Yamazaki Distillery reopens on November 1 after a hiatus from accepting tours since May this year 2023.
Hakushu distillery has just reopened and Yamazaki distillery will also reopen for tours next month on November 1.
This year is 2023, 100 years after the Yamazaki distillery was built.
We will report on what has changed at the Yamazaki Distillery and the current status of reservations for tours during this renovation, which is also the conclusion of the millennium year.
At the end of the article, we will write about the best way to make reservations, so please read to the end.
Please also see the report on the tour of Yamazaki distillery before the renovation.
- 1. About Suntory Holdings Limited
- 2. About Yamazaki Distillery
- 3. Renewal Details
- 4. Details of tours and how to make reservations
1. About Suntory Holdings Limited
The company was originally Torii Shoten, which was established in Osaka in 1899 by Shinjiro Torii at the age of 20.
While earning a living as an importer, his fortified wine “Akatama Port Wine” became a big hit.
He famously built Japan’s first whiskey distillery, the Yamazaki Distillery, using the money he earned from the Akadama Port Wine business.
Shinjiro, who loved to show off, was also enthusiastic about advertising, and his advertising department at the time included Akutagawa Award-winning author Ken Kaiko, Naoki Award-winning author Hitomi Yamaguchi, and Toshiro Kataoka, which led to the current major advertising production company, Sun-Ad. The advertisements that they launched attracted attention one after another, further accelerating their sales and name recognition.
They are also known for taking the first nude photo shoot in Japan.
|1923||Construction of Yamazaki Distillery begins.|
|1929||Domestic Whiskey “Shirofuda” is released.|
|1937||“Kakubin” is launched.|
|1946||“Tris Whiskey” is launched.|
|1950||“Old” is launched.|
|1969||“Special Reserve” is launched.|
|1972||Establishment of SunGrain Corporation, the predecessor of Chita Distillery|
|1973||Completion of Hakushu Steam House|
|1980||Yamazaki and Hakushu Distilleries undergo major renovations to further improve quality|
|1984||“Yamazaki” is launched.|
|1989||“Hibiki” is launched.|
|1994||“Hakushu” is launched.|
Yamazaki 12-Year-Old” at the International Spirits Competition
|2008||“Kaku Highball” marketing activities begin.|
|2010||First Japanese Company to be Awarded “Distiller of the Year” by ISC|
Distiller of the Year” at ISC
|2014||Acquired shares of U.S.-based Beam to expand portfolio and acquire global sales and distribution network.|
|2022||Hakushu 25-Year-Old Wins the Trophy, the Highest Award in the Japanese Whiskey Category, at the ISC|
Trophy”, the highest award in the Japanese Whisky category.
Suntory Whiskey 100th Anniversary
2. About Yamazaki Distillery
In fact, there have been seven pot stills, floor additions, renovations, etc.
Yamazaki distillery at the time of its establishment
Suntory’s founder, Shinjiro Torii, had a passionate desire to “create a Japanese whiskey that would suit the delicate Japanese palate” and decided to create whiskey.
In constructing the Yamazaki Distillery, Masataka Taketsuru, who had studied whisky production in Scotland, the home of Scotch whisky, was invited to Japan and appointed as the director of the Yamazaki Distillery.
Yamazaki is located southwest of Kyoto, at the foot of Mt. Yamazaki was chosen from among a number of candidate sites because of its “high quality water” and “natural environment,” both of which are important in whiskey production.
Current Yamazaki Distillery
Underground water from Mt. Tennozan to Mt. Nishiyama in Kyoto has a hardness of about 90 degrees.
Malt brewing volume is 4 to 16 tons.
Fermentation tanks are 12 stainless steel and 8 wooden Oregon pine.
The pot stills are a mixture of straight and bulge type, and both direct gas and indirect steam heating are used to produce a wide variety of shapes, necks, heating methods, and types of casks. The distillery is able to produce a variety of different types of sake, which is the most distinctive feature of Yamazaki Distillery.
The distillery has four dunnage and racking type aging cellars, but currently 19 huge aging cellars in Omi City, Shiga Prefecture, serve as the main storage facility.
The manufacturing facilities are introduced in detail in the pre-renovation tour report.
3. Renewal Details
The entrance area and other parts of the site have been transformed into a “forest” that expresses harmony with nature by planting plants and trees that grow in the surrounding mountain forests of Shimamoto-cho and Oyamazaki-machi. Visitors can pass through a gate made of reused copper from the distillation kettle and enjoy the atmosphere of mystery unique to Yamazaki’s “forest” as they approach the Yamazaki Whisky Pavilion, which will serve as the new reception desk for tours and other visits to the site.
Yamazaki Whisky Museum 《Exhibition》.
The Yamazaki Whisky Museum is a structure that has remained on the grounds of the Yamazaki Distillery since the time of its operation. The interior of this historic building has been designed to further strengthen the appeal of the inheritance and innovation of Suntory’s whiskey manufacturing that has continued from the founder, Shinjiro Torii, and to enhance the exhibition of the various types of sake produced at the Yamazaki Distillery and the creation of sake that can be aged for a long time. We also aimed to create an exhibit that would give visitors a sense of the attention to detail that goes into the craftsmanship at the Yamazaki Distillery, and foster a sense of anticipation for the future of the delicious quality of Japanese whiskey.
We have reopened a special tasting lounge where you can enjoy Suntory single malt whiskey “Yamazaki” brand and other Suntory whiskey brands, as well as original sake only available at this location, in a space surrounded by a variety of original bottles produced at the Yamazaki distillery. The tasting lounge is located in the same building as the Yamazaki distillery. The bar counter, which reuses the pot stills that used to be in operation at the Yamazaki distillery, stand tables facing the bottles of sake, and low chairs looking out the window at the “forest” outside the lounge, allow us to offer a wide variety of tastings to both those who are familiar with whisky and those who are new to the world of whisky. The new bar counter will provide a luxurious space for both new and experienced whisky drinkers to enjoy Japanese whisky in a way that is only possible at the Yamazaki Distillery.
（引用元：Suntory official website）
4. Details of tours and how to make reservations
The contents of the revamped Yamazaki Distillery tour are as follows. *Persons under 20 years old are not allowed to participate.
Yamazaki Distillery Manufacturing Tour
|the time required||80 minutes|
|entrance fee||3,000 yen (tax included)|
Visitors will be able to see the manufacturing site where Suntory Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki is produced and experience with all five senses the aromas and temperatures that can only be felt in that location. During the tasting, enjoy “Suntory Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki”, rare “Malt Whisky Original Sake” and “Yamazaki High Ball”.
After the tour, you can take home an original Yamazaki tasting glass.
Yamazaki Distillery Manufacturing Tour Prestige [Tuesdays and Thursdays
|the time required||120 min.|
|entrance fee||10,000 yen (tax included)|
You will see the manufacturing site where Suntory’s single malt whiskey “Yamazaki” brand is produced, and experience with all five senses the aromas and temperatures that can only be felt in that location. The tour will take you to the production area, which can only be visited on the Prestige Tour, and observe the actual work of the distillers, and will show you the unique manufacturing process at the Yamazaki Distillery. During the tasting, you will enjoy “Yamazaki 12year old” and rare “malt whisky”.
（引用元：Suntory official website）
How to make a reservation
Some of the current tours will be changed to a lottery system after the reopening.
The reservation start date differs between the lottery system and the first-come, first-served basis.
Please note that first-come, first-served is only for tours of the Whiskey Pavilion, which is the Visitor Center.
Since most visitors are likely to include a tour, we recommend that you make your reservation by lottery.
Please note that we do not accept applications by phone for the lottery system.
Paid tour by lottery: [November] October 2, 2023 (Monday) 13:00 – October 8, 2023 (Sunday) 16:29
Yamazaki Whiskey Museum Tour (free of charge, first-come-first-served basis): [For November] Friday, October 13, 2023, 10:00 –
Paid, lottery-based tours: [For December] October 14, 2023 (Sat) 10:00 – October 20, 2023 (Fri) 16:29
Yamazaki Whiskey Museum Tour (free of charge, first-come-first-served basis): [For December] Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 10:00 –
It is very attractive that those who pay 10,000 yen for the manufacturing tour can drink Yamazaki 12 years old!
Lastly, I would like to share with you a special offer.
For those who would like to make a reservation by lottery but may forget to do so, please go to this [Reservation Page] and you will find a small but useful LINE link under the calendar on the left side.
By registering as a friend of this “Adult Suntory” account, you will be notified of the start time of the reservation for the tours. It is very convenient, so please use it.
Yamazaki will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023, and the event that will mark the end of its history will be the Yamazaki Distillery, the first whiskey distillery in Japan.
The “Give it a try!” spirit bequeathed by Shinjiro Torii will continue 100 years from now, and its influence will continue to be felt today and will be passed on for another 50 years and 100 years to come.