In March, Suntory upped its tourism game with the introduction of “The Story of Hakushu”. It’s limited to weekends only and costs 2,000 Yen, double the price of a regular tour.
There are two main advantages over the regular 1,000 Yen tour.
First, a viewing of the splendid West Hakushu Distillery, which is no longer in operation. Second, food! Along with a tasting session of the constituent whiskies of Hakushu, there’s a serving of really high quality dishes, but in rather small portions. You can expect fish, ham, cream cheese on bread, pickled vegetables, and more.
The Hakushu tour is certainly impressive, and includes the opportunity to observe the mash tuns, fermentation tanks, and pot stills, and barrel warehouse.
If you don’t want to take a tour, you can enter the museum and Bar Hakushu for free.
The bar is, of course, a must, as it offers a full range of Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Hibiki of all age statements, as well as distinct casks, including the legendary sherry and mizunara , and limited editions.
The museum includes a vast array of whisky-related material, not only from Japan but also Scotland and the United States.
Overall, it’s well worth the trek to Kobuchizawa Station on the JR Chuo Line, about two hours west of Shinjuku. Expect a rail fare of about 5,000 Yen each way. On weekends, there’s a free bus from the station to Hakushu. Most other days, expect to pay 2,000 Yen for a taxi ride.
On our upcoming Summer 2017 Japan Whisky Experience, we’ll be visiting Hakushu.
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