List of Japanese Whisky Distilleries (Updated in January 2021, 27 locations in total)

● Update (2021/1/28) Started operation in February 2021, added “Kuzumi distillery” in Oita Prefecture

Everyone knows that the first whisky distillery in Japan is Yamazaki Distillery, which started operations in 1924. Since then, many whisky distilleries have been built in Japan. In recent years, Japanese whisky has become a worldwide boom, and around 2016, many whisky distilleries were created through through through out in Japan. The newly founded distillery is called by various ways such as craft whisky, craft distillery, new generation distillery, etc., but regardless of size, we have listed whisky distilleries that are currently in operation. From Hokkaido to Okinawa, all 26 whisky distilleries are in operation through all over Japan, and one is planned to be built in the future!

1. Hokkaido Area

1-1. Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery

The distillery was started in 1936 by Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, who is known as the father of Japanese whisky, in search of his own whisky-making utopia.

Masataka Taketsuru believes that a cool and humid climate similar to Scotland, rich water sources and dignified and clear air are essential for making ideal whisky, so he chose Yoichi, located west of Otaru and at the base of the Shakotan Peninsula, from among various candidate sites.

A whisky distillery that can be said to be the origin of Nikka Whisky.

Location 〒046-0003 7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi-cho, Yoichi-gun, Hokkaido
Access 2-3 minutes walk from JR Hokkaido Yoichi Station Approximately
30 minutes’ drive from Otaru City Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive from Sapporo City Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes’ drive from New Chitose Airport
Start of operation 1936
Official website Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery
Tour General tour available / Distillery guided tour must be
fully booked *The distillery tour, which was suspended from Friday, July 17, 2020, will be partially restricted.
Product Single Malt Yoichi

Click here for Nikka Whisky Whisky Review

1-2. Akkeshi Distillery

Akkeshi Distillery launched as a new business separately from its main business. With a strong desire to make whisky like Isla malt using traditional Scottish methods, the facilities were designed by Forsyth in Scotland.

Like isla whisky making, water through peat layers is used for water, and it is matured every day in “Akkeshi”, a place where cool, moist and sea breeze hits.

Location 〒088-1124 4-109-2 Miyazono, Akkeshi-cho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido
Access Approximately 15 minutes by taxi from JR Akkeshi Station Approximately 50 minutes by Akan Bus from Kushiro Airport to JR Kushiro Station Approximately 50 minutes from JR Kushiro Station to JR Akkeshi Station on the JR Nemuro Main Line
Start of operation Distillation started in October 2016
Official website Akkeshi Distillery
Tour It is sponsored by “Akkeshi Taste Terminal Conkirie”. Click here for application and details *All tours this year have been canceled.
Product Akkeshi Single Malt Whisky Kanro, Akkeshi whisky SARORUNKAMUY, Akkeshi Newbourne 1-4

Click here for a thick shore distillery whisky review

1-3. Benizakura Distillery(Hokkaido Free whisky)

Benizakura Distillery is operated by Hokkaido Free Whisky in Sapporo
City, Hokkaido. It is now a hot topic distillery with craft gin, not whisky. Gin distilled using ingredients unique to Hokkaido has a unique taste and quickly became a hot topic.

The company name is “Hokkaido Free Whisky Co., Ltd.”, but at present there is no information on whisky making at Benizakura Distillery, so we are paying attention to future movements.

2. Tohoku Area

2-1. Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Distillery

It has been about 30 years since Nikka Whisky founder Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky, started the first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido. Masataka Taketsuru, who believes that “by blending multiple original sakes born in different distilleries, whisky becomes more tasteful and rich”, began to move in search of a new distillery construction site.

Close to the prefectural border with Yamagata, this is a lush gorge blessed with two clear streams, the Hirose River and the Shinkawa River. When Taketsuru visited this place for the first time, he drank the black nikka he had in the clear stream of the Shinkawa River and checked the taste. It is said that they decided to build a distillery on the spot.

