Tasting the Scottish-inspired but locally-adapted whisky can be a special and unexpected treat for spirit lovers. A local distillery tour might help you to abandon the misconceptions that Japanese whisky can not be good - international competitions in recent years demonstrated that Japanese whisky can hold its own against renowned brands from Scotland.
Visiting Nikka Whisky Distillery is a fitting first step into the world of Japanese whisky, as its founder, Masataka Taketsuru, started the whisky industry in Japan. While searching for an ideal destination in northern Honshu, the founder had stumbled upon a beautiful glen in Miyagi which he deemed as the perfect environment for his second distillery. Coincidentally, the water source, “Nikkawa” river, sounds similar to the name of the whisky brand.
At the distillery in Miyagi, visitors can witness the brewing process of both malt and grain whisky and later enjoy the most authentic products straight from the distillery. One of the highlights is the unique distillation method for grain whisky production - the Coffey Stills that originated in Glasgow and were imported to Japan, which now only operate in the Miyagi plant. For those who worry about the language barrier, the good news is that you can grab a headset that is available in 3 languages to enjoy a more thorough experience at this tourist-friendly attraction.