une publication partagée par @merrynhera le

Look out for it in convenience stores, lining the fridges alongside cans of beer. You’ll notice it’s less expensive than beer – which may contribute to its popularity.

The birthplace of shochu is Japan’s southern island, Kyushu.


In the heart of the island’s spectacular Aso-Kuju National Park, Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso makes its own original shochu – a deliciously dry and pure liquor made from local sweet potato.


This month, we’re giving away a bottle!

Update: contest is now closed, results available below.


The contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the contest is Juliane Clusel (from France). Congratulations!

If you are not the lucky winner this time, please keep reading our webzine to discover two new articles every week about Japanese lifestyle experiences. And follow us on social media to take part in our next contest!

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