The Mitosaya Botanical Distillery is located in Chiba, right in the middle of the Boso Peninsula. A little over a 1 hour drive from Tokyo, the distillery is not only surrounded by nature, it houses over 500 different varieties of herbs on it’s sprawling 16,000sqm organic farm. It’s these and other local ingredients that go into the many varieties of brandy and spirits that the distillery produces.
This distillery is actually a former herbal garden that opened in 1987 and they were the ones responsible for cultivating the hundreds of herbs. But after almost 30 years of business, the garden succumbed to the tide of times and closed down in 2015. The assets were sold to the local municipality.
But as luck would have it, Hiroshi Eguchi, the founder of indie bookseller UTRECHT, would be returning to Japan shortly after leaving the bookshop and pursuing a passion for distillery. Specifically, he was wrapping up a year of studies at German distilling house Stählemühle. Upon returning to Japan in 2016, Eguchi went on a search for a site he could pour his newly acquired knowledge into and he stumbled upon the shuttered herbal garden.
He purchased the land and went on to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign to kick-start his new venture. He teamed up with creatives from his former community such as architect Hideyuki Nakayama, who helped to renovate the old structures, and designer Hideyuki Yamano, who would create the logo and packaging designs for the new products. Mitosaya Botanical Distillery opened in 2018.
Mitosaya, which comes from the Japanese words for “fruit and pod,” currently produces a line of botanical spirits and teas. But they open their farm once a month to visitors, offering guided tours and tastings, as well as craft cocktails. It’s an easy day trip from Tokyo and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. They post upcoming open-house dates on their website.