10 recommended Japanese whiskies [at low price – up to 5,000 yen]

SuntoryChita DistilleryNikka WhiskyYoichi DistilleryMiyagikyo DistilleryChichibu Distillery (Ichiro's Malt)Hombo ShuzoSaburomaru Distillery

Japanese whisky has become popular worldwide in the past few years. The production of old famous whiskies such as “Yamazaki” “Hakushu” “Hibiki” “Taketsuru” “Yoichi” and “Miyagikyo” has been drastically reduced due to a shortage of original sake, and they are currently distributed in Japan at a higher price than the list price. Many whisky fans around the world are also enthusiastic about them, and they are distributed worldwide at prices many times higher than the list price.

The Japanese Whisky Dictionary recommends the following 10 Japanese whiskies for beginners to Japanese whisky, which can be purchased for up to 5,000 yen Whisky


1. What is Japanese Whisky?

We usually use the term “Japanese whisky” without paying much attention to it, but in fact, on February 16, 2021, the Japan Western whisky Brewers Association established the “Standard for Labeling Japanese whisky” as a voluntary standard. First, a brief explanation of this standard is given below.

1-1. Voluntary Standards for Japanese Whisky

The following conditions (1) to (4) must be satisfied to meet the “Japanese Whisky” standard.

(1) Ingredients

Ingredients must be limited to malt, grains, and water from within Japan. Malt must be used.

(2) Production

Saccharification, fermentation, and distillation must be performed at a distillery in Japan. The alcohol content at distillation should be less than 95%.

(3) Storage

The product shall be packed in wooden casks with a content of 700 liters or less and stored in Japan for at least three years from the day after the date of packing.

(4) Bottling

The product must be packed in containers in Japan and have an alcohol content of at least 40 degrees Celsius at the time of filling.

Since most whiskies that meet these criteria are priced over 5,000 yen (including tax), we have set special selection criteria as described in the next section.

For a detailed article on the definition of Japanese whisky, please click here.


2. [Low price range – up to 5,000 yen] Selection criteria

In selecting our 10 recommendations for low-priced Japanese whiskies, as described above, we have limited the selection criteria to the low-priced category because most of the products that meet the criteria are over 5,000 yen if we adopt the voluntary criteria for Japanese whiskies.

Criterion (1) Must be available for less than 5,000 yen (including tax)

Online store, etc. Less than 5,000 yen including tax The whisky must be available for purchase at.

Criterion (2) Must be made from Japanese sake

Must be made from sake distilled and stored in Japan.
*Imported sake from overseas may be blended in.

Criterion (3) Clear labeling and no confusion among consumers

If the whisky is blended with imported whisky from overseas, the product should not be mistaken for a Japanese whisky by the consumer. The label of the product clearly indicates this fact. thing.

3. 10 low-priced Japanese whiskies recommended

Let us introduce 10 recommended Japanese whiskies that can be purchased for less than 5,000 yen, as recommended by our website, Japanese Whisky Dictionary!

No.1   Ichiro’s Malt & Grain World Blended (3,850 yen)

The most recommended is Ichiro’s Malt & Grain World Blended (also known as Ichiro’s Malt White Label).
Ichiro’s Malt products are difficult to obtain even in Japan, and it is difficult to purchase them at a fixed price, but among the Ichiro’s Malt products, this one is relatively easy to obtain and can still be purchased at almost fixed prices.
As the product name “World Blended” indicates, it is a blend of original spirits made in five regions of the world (*), including Japan. The original sake imported from all over the world is casked at the Chichibu distillery and blended after at least one year of additional aging. We do not blend the imported sake as is, but always add our own hands, mature it in the Chichibu environment, and add the essence of Chichibu before blending it.
Stories like this just make me want to drink more and more! A bottle that shows Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Distillery’s passion for making good whisky. Please try it!
(*5 regions worldwide: Japan, Scotland, Ireland, U.S.A., Canada)

Product NameIchiro’s Malt & Grain World Blended Whisky White Label
Sales Price3,500 yen (3,850 yen including tax)
Alcohol content46% 
Liquor type and compositionBlended whisky (malt, grain)
A blend of original sake made in Japan, Scotland, Ireland, U.S.A., and Canada
Place of manufactureVenture Whisky Corporation Chichibu Distillery
Voluntary StandardsSome of the raw materials used are imported.

