See how Japanese whisky is made at Suntory Yamazaki Distillery!
You can find the oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan, Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, on the foot of Mount Tennozan in south-western Kyoto. The distillery is a 15 to 20-minute train ride away from Kyoto Station, and a 10-minute walk from JR Yamazaki or a 10-minute walk from Hankyu Oyamazaki Station.
At the distillery, you can take part in a guided tour for an extra fee, and by the end of this tour, you also get to try the distillery’s famous Yamazaki Single Malt whisky. You have to make a reservation for this very popular tour, and it is something that has already become a must-go in Japan for whisky lovers.
Besides the tour you can also get to see the Yamazaki Whisky Museum which contains the museum, shop, and the tasting counter (paid), so the Yamazaki experience can also be enjoyed by those who are new to whisky.
This place gives you a chance to experience firsthand the history, craftsmanship, and the continuous innovation of Suntory.
Yamazaki Distillery Tour: 1,000 yen per person (tax included)
The tour of the distillery takes around 80 minutes, and first you get to see how whisky is made, and after this you get to actually taste the whisky, including component whisky which is not normally for sale. The guide explains everything in easy to understand terms so the tour is very interesting, and they also have audio guides in English, Chinese, and French for you to borrow if you don’t understand Japanese. The Yamazaki Single Malt highball you get to make by the end of the tour is great!
Get to know the history of Japanese whisky
At the Yamazaki Whisky Museum you get to know a lot about the history and story behind Japanese whisky. This is not part of the tour so you can enjoy the exhibitions at your own pace.
The Whisky Library of the museum exhibits thousands of whisky bottles on its walls. You can also find a pot still and a washback that were used at the distillery for many years at the library, and take photos in front of them too.
Tasting counter: Whisky prices 100 yen and up
The tasting counter offers many types of whiskies. Some of the whiskies you can only have here, like the component whiskies and limited editions. So have fun finding the one you like the best!
*Note that you cannot use a credit card at the tasting counter.