金武鍾乳洞

Kin shōnyūdō - Kin-nisshu-do - Kin-nisshu Cave - Kin Shonyudo


Useful Information

Location: Kin, Okinawa Island.
Okinawa Expressway, Kin exit.
(26.455094, 127.921515)
Open: All year daily 9-16:45.
Tours at 11, 14, 15:30.
[2022]
Fee: Adults JPY 400, Children (12-17) JPY 300, Children (6-11) JPY 200.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=270 m, VR=30 m, T=17-19 °C.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no, long staircase
Bibliography:  
Address: Kin Distillery, 4823-1 Kin, Kin Town, Okinawa 9041201, Tel: +81-98-968-2438.
Cafe Restaurant Choraku, 4348-15 Aza Kanatake, Kanatake Town, Okinawa, Tel: +81-98-968-8581
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1949 Kin Distillery founded.

Description

Kin Kannon Temple is one of the most famous temples in Okinawa. According to legend Nisshu, a Japanese Buddhist priest was returning home from China in 1522. A typhoon hit his ship, and he was rescued by villagers from Kin. During his stay he carved statues of Buddha, Yakushi (The God of Medicine), and Kannon (The God of Mercy). This is said to be the origin of the temple. He also heard tales of large snakes living in the limestone caves and offered prayers for the villagers to kill them.

Kin Distillery in the town Kin is producing Tatsu Awamori, an Okinawan specialty. Tatsu is the brand name and means Dragon, awamori is the name for rice liquor. While sake is produced from rice by a brewing process, awamori is destilled. It's like the difference between beer and whisky, just with rice as the source of starch. The distillery is owned by the master distiller Hisato Okuma.

The specialty Tatsu Awamori is, that it is stored for years inside Kin Shonyudo, a natural limestone cave on the premises of Kin Kannon Temple. Bottles filled with 1.8 liters 43% proof liquor are aged at the perfect temperature of 17 to 19 °C. They are first sold for JPY 10,000 per bottle for five years storage or JPY 20,000 for twelve years, then tagged with the owner's name and the date they were put into the store. The owners return to get the bottles when the occasion they were intended for arrives, or it is send to them at the end of the storage. At the moment about 9,000 bottles are stored in a huge wooden underground storage.

The tours are purchased at the distiller, and include a guided tour of the distillery first and then of the 金武鍾乳洞 (Kin Limestone Cave). The cave contains the liquor, but also tofu candy is matured for one year and two months. It's taste is compared with a very good cheese, which is rather strange if you think that it is a candy. The storage in the cave is managed by the Interlink Okinawa Ltd, who seem to operate the whole business including distillery, shops, restaurant, and hotel.