Unforgettable Whisky experience in Hokkaido - NIKKA Whisky distillery in Yoichi

You are already in Hokkaido or planning to go there ... Did you think of visiting NIKKA Whisky Distillery ? Probably not yet, but you definitely should. Why ? Because you will discover the secrets of the now internationally known Japanese whisky and learn about the uncommon love story behind.[caption id="attachment_3279" align="alignleft" width="300"]Credit: www.nikka.com Credit: www.nikka.com[/caption]Since the establishment of the company in 1934, the  distillery of NIKKA Whisky has been located in Yoichi, a small town in the Yoichi District (Shiribeshi subprefecture) at about 50 km west of Sapporo City in southern Hokkaido.The whole story started in 1918, when a young chemist, Masataka Taketsuru, left Japan and embarked on a long trip to Scotland. There, he felt in love for a Scottish woman and decided to dedicate his life to whisky-making.[caption id="attachment_3285" align="alignright" width="170"]Credit: www.nikka.com Credit: www.nikka.com[/caption]You will really appreciate this happy ending, once you will taste at least one of the three different brands of their products (single malt, pure malt, blended) offered during the visit. The use of a traditional distillation method with old coal-fired pot stills (no longer used in Scotland these days) is one of the main specificities of their incredibly fine products. On top of that, Yoichi is the only distillery in Japan to use Japanese oak, also known as mizunara, for maturation.If for any reasons, you are not interested in tasting or you do not drink alcoholic beverages, no worries, they also provide soft-drinks, and the visit of the small museum dedicated to the company's Founders - from their personal items and photographs to displays of their furniture - will  undoubtedly water your parched spirit.In addition, as the distillery is still active, anytime of the year, you may be lucky enough to awaken your olfactory sense by getting the fragrant smells of the mashing process (liquid combination of water and malt).[caption id="attachment_3280" align="alignleft" width="300"]Credit: www.nikka.com Credit: www.nikka.com[/caption]You will also have the choice between a guided tour (in Japanese) or a free self-exploration of the facilities with the use of a guide map (in English). Few sections have screens playing short films in several languages and provide full details on the different steps of the whisky-making process.NIKKA Whisky is always praised during prestigious international spirits competitions - Distiller of the year at the International Spirits Challenge 2015 - for its ability to produce a high quality whisky, so do not miss the rendez-vous and seize the opportunity to obtain first-hand information by visiting them.NIKKA Whisky - Yoichi DistilleryAddress: Hokkaido Yoichigun Yoichimachi Kurokawacho 7-6 JapanAccess: 5 minutes walking from Yoichi JR stationFees: Free entryVisiting hours: Facilities on the tour are opened from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m - Tours are conducted every 30 minutes and from 9:00 to 4:30 pmRecommended season: AnytimeContact: Phone : +81 135 23 3131 / Fax : +81 135 23 2202Sources:(1) www.nikka.com(2) japanistas.com