- June 14th, 2016
[Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery in Yoichi] Tasing and Guided Tour Can Be Enjoyed in Shooting Place of "Massan"
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (ニッカウヰスキー余市蒸溜所) is a whisky distillery in Yoichi town located in the western part of Otaru city. Nikka Whisky is a subsidiary of ASAHI BREWERIES, and has been operated by Mr. 竹鶴政孝 (Masataka Taketsuru) since 1934. Famous Japanese television drama series "Massan (マッサン)" in 2014 was modeled after Masataka Taketsuru, and this distiller was a shooting place for that drama. Mr. Testuji Tamayama (玉山鉄二) that acts Masaharu Kameyama (亀山政春) and Ms. Charlotte Kate Fox that acts Ellie Kameyama (亀山エリー) put up a good show, and this place become one of most popular tourist attraction in Hokkaido. About 1 million tourists visit here. The distillery is operating distillery now, but even ordinary visitors can come to tour the distillery. Guided distillery tours are conducted for free in Japanese. Open hours are from 09:00 to 17:00. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge.
The site area is 132,000 m2, and Main Gate (余市蒸溜所正門), a waiting room for a guided tour (見学者待合室), Whisky Museum (ウィスキー博物館), Still House (蒸留棟), Kiln Tower (乾燥棟), Comminution and Saccharification House (粉砕糖化棟), Wash House (発酵棟), Barrel House (混和棟), Rita House (リタハウス), Warehouse No.1 (一号貯蔵庫), Former Office (旧事務所), Former Residence of Taketsuru (旧竹鶴亭), Nikka Kaikan (ニッカ会館), Restraunt "Taru" (レストラン樽) and Distillery Shop "NORTHLAND" (ディスティラリーショップノースランド) are built on the large site. 2 types of tour, guided tours conducted by Japanese-speaking Nikka representatives and self-guided walking tours, are provided. As for the guided tours, from 09:00 to 12:00, and from 13:00 to 15:30, the tours are conducted every 30 minutes, 00 minutes and 30 minutes. The time it takes to tour is about 90 minutes. Those interested in participating wait at the waiting room. As for the self-guided walking tours, Visitors can explore the facilities freely with the use of a guide map. Enjoy yourself as you like!
The Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery is in front of Yoichi Station, and is located in the center of the Yoichi. Restaurants, cafes, Izakaya, snack bars, a convenience store, souvenir shops and Yoichi Space Museum (余市宇宙記念館) are built around here, so it is a convenient place. Speaking of tasty restaurants in the Yoichi, Kakizaki Shoten (柿崎商店), the Restraunt "Taru", Nanpo Tometaro Shoten (南保留太郎商店), Ramen Jogura (ラーメン じょぐら) and Family Sushi Garden House (ファミリーすしガーデンハウス) are popular in particular. I ate foods at the Kakizaki Shoten, the Nanpo Tometaro Shoten, the Jogura and Kaizoku (海ぞく), and those were tasty.
Kakizaki Shoten (柿崎商店) is a seafood merchant in Yoichi town located in the northwest part of Otaru city. Because they have been treated marine products since 1930, it is known as the popularity merchant in Hokkaido. They sell marine products and fruits on the first floor, and there is a restraunt on the second floor. Visitors often line up at the restaurant at lunchtime and are crowded very much on the first floor because they can buy fresh marine products at more reasonable price than an inner city such as Sapporo and Otaru. Read More
Yoichi Maehama Shrimp Ramen of Jogura
Jogura (じょぐら) is a popular ramen restraunt in Yoichi town located in the root of Shakotan Peninsula and was founded in about 2000. It was placed in the MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. It takes about 5 minutes from Yoichi station to here. Jogura means a warehouse in Hokkaido dialect. But I have never known it, so I guess that it is Hamakotoba (浜言葉 * dialect that fishing village speak). Yoichi Maehama Shrimp Ramen (余市前浜えびラーメン) that is served only from March to October is most popular ramen. An owner is a former shrimp fishermen, and he serve ramen topped with grilled sweet shrimps. The price was JPY 880. Read More
Squid Ink Soup Curry of Kaizoku
Kaizoku (海ぞく) is a popular soup curry restraunt in Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi town and was founded in 2013. Kurokawa-cho is an entertainment district of Yoichi town, and a building is built around bars and Japanese‐style baran izakaya (居酒屋). By the way, Kaizoku means pirate in English. The restraunt has an atmosphere such as a Japanese‐style baran izakaya and has some counter seats and a samll raised seating area, and it is not so large. But it is interested that there are many curios here and there. I visited here around 13:30 on weekdays. There was not a customer at the restraunt, but a local person came to eat a local style soup curry right away after that, and this restraunt is seemed to be loved by local people. Read More
Smoked Foods of Nanpo Tometaro Shoten
Nanpo Tometaro Shoten (南保留太郎商店) is a smoked food specialty store in Yoichi town located in the western part of Otaru city and was founded in 1950. There is a building just near Yoichi fishing port. A smoked sweet shrimp (甘エビの燻製), a smoked ovalipes punctatus (ヘラ蟹の燻製), a smoked salmon (鮭の燻製) are famous. The store was small, but there was full of cleanliness. Customers can do each smoked products tasting and those will form the basis for their decision in case of the purchase. Read More
As for public transport, Chuo Bus (中央バス) controls the Shiretoko Peninsula, Highway Bus Shakotan-go (高速しゃこたん号) runs between Sapporo and Cape Kamui from April 21 to October 21. Highway Bus Yoichi-go (高速よいち号) runs between the Sapporo and the Yoichi, and Highway Bus Iwanai-go (高速いわない号) runs between the Sapporo and the Iwanai. In addition, Summer One-day Sightseeing Tour Bus and Autumn One-day Sightseeing Tour Bus run from the Sapporo to the Shakotan Peninsula.