For more information on Ichiro’s Malt & Grain World Blended, please visit here.


No.2   Iwai Tradition (2,200 yen)

The second Japanese whisky we recommend is Iwai Tradition.
This commemorative blended whisky was released in 2010 to honor Kiichiro Iwai, who was instrumental in the early days of Hombo Shuzo’s whisky production.
The Hombo Brewery also takes bartenders’ opinions into consideration when deciding the selling price of its whisky. The company is conscious of making the price affordable for bartenders to offer to customers at bars, and among recent Japanese whisky companies, I think it is a very conscientious manufacturer that sells at a very reasonable price.
Iwai Tradition has a well-balanced flavor with a firm sweetness, without the alcohol smell characteristic of cheaper whiskies.
Even among Mars Whisky products, “Iwai Tradition” is said to be wholesaled only to liquor stores that belong to the “Iwai Tomonokai” and it is not available anywhere. However, as long as you pay the shipping costs, you can easily purchase it through mail-order sites such as Rakuten.
For phenomenal value for money, you should try it!

Product NameIwai Tradition
Selling price2,000 yen (2,200 yen including tax)
Alcohol content40%
Liquor type and composition

Blended whisky (malt and grain)

Place of manufactureMars Shinshu Distillery, Hombo Shuzo Co.
Voluntary StandardsSome imported sake is used.

For more information about “Iwai Tradition”, please visit here.


No.3   Single malt Yoichi (4,900 yen)

The third recommendation is Single Malt Yoichi.
This is the standard product of Yoichi, of which many variations exist.
This single malt whisky, created by Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky, at the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, which is known as the Scotland of Japan, is recognized worldwide as a representative whisky of Japan.
The “straight-head pot still” and“direct coal-fired distillation” are the most distinctive characteristics of this product, which is characterized by its masculine, heavy, powerful, peaty, and tidal aroma.
This is a very affordable bottle of this quality for less than 5,000 yen, and because it is rarely available at convenience stores.
We hope you’ll give it a try now!

Product NameSingle Malt Yoichi
Sales Price4,455 yen (4,900 yen including tax)
Alcohol content45%
Alcoholic Beverage

Single Malt Whisky

Place of productionNikka Whisky Corporation Yoichi Distillery
Voluntary StandardsThis product meets the Japanese whisky labeling standards.

For more information on “Single Malt Yoichi”, please visit here.


No.4   Single malt Miyagikyo (4,300 yen)

The fourth was Single Malt Miyagikyo from Nikka Whisky, which followed in third place.
It has been 30 years since the Yoichi distillery started operation. The Miyagikyo Distillery was built in Miyagikyo, Sendai, based on Masataka Taketsuru’s belief that Whisky becomes richer and richer in flavor by blending several original whiskies produced at different distilleries. It was created in 1989 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the operation of the Miyagikyo distillery.
One of its unique features is a “café-style continuous distiller. This produces a light yet deep and thick distillate.
In contrast to Yoichi, it is regarded as feminine, with a sweet and gorgeous aroma reminiscent of apples and pears, harmonized with a soft vanilla aroma derived from oak barrels. Sweet and smooth mouthfeel like dried fruits. It is characterized by malt sweetness and a soft aftertaste with a gently spreading oaky aroma.
I want to start drinking whisky! This bottle is also recommended for those who want to try it.
Like Yoichi, it can also be found at convenience stores on rare occasions.

Product NameSingle Malt Miyagikyo
Selling price3,910 yen (4,300 yen including tax)
Alcohol content45%
Alcoholic Beverage

Single Malt Whisky

Place of productionNikka whisky Company Miyagikyo Distillery
Voluntary StandardsThis product meets the Japanese whisky labeling standards.

For more information on “Single Malt Miyagikyo” , please visit here.