Image Source: Miyagikyo Distillery | NIKKA WHISKY
Image:Miyagikyo Distillery | NIKKA WHISKY
Location 〒989-3433 1 Nikka, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi

<電車> From JR Sendai Station to Jr Senzan Line Nami Station (1 train per hour): About 40 minutes
<無料シャトルバス> On Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, a shuttle bus from JR Nami Station to Miyagikyo Distillery runs (round trip) ※It takes about 7 minutes one way
<バス> From Sendai Station, get off at “Nikkabashi” for Machinami Onsen (municipal bus) ※Time required: About 60 minutes

Start of operation 1969
Official website Nikka Whisky MiyagiKyo Distillery
Tour General tour available / Distillery guided tour must be
fully booked *The distillery tour, which was suspended from Friday, July 17, 2020, will be partially restricted.
Product Single Malt Miyagikyo

Click here for Nikka Whisky Whisky Review

2-2. Yusa Distillery (Kinryu)

From Yamagata, we offer the highest quality Japanese whisky that the world admires.

Kinryu Co., Ltd., which operates yusa distillery, was founded in 1950 as a joint venture between nine sake makers in Yamagata Prefecture, producing neutral spirits called brewing alcohol and kosan shochu made with continuous steamers.

Kinryu is yamagata’s only manufacturer specializing in shochu, but when considering the decline in consumption of shochu and sake and the problems of the population of Yamagata Prefecture, the whisky business was a new business for the future.

At the Whisky Festival held in 2019, several new makeups from Yusa Distillery were unveiled.

Location 〒999-8302 20 Kakujida, Yoshide, Yuza-cho, Akumi-gun, Yamagata

Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes by train from JR Niigata Station to JR Yusa Station Approximately 25 minutes’ walk from JR Yusa Station (5 minutes by car)

Start of operation 2018
Official website Kinryu Yusa Distillery Co., Ltd.
Tour General tours are not scheduled for the time being.

2-3. Asaka Distillery (Sasanokawa Sake Brewery)

Sasanokawa Sake Brewery, which operates the Asaka Distillery, is a long-established sake brewery founded in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture in 1765 and has been in production for about 250 years, and acquired a whisky production license in 1946 shortly after the war, and until around 1980, it stopped distilling raw sake due to the sluggish domestic market.

Following the resurgence of the whisky boom from the 2010s, in 2015 he decided to establish a full-fledged malt whisky distillery and purchased Miyake Seisakusho’s stills, which can be delivered within a year. The following year, in 2016, we resumed raw sake distillation at the Asaka Distillery, which introduced facilities to sake breweries.  In December 2019, Asaka Distillery, tohoku’s oldest craft whisky, launched its first single malt, “Azumi The First”.

Image source: Asaka Distillery Official Facebook

The products on display at the Whisky Festival 2019 were the Yamazakura series, which was made from barrels stored in the past, as well as new pots and new bones newly created at Asaka Distillery.

Location 〒963-0108 1-178 Sasanokawa, Koriyama City, Fukushima

Approximately 10 minutes’ drive from JR Koriyama Station Approximately 10 minutes’ walk from JR Azumi Eimori Station

Start of operation In 2016
Official website Sasakawa Sake Brewery
Asaka Distillery Official Twitter
Tour Reservation required
Product Asaka The First

3. Kanto Area

3-1. Yasato Distillery (Kiuchi Shuzo, Kumita Brewery)

Image source: Kiuchi Shuzo Official Website

Founded in 1823 in Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Kiuchi Shuzo manufactures sake and kikumori, as well as shochu, wine, liqueurs, and craft beer Hitachino Nest Beer.

In 2016, we started making whisky unique to Hitachino, taking advantage of the revived Japanese phantom beer barley “Kaneko Golden” while making Hitachino Nest beer. In April 2019, the company commercialized highballs in cans, starting with offering them at directly managed stores after aging.

In order to further pursue Japanese whisky making, we built the Yasato Distillery at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba and started operations in 2020.

