Tonneru-no-Eki, a products museum and tunnel storehouse for aging oak cask shochu

You may have known that Miyazaki Prefecture is famous for its barley shochu. What you may not know is that there is a storehouse in a tunnel in Takachiho, specifically for aging oak cask shochu.

The storehouse, called Tonneru-no-Eki, is uniquely located in a tunnel and offers store-exclusive shochu, making it a must-visit location for shochu lovers.

Location of Tonneru-no-Eki

Tonneru-no-Eki is located along National Route 325, which connects Takachiho town to Takamori town in Kumamoto Prefecture.

It will be on the right-hand side of the road if you are coming from Takachiho town, or on the left-hand side if you are coming from Kumamoto Prefecture. Keep an eye out for the landmark – a blue train cart near the entrance.

Tunnel storehouse for oak cask aged shochu

The tunnel located on the right-hand side of the property is the storehouse for the shochu.

Visitors can explore the storehouse at their own leisure. As you get closer to the entrance, you’ll smell the sweet aroma of alcohol, spreading through the air.

The tunnel had originally been dug out for the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express, until construction was halted due to flooding.

There is a information sign explaining the history of the tunnel.

A display near the entrance of the tunnel features products made by Kagura Shuzo (神楽酒造), the company that operates the storehouse. The bottles give a sense of the history of the products.

Inside the tunnel are rows and rows of oak casks, lined up as far as the eye can see. There is an astounding 1,300 total oak casks inside of the tunnel! This is where the shochu is aged.

The storehouse is dimly lit, giving it a distinct ambiance. In recent years, it has also become a popular photo spot.

Tonneru-no-Eki, a products museum that offers store-exclusive shochu

Tonneru-no-Eki is a products museum run by local shochu brewer Kagura Shuzo (神楽酒造). Here you will find shochu and Takachiho souvenirs.

You will also find long-aged shochu developed in the tunnel storehouse. The recommended “KUROUMA taru,” which is aged for six years, has even won the Double Gold Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition!

There is also the long-aged barley shochu “Nijika” (虹香), which is only available at Tonneru-no-Eki. It is a Tonneru-no-Eki original, store-exclusive product made with a base of shochu that has been aged for many years in casks in the tunnel.

It is a part of the “Kuramoto” (蔵元) series, with “kuramoto” translating to “place of origin” or “distillery” in Japanese. The Kuramoto limited-edition versions of the “Himuka no Kurouma” (ひむかのくろうま) and “Tenson Kourin” (天孫降臨) shochus are only available at Tonneru-no-Eki and the Kagura Shuzo distillery in Saito City.

The “Tenson Kourin” (天孫降臨) is a popular sweet potato shochu. The “Otokomai” (男舞), which is made with black koji mold, and the “Onnamai” (女舞), made with white koji mold, are only available in Miyazaki Prefecture.

You can also sample various Kagura Shuzo shochus and liqueurs to find one you like.

(*Note that samples may not be offered as a measure against infectious disease.)

We recommend the mini-bottles for those who want to try many different shochus and liqueurs. The popular 300 ml bottles comes in packages labeled “A tour of Takachiho” (高千穂巡り), making them perfect Takachiho souvenirs.

In addition to shochus and liqueurs, Tonneru-no-Eki also offers a wide selection of others souvenirs. These include local products from Takachiho, as well as those from Miyazaki Prefecture and the neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture.

Takachiho is also known for its Takachiho kagura (ancient Shinto music and dancing ritual). Tonneru-no-Eki also offers kagura masks of all sizes. Why not bring a bit of Takachiho home with you?

Lots to see and do! A steam locomotive from the Taisho Era (1912-1926)

Located on the property is a waterfall called the Tenson Korin Falls (天孫降臨の滝). There is also a statue of a black horse nearby, which has made it a popular photo spot.

A train that used to run on the now-discontinued Takachiho Railway has been painted sky blue and turned into a rest area.

There is also a real steam locomotive on display, which was built in 1921 and ran for 52 years before it was retired. It is a magnificent sight to behold, with many visitors coming here just to see it!

Conclusion

So how was the Takachiho tourism and products museum Tonneru-no-Eki?

It is a must-visit for shochu lovers, and we recommend it whole-heartedly.

Be sure to stop by the next time you find yourself in Takachiho♪

 

 

 

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