Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (ニッカウヰスキー余市蒸溜所) in Hokkaido.
Calling all Whiskey Fans! Although I am not a drinker of Whisky, this was one of the most interesting visits I’ve done whilst in Hokkaido. Nikka Whiskey is not only famous but one of Japan’s most top ranked whiskey names you’ll hear. The flagship distillery is located in a town called Yoichi next to Otaru (via JR it’s about a 30 min train journey away)
The flagship distillery was established during 1934. The grounds are spacious with little areas to visit that teaches you about the history and the makings. The atmosphere of the museum is very relaxed with tourists from around the world.
There is a tasting room and visitors can try 2 types of whiskey and apple wine free of charge, for extra samples you may have to pay a small fee. It was in the middle of the early morning and I opted for just a single Apple Wine because it sounded sweet, I was still experiencing some gastritis problems so I didn’t want to over do it. You can also help yourself to ice cubes, tea and apple juice. The texture of the drink was very smooth and as I thought, sweet and not overwhelming. Next door was a gift shop where they sold many whiskey related products from snacks to actual bottles held by a black bear.
The best things about about this distillery is the fact there is no admissions fees, the parking is also free and they conduct free guided tours around the distillery but only in Japanese. However, you can always use the map to guide yourself around at your own pace. Overall it was a very interesting place to explore and do something a little different.