Photo by Mingyu Choi
Photo by Mingyu Choi
Photo by Roger Smith
November 17, 2022
Known as the “Father of Japanese Whisky,” Masataka Taketsuru (1894–1979) was the brains behind major whisky brand Nikka. He traveled to Scotland to study whisky-making, returning in 1920 armed with knowledge of the techniques necessary to develop the Japanese whisky industry. After working for a decade helping Suntory establish its whisky production, Masataka decided to go independent and began producing Nikka whisky at a distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido. However, the Japanese whisky being produced outside of Hokkaido was proving so popular that Masataka began searching for a site on the Japanese mainland offering pure water and a climate suitable for establishing a second Nikka distillery.
In 1969, Nikka built Miyagikyo Distillery at the junction of two rivers in the picturesque mountains of Sakunami. Visitors can take a free seventy-minute tour of the facilities, giving visitors an overview of founder Masataka Taketsuru, the full Nikka product line, and the whisky production process. Guests will be able to view pot stills, Coffey stills, and the barrel aging warehouse, then enjoy a complimentary tasting.
Tours are in Japanese; however, headsets provide information in English, Korean, and Chinese. Online or telephone reservations are recommended but not required.
Serious whisky fans should sign up for a whisky tasting seminar (in Japanese only) and seek out the distillery-exclusive whiskies sold in the gift shop.
Whiskies such as Blended Whisky Date (named after Sendai founder Masamune Date) and Single Malt Miyagikyo are unique to the Miyagikyo Distillery. They are difficult to find overseas, making them a must-have souvenir for someone special, yourself included!
ItinerariesOnsen Hot Springs
Miyagi has many unique hot spring (onsen) villages including both famous and secluded spots. We invite you to enjoy a hot springs trip that offers a relaxing time of healing for body and mind.
ItinerariesWhisky, Hot Springs, & Mountain Temples
Journey west to Sakunami Onsen and the Yamadera mountain temple complex