Image source: Kiuchi Shuzo Official Website
Location 〒315-0151 1300-8 Sugama, Ishioka City, Ibaraki

Approxmately 35 minutes by taxi from Ishioka Station on the JR Joban Line
Approximately 20 minutes from Tsuchiura Kita IC on the Joban Expressway via the Fruit Line
Approximately 20 minutes from Chiyoda Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway via the Fruit L
ine Approximately 20 minutes via the Fruit Line from Ishioka Komitama Smart IC on the Joban Expressway

Start of operation 2020 Yasato Distillery
(Nukada Brewery started distillation in 2016)
Official website Kiuchi Shuzo Yasato Distillery

3-2. Venture Whisky Chichibu Distillery

Chichibu Distillery, which started operations in 2008, has become a whisky manufacturer attracting attention around the world as “Ichiro’s Malt” in just a few years. Toa Shuzo, which was run by the father of the founder Ichiro Akuto, owned Hanyu Distillery and produced whisky. When Mr. Akuto took over in 2001, it was in poor management, and in 2003, it was transferred to “Hinode-Tsusho”. At that time, it was decided to withdraw from the whisky business, and the whisky that had been stored was threatened with being discarded. I worked hard to find a taker, succeeded in obtaining cooperation from Sasanokawa Sake Brewery, and was able to rent a storage and move the whisky stored at Hanyu Distillery. After that, he sold whisky using the original sake of Hanyu Distillery with Sasanokawa Sake Brewery. Mr. Akuto established Venture Whisky Co., Ltd. in 2004, and in 2007 he completed a whisky distillery in Chichibu because it was his hometown and an environment suitable for sake brewing.

Image source: Whisukipedia | BS Fuji

Whisky Festival 2019. I was able to sample some products from the products released so far. The booth always represented the popularity of Ichiro’s Malt in the procession.

Location 〒368-0067 49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu City, Saitama

Approximately 15 minutes by taxi from Minano Station on the Chichibu Railway
Approximately 20 minutes by taxi from Seibu Chichibu Station on the Seibu Line
From the Kanetsu Expressway Hanazono Interchange, go straight to Chichibu and the Allano-ying Toll Road. Pass through the toll office and go down at the second exit, go straight through the intersection Otsuka, turn right at the next intersection, check the guide sign for Midorigaoka Industrial Park, and proceed.

Start of operation In 2007
Official website Chichibu Distrillery Facebook Page
Tour For professionals only. We do not provide general tours.
Product Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve, Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries, Ichiro’s Malt & Grain… Etc

3-3. Venture Whisky Chichibu No.2 Distillery

In 2018, chichibu no. 2 distillery was operated about 400 meters away from Chichibu Distillery. At the second distillery, fermentors were changed from mizunara to French oak. In addition, pot stills have been changed from indirect heating with steam to open-flame heating with gas. Alcohol equivalent production is about five times that of 160 liters per day for the first distillery and 800 liters per day for the second distillery. Ichiro’s malt is currently difficult to obtain, but with the start of operation of the second distillery, production volume is expected to increase significantly in the future, and the circulation of products is expected to increase.

4. Chubu Area

4-1. Shinobu Distillery (Niigata Beer)

Niigata Beer Brewery, a craft brewery in Niigata, obtained its first whisky distillation license in Niigata City in 2016 with the aim of providing high-quality whisky to spirits lovers using local shimizu.

While the distillery is under construction, we import raw sake aged in sherry and bourbon barrels from distilleries around the world and mix it at the Niigata Plant (Niigata City) to make whisky “Koshino Shinobu”. Mizunara finish is characterized by a rich aroma that has been additionally aged in domestic mizunara barrels. 90% of the production is for export, of which 40% is from the United States. Pay attention to
future trends, including the construction of distilleries.

