Otokoyama Honten was founded in 1912, and for over 100 years we have continued to make sake in Kesennuma, one of Japan's most prominent port towns. Our main company building was built in 1932 and designated a national Tangible Cultural Property, but it was struck and destroyed by the tsunami triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The tsunami stopped only a few meters shy of our sake brewery, which managed to emerge unscathed, and with the moromi (fermenting mash) that survived the disaster, we recommenced our sake brewing the day after the earthquake.
So many things were swept into the sea and lost, but this only strengthened the resolve on the part of local citizens that the surviving products of the region should not be allowed to disappear. Our community – and indeed people throughout the entire country – have encouraged us to contribute to the recovery effort by continuing our sake production, and this has made us all the more determined to persist in our efforts. This tragedy has once again reminded us of the importance of the bonds that link us to our region, our community, and all those who enjoy our sake, returning us to the roots that have sustained us from the very beginning.
Today, as always, we go about our daily business of brewing sake that makes the most of our local resources, complements the local cuisine, and is beloved by consumers in the local area, throughout the country, and beyond.
Located in Japan's northeastern Tohoku region, Kesennuma city lies on the Pacific Ocean and is home to one of Japan's busiest ports. Fishermen here harvest a rich bounty of fresh local fish, including bonito, tuna, shark and pacific saury, in addition to locally cultivated oysters and scallops. A trip to Kesennuma is not complete without a taste of the delicious local seafood, and whether you prefer sushi, sashimi or grilled fish, you will find plenty to enjoy.
The Kesennuma coastline also constitutes a part of the Sanriku Geopark, Japan's largest geopark, and the region as a whole is blessed with an abundance of nature. The area serves as a base for coastal, offshore and deep-sea fishing, in addition to fish-farming, and with its accompanying industries of shipbuilding and seafood processing, it functions as an important hub for the marine products industry as a whole. This picturesque port town, with a population of around 65,000, attracts tourists year-round with its beautiful environment and bountiful seafood. With its relatively cool summers and warm winters, visitors will find Kesennuma a pleasant destination in any season.
We offer tours of our sake brewery that give visitors a look at our brewing process, our history and the philosophy behind our sake production. We are happy to give both group and individual tours.