Breweries in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Jul 19, 2023

Breweries in Kumamoto

One of the most thriving areas of Japan’s Kyushu region, Kumamoto has a strong history of alcohol production. Not just in the nation’s favorite tipple of sake but also in another national beverage of shochu, not to mention craft beer producers that have emerged in recent years.

You can find over 40 breweries of different kinds in Kumamoto, including 13 that belong to the Kumamoto Sake and Shochu Makers Association. Here is a pick of the finest.

Kameman Shuzo

The southernmost sake brewery in all of Japan has a fascinating history. It was started by a local doctor in 1916 to use up the surplus rice he kept receiving as payment for medical services in the area. The brewery produces various sake types, including the premium honjozo-shu blend. Sake is brewed using the nantan kori jimoki method using ice.


Zuiyo Sake Brewery

Believed to be Kumamoto’s oldest brewery, the Zuiyo brewery started in 1867 as a producer of akazake, a unique type of “red sake” distinct to Kumamoto. The brewery was also the former base of the Kumamoto Prefecture Sake Institute until it relocated in 1922. The high-quality sake created here results from close work with local rice farmers and high-quality groundwater that has produced award-winning Junmai Ginjo sake. In addition to various sake types, the brewery makes shochu and akazake. There is a showroom and tasting area where you can sample products and learn about the distillery process.


Chiyonosono Shuzo

Located in the city of Yamaga, this brewery is known for sake aficionados. It has honed its craft since opening in 1896 and prides itself on the quality of its rice, which is carefully polished to just the right ratio. The brewery was a rice wholesaler in its early days and cultivated its variety of rice called Kyushu Shinriki. It was one of the first distilleries to start making Junmai sake and is always looking to push the envelope with new products to introduce to the market.


Bishonen Shuzo

This sake brewery in the town of Kikuchi is actually a converted former elementary school. Where children once learned, rice is now steamed and polished, and fine Japanese alcohol is brewed! The secret to Bishonen’s fine-tasting product is partly down to the quality of its rice, which is collected from fields close to the Kikuchi gorge. This rice is the source of premium Junmai ginjo and daiginjo sake that has won awards in countries such as France and the US.


Diamond Brewery

This brewery is one of Kumamoto’s most successful new craft beer enterprises. Starting in the back of the Kaen restaurant in 2017, it now sells its products from two other outlets in the city: the World Beer Terminal in the downtown area and the Seafood Beer Station in the Amu Plaza. Sip from a range of bottled and draught beers, including IPAs, cherry beers, and licorice beers.


Culture Japon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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