Image source: Shinobi Distillery Shinobu Distillery

Location 〒953-0012 5120 Echi-Maehama, Nishi-Gama-ku, Niigata City, Niigata

Access from the nearest station / 10 minutes by car from JR Echigo Line “Maki Station” Access from the nearest IC / 20 minutes by car from The Makigata Higashi IC on the Hokuriku Expressway

Start of operation Under construction
Official website Niigata Beer Shinobu Distillery
Product Koshino Shinobu Pure Malt, Koshino Shinobu Blended whisky, Koshino Shinobu Pure Malt 10 Years, Koshino Shinobu Pure Malt 15 Years

4-2. Hakushu Distillery (Suntory Spirits)

Suntory sought a different type of malt whisky from Yamazaki Distillery, and continued to search for water that was of good quality and perfect for whisky preparation. And from the survey of various parts of The Country, you will encounter the land of “Hakushu”, one of the most famous water areas in Japan. In 1973, exactly 50 years after the first whisky production in Japan, Suntory’s second malt whisky distillery, Hakushu Distillery, finally started operation.

The feature of Hakushu Distillery is that it is the making of a variety of original sake that is unparalleled in the world. In the fermentation process, we are particular about wooden vat fermentors with excellent heat insulation, and create a unique flavor unique to Hakushu by the work of microorganisms such as lactic acid bacteria that live in the distillery. In the distillation process, various types of original sake are made in all processes from preparation to fermentation, distillation, and storage (maturation), such as using different types of distillation pots of different sizes and shapes, and using various barrels in the storage (maturation) process.

Image source: Single Malt Whisky Hakushu

Image source: Suntory Hakushu Distillery

Location 〒408-0316 2913-1 Torihara, Hakushu-cho, Hokuto City, Yamanashi

From Nirasaki Station on the Chuo Main Line, take a bus to Shimonishi lower and get off at matsubara-kami bus stop (1 day). A 15-minute taxi ride from Kobuchizawa Station on the Chuo Main Lin
e. A 20-minute shuttle bus (limited time) from Kobuchizawa Station on the Chuo Main Line.

Start of operation 1973
Official website Suntory Hakushu Distillery
Tour The factory tour is suspended. (As of December 27, 2020)
Product Single Malt Whisky Hakushu, Single Malt Whisky Hakushu 18 Years, Single Malt Whisky Hakushu 25 Years

4-3. Mars Shinshu Distillery (Hombo Sake Brewery)

Image Source: Kura/Distillery/Mars Shin-state Distillery | Honbo Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Masataka Taketsuru is known as the parent of domestic whisky. At that time, it was “Kiichiro Iwai” of Settsu Shuzo (the parent of Mars whisky) who entrusted the dawn of authentic Japanese whisky to Mr. Taketsuru who was 24 years old, and sent him to Scotland as the boss.

After returning to Japan, Mr. Taketsuru compiled the results of the whisky training into a “Whisky Report” and submitted it to Mr. Kiichiro Iwai. It is commonly called “Taketsuru Report” or “Taketsuru Note”.

Hombo Shuzo is a sake brewery that mainly makes shochu in Kagoshima, but after obtaining a whisky production license in 1949, he continued to dream of “one day making real whisky that takes advantage of the Japanese climate”.

In 1960, Kiichiro Iwai designed “Taketsuru Note” and established Mars Yamanashi Winery, a factory for wine and whisky production. In order to fully work on whisky making, we searched for a more ideal place, and in 1985 we operated “Mars Shinshu Distillery” in Nagano Prefecture. Surrounded by a beautiful green forest at the foot of Mt. Komagadake in the Central Alps, the distillery is located in the silence of the clear air.

It is an exhibition at the whisky festival in 2019. New products released in Iwai Tradition, Mortage Kosumo, Komagadake Limited 2019 and Spring 2020 were also on display.

Location 〒399-4301 4752-31 Miyatamura, Kamiina-gun, Nagano
■By train
Take the JR Iida Line to Komagane Station or Miyata Station, then take a taxi for about 10 minutes.
■By car
Approximately 5 minutes from Komagane IC on chuo expressway
Start of operation 1985
Official website Hombo Shuzo Mars-Shinshu Distillery
Tour You can visit. Application required by e-mail form and fax.
Product Single Malt Whisky Komagadake

4-4. Komoro Distillery (Karuizawa Distilled Spirits Manufacturing)

Karuizawa Distillery Manufacturing Co., Ltd. announced at a press conference in Komoro City that it will build a “Komoro distillery” in Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture. A small distillery was built in Matsui-ku, Komoro city, and it is scheduled to be completed in 2022. The company plans to start selling single malts in 2027.

