Besides exploring the 47 prefectures in Japan, one of the reasons I come to Japan is visiting to their distillery/ brewery. I have visited to a few distillery/ brewery such as the Kirin beer brewery in Namamugi, Yokohama , Asahi Beer Brewery in Nagoya (blog post coming up very soon, I promise), and the Yamazaki Whisky Distillery in Yamazaki .
For Full itinerary, check out Japan Trip 2018: 9D8N in Aomori, Sendai & Tokyo
Now let me share with you my experience in this Nikka Whiskey Distillery in Sendai. This is also why I came to Sendai besides gyutan!
Nikka Miyagikyo Distillery
Founded by Masataka Taketsuru who spent his whole life creating the first Japanese whisky distillery in Hokkaido and then the second one here outside the city of Sendai.
It is located about 40minutes train ride from Sendai and another 5-mins bus ride on shuttle bus in Sakunami, which is also famous for onsen. We were lucky to catch the free shuttle bus once arrived at the Sakunami Station. Or else, be prepared to walk from 25 minutes to the premise.
Do take note that the Round-trip shuttle bus service from JR Sakunami Station to Miyagikyo Distillery is available on Saturdays, Sunday and public holiday. You may take this advantage to save some coins or walking journeys.
WenChing and I signed up ourselves at the reception and got ready to follow the tour. The whole whisky tour is in Japanese but worry not as there are visuals in English where you can understand even though you do not understand Japanese language. Alternatively, you may opt for headset/ audio. We found that there were mainly local during our session, and only a couple from Taiwan.
We were given the time table sheet too, in order to time ourselves to avoid missing out the shuttle bus and train back to Sendai. That’s really thoughtful!
Picturesque scene, blessed with lush greenery and there are red-brick buildings around. I have to say the whole landscaping is very stunning and peaceful!
I have not been to Yoichi Whisky Distillery in Hokkaido, so I have no say about the differences in between them. Yoichi Whisky Distillery has been sitting in my Must-Go list for the longest time. One day, I will make my way over! (Very soon, I hope!).
Some of the areas are not opened for photography. Do obey the rules and regulation and also the instructions given.
We visited to the fermentation area, the pot still area for distillation process, the storage area for ageing process and finally the bar area where we got to sample 3 whisky/ fruit liquor for FREE at the end of the tour. Read it, Free, FOC. That was one of the moments I love about.
We were served with 2 classes of whisky namely Rare Old Super and Single Malt Miyagikyo and fruit liquor, Apple Wine.
Instruction on how to make a great highball, how to enjoy the apple wine and also how to fully enjoy the Tasting Process! All in trilingual!
Come to the whiskey distillery, one must take the chance to sample the aged and rare whiskey at the bar area (at a fee). Both WenChing and I got really excited in tasting the rare pieces.
We started off with these few: Single Malt Miyagikyo Malty & Soft 12 years old (¥ 350), Single Malt Miyagikyo 2000’s (¥ 400), Single Malt Miyagikyo 3 types of tasting- Fruity & Rich, Malty & Soft, Sherry & Sweet (¥ 1000).
We were taught to enjoy it with the perfect ratio with water by the master at the bar. We immediately fell in love with the 12 years old Malty & Soft but it was not available for purchase. Sad.
We then paid for more samplings on Taketsuru 17 years old (¥ 400) and Taketsuru 21 years old (¥ 400) and another shot of Single Malt Miyagikyo Malty & Soft 12 years old, knowing that they are all too expensive to own one.
Just look at WenChing’s expression. That is how I successfully converted her into Whiskey.
And of course, how could we miss out some shopping time?!
There is a souvenir shop where you can pick up some gifts and some limited release bottles. Take a guess on what we picked.
Times up for us. We took the free shuttle to Sakunami Station and took the train back to Sendai. Then continued our journey from Sendai and back to Tokyo…
Nikka Miyagikyo Whiskey Distillery
Nikka 1, Aoba, Sendai City, Miyagi
Opening hours: 9am to 4.30pm
TEL: +81 (0)22-395-2865 (9:00am-4:30pm)
FAX: +81 (0)22-395-2305
From Sendai, take the train on JR Senzan Line and get off at Sakunami Station.
The bus ride from the station takes about 5 minutes ride or 25-minutes’ walk from JR Sakunami Station to the facility.