No.5  Suntory Chita (3,500 yen)

The fifth is “Suntory Chita” .
The Chita Distillery in Aichi Prefecture uses a continuous distillation system to produce three types of grain distillates: clean, medium, and heavy.
There is “malt” listed as an ingredient. This is because a small amount of malt is added to grains such as corn, rye, and wheat, which are the ingredients, to make the issue.
Its light flavor and subtly sweet aroma are Wind-scented highball As the catchphrase “The highball is as light as the wind, while retaining a certain sense of maturity when made into a highball. The fresh and gentle aroma and a hint of sweetness enhance the umami flavor.
This is a bottle that can be drunk easily on any occasion.

Product NameSuntory Whisky Chita
Selling price3,181 yen (3,500 yen including tax)
Alcohol content43%
Alcoholic Beverage / Composition

Single grain whisky

Place of manufactureChita Distillery, Suntory Spirits Co.
Voluntary StandardsThis product meets the Japanese whisky labeling standards.

For more information about “Suntory Chita” , please visit here.


No.6   Mars Maltese Maltese Cosmo (4,500 yen)

Sixth place went to Mars Maltese Maltese Cosmo.
The Mars Whisky Mars Shinshu Distillery, built to realize the dream of “someday making real whisky that makes the most of the Japanese climate” stands in the midst of the tranquility of nature at an altitude of 798 meters, looking up at the sacred mountain Komagatake.
The name “Cosumo” comes from “Cosumo Mountain” one of the mountains in the Central Alps. The name “Cosmo” is reminiscent of the universe, and the label design was inspired by the night sky seen from the Mars Shinshu Distillery located at the foot of the Central Alps.
The blending technology of Mars whisky allows Vatting different types of malt wines This malt whisky expresses complexity and depth through the use of a unique malt flavor.
Sweet and oaky with a hint of honey. Ripe fruitiness and smoky flavors spread, followed by a soft and gentle finish. Soft mouthfeel and light body. It gives the impression of being quite easy to drink.
This is a must-try for those who are new to Japanese whisky.

Product NameMars Maltese Maltage Cosmo
Sales Price4,090 yen (4,500 yen including tax)
Alcohol content43%
Alcoholic Beverage

Blended Malt Whisky

Place of manufactureMars Shinshu Distillery, Hombo Shuzo Co.
Voluntary StandardsSome imported base sake is used.

For more information about “Mars Maltese Cosmo” , please visit here.


No.7   From the Barrel (3,500 yen)

Next is No. 7, Nikka From the Barrel.
It won a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) 2016, the world’s leading liquor competition, for the fifth year in a row. It has also won many other awards, and “I’ve only heard of it by name! I believe that there are many people who would like to know more about the company.
From the Barrel is a blend of aged malt and grain base alcohol, which is then casked again and re-stored for a few months. This restorage is called Marriage During this period, whiskies with different personalities blend deeply together as if they were married, and a harmonious taste is created.
Most re-racked whisky is watered down to 40-45% alcohol before bottling, but From the Barrel, as its name suggests, is watered down to 51% alcohol by volume. The rich and delicate aroma and flavor, the rich and long aftertaste, and the rich and long aftertaste created by the marriage. It has a rich and delicate aroma and taste, a rich and long aftertaste, and, above all, a solid and satisfying drinking experience.

Product NameNikka From the Barrel
Selling price3,181 yen (3,500 yen including tax)
Alcohol content51.4%
Liquor type and compositionBlended whisky (malt and grain)
Place of manufactureNikka Whisky Corporation Yoichi Distillery Miyagikyo Distillery
Voluntary StandardsSome imported base liquors are used.

For more information on From the Barrel, please visit


No.8   Nikka Session (3,300 yen)

No. 8, “Nikka Session” .
Nikka launched this new brand on September 29, 2020, for the first time in six years.
The blending was handled by chief blender Yuji Onagawa.
“I wanted to blend Scottish and Japanese malt liquors without preconceptions” he said. I believe that by doing so, we can create a truly delicious whisky. With this in mind, we repeated the process of trial and error.
A new concept in premium whisky blending high quality Scottish and Japanese malt whiskey.
The fruity and mellow Ben Nevis and the gorgeous aroma of Scottish malts grown in the Highlands, the full Miyagikyo malt, and the strong Yoichi malt, all play with each other’s characteristics to create a whisky that is like a pleasant musical accompaniment.
Malt sweetness and savory aroma, vanilla aroma from the oak, and fruity freshness. The palate is creamy, fruity, and light, with a hint of bitterness and peat lingering on the palate.
It was released in a limited edition of 50,000 cases (700ml x 12 bottles) in the first year, but the mail order site still seems to have some in stock. Please try this harmony.