Karuizawa Distillery Manufacturing Co., Ltd. announces the construction of “Komoro Distillery” in Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture. It is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

4-5. Fuji Gotemba Distillery (Kirin Distillery)

In August 1972, Kirin Seagram Co., Ltd. was established through a joint venture between Kirin Beer (Japan), JE Seagram (U.S.A.), and Seabass Brothers (U.K.), and Fuji Gotemba Distillery was established in August 1973.

Image Source: Wiskipedia | BS Fuji 5th 2020/4/9 Broadcast

Fuji Gotemba Distillery has been particular about the production of “Grain Whisky” using corn and wheat as raw materials for whisky. Continuous distillers are commonly used to manufacture grain whisky. Fuji Gotemba Distillery makes full use of three types of continuous distillers, “multi-column”, “kettle”, and “dubber”, to create a variety of grain whiskys.

As a typical whisky, there was “Mt. Fuji foot barrel ripening sake 50°”, but due to demand that exceeded expectations from 2018, it became difficult to supply the raw sake necessary for production, and it sold out at the end of March 2019. No successor products were released, but the “Mt. Fuji Foot Signature Blend”, which was released in 2017, began to be generally distributed in the domestic market from 2018, and is now sold as a current product.

Image Source: Wiskipedia | BS Fuji 5th 2020/4/9 Broadcast

In 2016, “Fuji Gotemba Distillery Single Grain Whisky AGED 25 YEARS SMALL BATCH” won the “World’s Best Grain Award” at the World Whisky Awards 2016. On March 31,2017, Jota Tanaka, master blender at Kirin Distillery Fuji Gotemba Distillery, won the World’s Top Prize in the Icons of Whisky Master Distillery and Master Blender Category. On March 27, 2020, Kirin Single Grain Whisky Fuji 30 years won the World’s Best Grain Award at the World Whisky Awards 2020.

Image Source:Wiskipedia | BS Fuji 5th 2020/4/9 Broadcast
Location 〒412-0003 970 Shibata, Gotemba City, Shizuoka
Access ■Free shuttle bus service from JR Gotemba Station
Please leave JR Gotemba Station and the ticket gate and proceed to otomeguchi. The station roundabout is the shuttle bus stop.
■ Take the Tomei Expressway Gotemba I .C towards Lake Yamanaka, then go straight on Route 138 for about 6km to the right
Start of operation 1973
Official website Kirin Distillery Fuji Gotemba Distillery
Tour You can visit. *For the time being, only guests residing in Shizuoka Prefecture can visit the museum. *Factory tours and shops are closed from Monday, December 21 to Thursday, January 7, 2021.
Product Fujisanroku Signature Blend, Single Grain Whisky Fuji

4-6. Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery

Image source: Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka whisky

Gaiaflow Distillering Co., Ltd. purchased and acquired whisky production equipment from Mercian Karuizawa Distillery in March 2015. Reusable equipment such as crushers and distillers used for malt grinding were relocated to Shizuoka Distillery after repairs and improvements, and preparations for whisky production were promoted.

In 2015, the company began construction of a Shizuoka distillery in the Area called Tamagawa in the Okushizu (Oku-Shizuoka area) in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and obtained a whisky manufacturing license in September 2016. Whisky production started i
n October 2016. It is manufactured with three distillers: a distiller (K) relocated from Karuizawa Distillation And two Distillers (W) made in Scotland.

Image source: Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Whisky
Image Source: Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka whisky

A distillery that uses plenty of Hinoki grown in Okushizu and is a naturally one. We aim to create whisky that harmonizes with nature, rooted in the climate of Shizuoka.

