My dad is a big Scotch fan so when my parents came for a visit, we drove them to the Suntory Hakushu Distillery for a tour and whiskey tasting.
The distillery is nestled in the southern Japanese Alps, surrounded by trees and running water. The tour was in Japanese but they provided English audio guides which worked fine. The whiskey tasting that was included in the tour cost (¥1,000/person) was interesting and I found it to be better than the one at their Yamazaki location near Kyoto.
They gave us samples of the white oak cask malt and the lightly peated malt whiskeys they blend to create their Hakushu Single Malt Scotch, which they gave a sample of as well. I didn’t see a tasting room that allowed you to try their other scotches. If you want that, your best bet is their Yamazaki Distillery.
They had a whiskey museum but it was not in English, a lookout at the top of the museum with a 360 degree view, and a restaurant which had English menus. You do have to call them to make reservations for the tour. The website said we would need reservations for the restaurant but we were able to just walk in after the tour.
They spoke English on the phone and many staff members on site spoke at least some English. The distillery wasn’t hard to find using GPS and is approximately 2 hours by car from Fussa heading west. We took the Ken-O then the Chuo Expressway west and it costed ¥6,140 round trip for tolls on a Tuesday from Hamura. The drive to it was quite scenic as were the grounds of the distillery. The coordinates are: 35.826441, 138.302564. – Laura Nelson, October 2016
Suntory Hakushu Distillery: http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/hakushu/?fromid=hakushubrandsite_banner
Hours: 9:30am-4:30pm (except New Year’s holiday) ※ Check their website to see the plant shutdown days. (November 11th and 29th are currently scheduled shutdown days, last operating day of 2016 is December 25th)
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery(in Osaka) : http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/yamazaki/
Suntory Hakushu Distillery (coordinates: 35.826441, 138.302564)