Have You Ever Been to Oita Prefecture?
Oita Prefecture is situated at the northeast of Kyushu Region, and it is best known for the rich hot spring sources and often called the Onsen Prefecture. Yufuin, which is overflowing with Bohemian charm, and Beppu, home to Japan’s famous eight "bubbling hells" , are the two top visited Onsen towns in Japan. If you have visited Beppu, you might have gone on a jigoku meguri (helll tour) and seen the Sea Hell with blue water, the Blood Pond Hell with red water and the Oniishibozu Hell with boiling mud bubbles.
In addition to its onsens, Oita prides itself in the many natural delights nestled within its grand Kuju mountain range. You might have crossed Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi Bridge, which is like walking through the sky with the virgin forest and valley below you, or enjoyed the scenic view of Harajiri Falls, which can be seen from a variety of angles, from the top, the front, and the riverbank near the bottom of the falls.
Oita also offers many delicious local dishes. Toriten, an Oita original, is made of bite-sized chunks of chicken seasoned with sake, garlic powder and ginger, rolled in flour and then deep fried in a tempura style. Beppy City has jigokumushi (literally “hell-steaming”), which is a style of cooking using the steam from natural hot springs to cook food, and is one of Beppu's most famous customs, dating back to the Edo Period. While enjoying these local dishes, you might have had a drink of shochu, which is Oita's favourite alcoholic beverage. Many people think of barley shochu when they think of Oita’s liquor, and one of more well-know shochu in Oita is the Enma brand.
Shochu From Oita Prefecture
The brewery that produces Enma shohcu was established in the Hita region of Oita Prefecture in 1789, in the middle of the Edo period. Since then, Oimatsu Shuzo has been making shochu and sake from barley and rice nurtured by the rich nature and limpid water filtered through a natural filter, the cedar forest.
A wooden tag hanging on the bottle of Enma series says, "In old sake breweries, there is a place that people can never get to. There is something still sleeping there after all these years...". True to this saying, Enma has been aged for more than three years in a historic sake brewery, and is a gem with a full flavor and a rich aftertaste. Its quality has been highly evaluated in international competitions.
Our recommendation is Kuro Enma, barley syochu made entirely with black malt, from the first brewing stage to the second brewing stage. It has a crisp and deep flavor with a refreshing taste. Try this shochu if you want to experience the local Oita taste!