Image source: Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka whisky
Location 〒421-2223 555 Ochiai,Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka
Access 60 minutes from JR Shizuoka Station by local bus “Shizutetus Just Line” Take bus stop “Shizuoka Ekimae” line 9 Get off at Abe
Line (118 to Kamikora) bus stop “Okunoharaue” and walk for 1 minute Alternatively, get off at The Abe Line (119 Yokozawa) bus stop “Kamisuke” and walk for 15 minutes.
Start of operation In 2016
Official website GaiaFlow Shizuoka Distillery
Tour You can visit. Reservations required from the tour page on the website
Product Single Malt Whisky Shizuoka “Prologue K”

4-7. Saburomaru Distillery (Wakatsuru Shuzo)

Wakatsuru Shuzo Co., Ltd., which operates the Saburomaru Distillery, is a sake brewery with a very long history in the Hokuriku area, which began producing sake in Saburomaru Village, Tonami-gun, Toyama Prefecture in 1862.

After the end of World War II, in order to overcome the difficult situation, we independently researched distilled spirit production and obtained a whisky production license in 1952. Since 1953, we have been selling Sunshine whisky in Toyama Prefecture.

Image Source: Saburomaru Distillery, | Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.

In 2016, more than 60 years after the first whisky construction, the distillery was also aging. “We can’t let hokuriku’s only distillery and the whisky-making that has continued so far be cut off. So, we launched the Saburomaru Distillery Renovation Project and challenged crowdfunding to secure funds. In 2017, Saburomaru Distillery renovated its buildings and manufacturing facilities and started again as a whisky distillery with the support of 38,255,000 yen, far exceeding the target amount of 25 million yen, in response to the passion for whisky making that it has been protecting for more than 60 years and the challenge of growing Toyama’s whisky into the world’s whisky.

Image Source: Saburomaru Distillery, | Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.

In 2019, we developed zemon, the world’s first cast distiller, in joint development with Oigo Manufacturing Co., Ltd., a master craftsman of bon bell making.

Location 〒939-1308 208 Saburomaru, Tonami City, Toyama
Access Get off at Aburaden Station on the JR Johana Line from Shin-Takaoka Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and walk for 1 minute.
Start of operation 1953 (renovated in 2016)
Official website Wakatsuru Shuzo Saburomaru Distillery
Tour You can visit. Reservations required from the tour page on the website
Product Sunshine whisky, Single Malt Saburomaru, Moongrow

4-8. Chita Distillery (Suntory)

Chita Distillery is located in Chita Peninsula, overlooking Ise Bay. This is a grain whisky distillery established by the Suntory Group in collaboration with the Zenno Group. One of suntory’s three distilleries in Japan.

Image source: Suntory Chita Distillery Co., Ltd.

For more than 40 years since the start of operation in 1973, we have continued to make grain whisky made mainly from corn. China’s original sake is blended into the world-renowned blended whisky “Hibiki” and “Kakubin”, bringing out the individuality of malted sake produced at Suntory Yamazaki Distillery and Hakushu Distillery, resulting in a smoother mouthfeen. In 2015, the company launched Chita, a single grain whisky composed of grain raw materials from the Chita Distillery.

Image source: Suntory Chita Distillery Co., Ltd.
Location 〒478-0046 16 Kitahamacho, Chita City, Aichi
Start of operation 1973
Official website Suntory Chita Distillery
Tour It is not open to the public.
Product Single Grain Whisky Chita

4-9. Nagahama Distillery (Nagahama Roman Beer)

Japan’s smallest Nagahama distillery in the northernpart of Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture. In 1996, Nagahama Roman Beer, which began producing the third craft beer in and has been making craft beer for 20 years, started distilling whisky by operating nagahama distillery on the site in 2016.

Image source: Nagahama Roman Beer Nagahama Distillery

Inspired by a Scottish craft distillery, it features alan-bick-shaped pot stills and rich, fruity, grain-derived, richly sweetened liquors flowing from the ultra-fine line arms.

Image source: Nagahama Roman Beer Nagahama Distillery

In 2020, “Amahagan”, a blend of malt from Nagahama Distillery based on overseas malt whisky, achieved the feat of winning three of the four regular series at the WWA (World Whisky Award).