Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery, Yamazaki Distillery is located in Shimamoto, Osaka. Owned by Suntory, it was established almost a hundred years ago. It has a ‘Whisky Library’ that contains thousands of bottles of unblended malt whisky on display. This would be absolutely delightful for fans of the distilled alcoholic beverage.
Yamazaki Distillery, Renowned for its Splendid Whiskies
The Yamazaki Distillery is the very first, hence, oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan as it was established in 1923 by the founder of Suntory, Shinjiro Torii. A unique kind of whisky was created due to having a Japanese approach in its production.
In every process of making the liquor, from fermentation to distillation to ageing and then vatting, the distillery’s craftsmen have been coming up with new innovations while continuing to practise skills that were passed down by their predecessors. This helps them to tremendously stand out from the rest.
What’s more, there’s a paid tasting bar where you can sample some premium whiskies from the Yamazaki 18 to Hibiki 21 to even Yamazaki Sherry Cask and more! Sounds heavenly for whisky lovers.
The place is easily accessible from Osaka Station. Just hop onto the Tokaido-Sanyo Line to Yamazaki Station, then it’s a 7-minute walk to the distillery.
Opening hours: 10am - 4.45pm daily, closed during New Year’s
Yamazaki Distillery’s 12-Year-Old Whisky
Famous amongst Japanese whisky enthusiasts, the rather pricey spirit is a stunning colour of pure gold. It possesses a succulent flavour of soft fruits, and according to fans, it’s worth the money as it’s well balanced.
In 2003, the Yamazaki 12 Years Old single malt whisky won the gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge, which is a remarkably validated spirits competition. This just strengthened the whisky’s status as an excellent one.
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery’s Single Malt Whisky 300ml
According to reviews, this single malt whisky that comes in 300ml, is young-tasting, mild and smooth, and has fruity notes. Essentially, it’s sold at the on-site gift shop for about ¥1500 each, something that visitors can bring home with them but limited to only one bottle per person.
Yamazaki Guided Distillery Tour vs The Story of Yamazaki Tour
Organised by Yamazaki Distillery, which tour might be better suited for your needs? Read on to find out! Do note that you must be 20 years old or more to be able to partake.
Yamazaki Guided Distillery Tour
This tour is conducted in English and the fee is ¥1,000 per person (including tax). The 80-minute long tour will enable you to preview the process of whisky being produced via miniature models, observe the production process in detail, and the highlight -- being able to taste the not-for-sale component whiskies!
Do keep in mind that you would need to make reservations according to the dates and times they have set. There’s also an audio guide available in Chinese and French.
The Story of Yamazaki Tour
This tour includes a special movie that shows the craftsmen’s dedication and skills in producing the malt whisky. The fee is ¥2,000 per person (including tax). The 100-minute tour will allow you to observe the production process and taste the not-for-sale component whiskies as well.
Reservations can be made a few months in advance, according to the set times. An audio guide is also available in English, Chinese and French.
- Spot name: Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
- Street address: 5-2-1 Yamazaki, Shimamoto-cho, Mishima-gun 618-0001, Osaka
- Access: About 7 minutes’ walk from Yamazaki Station