List of whisky distilleries in Japan (updated January 2021, total 27)

You may know that the first whisky distillery in Japan was the Yamazaki Distillery, which started operations in 1924. Since then, many whisky distilleries have been built in Japan.
Nowadays, Japanese whisky is booming worldwide, and many whisky distilleries have been built all over Japan around 2016.
The newly established distilleries are called by various names such as craft whisky, craft distilleries, and new generation distilleries. We’ve compiled a list of whisky distilleries, both large and small, that are currently in operation.
From Hokkaido to Okinawa, there are a total of 26 whisky distilleries in operation throughout Japan, with one planned to be built in the future, making a total of 27!

   1.Hokkaido

  1-1. Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery 

The Yoichi Distillery was started in 1936 by Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, who is known as the father of whisky in Japan, in search of an ideal place to make whisky.

Masataka Taketsuru thought that a place with a cool and humid climate similar to that of Scotland, abundant water sources, and clear air was essential for ideal whisky production, and selected Yoichi, located at the base of the Shakotan Peninsula west of Otaru, from among various candidate sites.

This whisky distillery can truly be called the origin of Nikka Whisky.

Location Kurokawa town Yoichi city Yoichi – gun Hokkaido 〒046-0003
Access2-3 minutes walk from JR Hokkaido Yoichi Station
About 30 minutes from Otaru City by car
About 1 hour and 30 minutes from Sapporo City by car
About 2 hours and 30 minutes from ShinChitose Airport by car
Start of operation1936
Official WebsiteNikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery
ObservationOpen to the public / Distillery guided tours by reservation only
Tours of the distillery, which had been temporarily suspended, will resume on Friday, July 17, 2020, with some restrictions.
GoodsSingle Malt Yoichi

Click here to read Nikka Whisky’s whisky review

   1-2. Kenten Jistugyo Akkeshi Distillery

The Akkeshi Distillery was established by Kenten Jitsugyo as a new business separate from its main business.
With a strong desire to “make whisky like Islay malt using traditional Scottish methods,” they introduced equipment made by Forsythe in Scotland.

Just like the whisky making process on the island of Islay, water that passes through a layer of peat is used as the brewing water, and the whisky is matured daily in “Akkeshi”, a place that is cool, wet, and exposed to the sea breeze.

 

Location

4-109-2 Miyazono Akkeshi town Akkeshi-gun Hokkaido 〒088-1124
AccessAbout 15 minutes by cab from JR Akkeshi Station
50 minutes on the Akan Bus from Kushiro Airport to JR Kushiro Station
About 50 minutes from JR Kushiro Station to JR Akkeshi Station by JR Nemuro Line
Start of operationOctober 2016
Official Website Kenten Jistugyo Akkeshi Distillery
ObservationThe event is organized by the “Atsugishi Taste Terminal Conchiglie”. Click here for application and details.
Please note that all tours for this year have been cancelled.
GoodsAkkeshi Single Malt whisky Kanro, Akkeshi Whisky SARORUNKAMUY, Akkeshi Newborn 1~4

Click here for a whisky review of Akkeshi Distillery

   1-3. Hokkaido Jiyu Whisky Benizakura Distillery 

Benizakura distillery is owned by Hokkaido Jiyu Whisky in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
The distillery is currently the talk of the town, not for its whisky, but for its craft gin. The gin, which is distilled using ingredients unique to Hokkaido, has a unique taste and has quickly become a hot topic.

The name of the company is Hokkaido Jiyu Whisky Co., Ltd. but there is no information on whisky production at the Benisakura distillery at this time, so we will be watching for future developments.

   2. Tohoku Region

   2-1. Nikka Whisky  Miyagikyo Distillery

It has been about 30 years since Masataka Taketsuru started his first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido. A second distillery was absolutely necessary for him, who believes that blending multiple raw liquor from different distilleries makes whisky more tasteful and rich. He chose Miyagikyo in Sendai, which has lush gorge blessed with two clear streams, the Hirose River and the Shin River.

When he visited this place for the first time, he drank the black Nikka with water of the Shin River and checked the taste. It is said that he decided to build a distillery on the spot.

Location

1 Nikka, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Access

<By train>
From JR Sendai Station to Sakunami Station on the JR Senzan Line (one train every hour): approx. 40 min.
<Free Shuttle Bus>
On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays, a shuttle bus runs from JR Sakunami Station to Miyagikyo Distillery (round trip).
<Bus>
From Sendai Station, take the city bus bound for Sakunami Onsen and get off at Nikka-bashi bus stop.

Start of operation1969
Official Website Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Distillery
ObservationOpen to the public / Distillery guided tours by reservation only
Tours of the distillery, which had been temporarily suspended, will resume on Friday, July 17, 2020, with some restrictions.
GoodsSingle Malt Miyagikyo

Click here to read Nikka Whisky’s whisky review

   2-2. Kinryu Yuza Distillery

The highest quality Japanese whisky, admired by the world, from here in Yamagata.

Ltd., the owner of the Yuza Distillery, was founded in 1950 as a joint venture between nine sake manufacturers in Yamagata Prefecture, producing neutral spirits called brewing alcohol and Kourui Shochu made with a continuous distiller.

Kinryu is the only company in Yamagata that specializes in the production of shochu (distilled spirits). However, when we considered the declining consumption of shochu and sake and the population problems in Yamagata Prefecture, it decided to start a new business for the future: whisky.

At the Whisky Festival in 2019, the Yuza distillery was unveiling several new makes.

Location

20, Kakujida, Yoshide, Akumigun Yuzamachi, Yamagata 〒999-8302 
Access

About 2 hours and 25 minutes from JR Niigata Station to JR Yuza Station by train.
About 25 minutes walk from JR Yuza Station (5 minutes by car)

Start of operation2018
Official Website Ltd.Kinryu  Yuza Disillery
ObservationNo public tours are planned for the time being.
Goods 

2-3. Sasanokawa Sake Brewery, Asaka Distillery

Sasanokawa Shuzo, which operates the Asaka Distillery, is a long-established brewery founded in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture in 1765 and has been in business for about 250 years. The company obtained a whisky production license in 1946, shortly after the war, and produced whisky until around 1980, when it stopped distilling raw whisky due to the slump in the domestic market.

With the rekindling of the whisky boom since the 2010s, the company decided to establish a full-fledged malt whisky distillery in 2015, and purchased a still from Miyake Manufacturing that could be delivered within a year. The following year, in 2016, they decided to resume distilling raw whisky at the Asaka distillery, which was equipped with a sake brewery.
The oldest craft whisky in Tohoku, Asaka Distillery is releasing its first single malt since the restart, Asaka The First, in December 2019.

Location

1-178 Sasakawa, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture    〒963-0108
Access

<By train>
Approx. 10 minutes by car from JR Koriyama Station.
Approx. 10 min. walk from JR Asaka Nagamori Station.

Start of operation2016
Official Website

Sasanokawa Sake Brewery

 Asaka Distillery Official Titter 

Observationreservation system
Goods 安積The First 

   3. Kanto Region

   

 
  
 

 

  
  
  
  

   

  
 

 

  
  
  
  

   

   

   

  
 

 

  
  
  
  

   

  
 

 

  
  
  
  

   

 
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
  

   

   

  
  
  
  
  
  

   

 
  
  
  
  
  
  

   

 
  
  
  
  
  
  

   

  
  
  
  
  
  

   

  
  
  
  
  
  

 

   

 

 

  
 
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