Product NameNikka Session
Retail Price3,000 yen (3,300 yen including tax)
Alcohol content43% (with a maximum of 10% alcohol)
Alcoholic BeverageBlended Malt Whisky
Made from Scottish malt and Japanese malt
Place of productionNikka Whisky Corporation Yoichi Distillery Miyagikyo Distillery
Ben Nevis Distillery, Scotland
Voluntary StandardsSome imported sake is used.

For more information about “Nikka Session” , please visit here.


No.9   Super Nikka (2,500 yen)

In ninth place is Super Nikka.
It was launched by Nikka Whisky in October 1962.
Masataka Taketsuru’s wife Rita passed away suddenly, and Masataka Taketsuru did not come out of his room for two whole days.
It was his own dream and a promise he made to Rita. “To make real whisky in Japan” . This passion reawakens Taketsuru.
Together with his son, Takeshi, he holed up in the laboratory of the Yoichi distillery and completed “Super Nikka” .
It takes years for whisky to mature. It’s like giving your grown daughter in marriage, so you want to make sure she wears a fine outfit.
His sincere love for whisky led him to use hand-blown bottles made of Kagami crystal. Since the shape of each bottle was slightly different, it was necessary to choose a cap that matched each bottle individually, and mass production was not possible. Although the price was extremely high at the time (3,000 yen, or about 40,000 yen in today’s terms), the bottle sold well. It was called the “fantastic Super Nikka.
By the late 1980s, a mass production system was in place and Nikka Whisky became a leading brand. From its initial release to the present, the blend has changed little by little over time, and now it is a blend of various Nikka’s original spirits: the masculine malt of Yoichi with its smoky and strong peatiness, the feminine malt of Miyagikyo with its softness and gorgeousness, and the café grain distilled in the café still of Miyagikyo. The result is a very unique and unique beer. It has the masculine characteristics of Yoichi and the feminine characteristics of Miyagikyo, and its flavor, which shows two sides, is just like the crystallization of the dreams and passion of Masataka Taketsuru and Rita.

Product NameSuper Nikka
Sales Price2,272 yen (2,500 yen including tax)
Alcohol content43%
Liquor type and compositionBlended whisky (malt and grain)
Place of production

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery Miyagikyo Distillery

Voluntary StandardsSome imported base liquors are used.

No.10   Sunshine Whisky Premium (2,200 yen)

Last is “Sunshine Whisky Premium” from Saburomaru Distillery.
Saburomaru was threatened by fire and dilapidation, but was rebuilt with the help of the community and crowdfunding.
In July 2017, it was reborn as “Hokuriku’s only whisky distillery that can be visited” .
“From Toyama, we will make whisky loved around the world. The first “Sunshine whisky” was released by Wakatsuru Brewery in 1953 under the motto, “From Toyama, a whisky loved around the world. The name was chosen from a public contest.
In Japan, we lost everything in the war, and we are determined to make the sun rise again with spirits made from water, air, and sunlight.
(From the Wakatsuru Brewery website)
The name of the company is derived from the idea of “the best of the best” .
Half a century after its launch in 1953. Sunshine Whisky Premium” was developed as a new blend.
Malty, smoky aroma. Alcoholic stimulation is mellow, with vanilla and caramel-like sweetness and fruitiness coming to the fore. There is a peatiness that cannot be felt in other Japanese whiskies. The aftertaste is quite dry.
Although it feels young, there is little difficulty in drinking it, and it feels very carefully crafted.
There is no doubt about the quality at this price. This is a bottle that you should definitely try at least once.

Product NameSunshine whisky Premium
Sales Price2,000 yen (2,200 yen including tax)
Alcohol content40%
Liquor type and compositionBlended whisky (malt and grain)
Place of manufacture

Saburomaru Distillery, Wakatsuru Shuzo Co.

Voluntary StandardsSome of the original imported sake is used.


新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary