On July 15, Otokoyama Honten, a more than 100-year-old sake brewery in Kesennuma of the coastal Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, finally re-opened its shop after being severely damaged by a devastating tsunami in 2011.
It was nine years and four months after this building was heavily damaged by the tsunami triggered by the 9.0-magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Otokoyama Honten was founded in 1912, and is known for its brands ‘気仙沼 男山/Kesennuma Otokoyama’,’蒼天伝/Sotenden’ and ‘美禄/Biroku‘. Its main building was built in 1932 in Sakanamachi, an area that sits at the seafront.
The building was designated as a national Tangible Cultural Property. It was three-story high, but due to the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the first and second floors collapsed and only the third floor remained.
The shop re-opened this month after the first and second floors were reconstructed and the remaining third floor was renovated.
According to their web site, the tsunami stopped only a few meters away from their sake brewery which is located slightly inland from the building at Sakanamachi. As a result, the brewery was unscathed, and with the moromi (fermenting mash) that survived the disaster, they recommenced their sake brewing the day after the earthquake.
For your information, sake brewery tours are now tentatively closed due to Covid-19.