Shakotan Peninsula (積丹半島) is a peninsula located in the northwestern part of Otaru city, and has been designated as Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park (ニセコ積丹小樽海岸国定公園) because of a precious complicated coastline with steep cliffs. The sea of the Shakotan is very beautiful, and looks clear blue, so everybody call Shakotan Blue (シャコタンブルー). A traffic used to be inconvenient in the old days, and tourists rarely visited here. People are easy to access the Shakotan Peninsula as well as Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島) at present, but it is called an unexplored region because it would not develop very much. Read More
There are the Nikka Kaikan, the Distillery Shop "NORTHLAND" and Masataka Taketsuru Memorial Park (竹鶴政孝記念庭園) around the parking lot, and the Nikka Kaikan has the restraunt "Taru" and a free tasting place, and tourists can enjoy meals and tasting. The restraunt "Taru" has a good reputation, and whisky and wine lamb shabu-shabu (ウイスキー・ワインラムしゃぶ定食) is served. The Whiskey, Apple Juice, Oolong Tea are offered at the free tasting place, and snacks are sold, too.
Of course drivers must not drink the whiskey, so I drank the apple juice "Ringo-no-Hoppe (りんごのほっぺ)". That was thick, and was very tasty ! The apple juice adding carbonated water was tasty, too ! By the way, Nikka (日果), former name is Dainippon Kajitusi corp (大日本果汁株式会社), is derived from apple juice.
Various whiskies, snacks and marine products are sold at the Distillery Shop "NORTHLAND". The whiskey is popular in Japan recently, and some brands are out of stock.
The visitors can tour along only tour route. The distillery has a lot of green plants, and those go well with red roofs and stone buildings, so it has a nice atmosphere. Facilities that the visitors can enter are the Whisky Museum, the Warehouse No.1, the Former Residence of Taketsuru, the Former Office, the Wash House, the Barrel House, the Still House, the Kiln Tower, the waiting room.
The Whisky Museum has the Whisky Hall and the Nikka Hall. The history and the whiskey of manufacturing process are displayed at the Whiskey Hall, and there is a bar, so the visitors can enjoy paid tasting. About William Phaup Lowrie as icon of the Nikka whiskey is explained. He had been said the "King of Blenders", and this picture expresses his work to identify a fragrance of the whiskey. But I thought that he liked his drink more than anyone, and I misunderstood it. He was working ! About various kinds of goods related with Mr. Masataka Taketsuru and Mrs. Rita Taketsuru are displayed at the Nikka Hall, and a movie is shonw.
At the Warehouse No.1, the visitors can observe a look of stock, and a movie is shown. The warehouse increases, and 26 warehouses are built at present. Except the Warehouse No.1, the visitors are forbided from the other warehouses.
The Former Residence of Taketsuru that Mr. Masataka Taketsuru and Mrs. Rita Taketsuru lived at features a green roof. Originally this building did not used to be on this site, but it was removed, and was rebuilt in 2002. The visitors can enter only an entrance hall and a garden. More than 20 types of trees and flowers are planted on the garden, and those are full in bloom from May to July.
Originally, the Rita House used to be a laboratory, and was a tea room for a whlie. But it does not open to the public at present.
At the Barrel House, a making process of barrels is displayed. The barrel is one of the important elements of the whiskey.
The Former Office with a green roof has a drawing room. But the visitors can observe it only through a window.
At the Wash House, fermentation tanks are in line, and raw materials of the whiskey are fermented. Saccharified solution is sent to pot stills at the Still House via underground pipes. The visitors can observe the fermentation tanks only through a window.
At the Kiln Tower, the whisky is seasoned. The visitors can enter a part of the Kiln Tower. The barley is dried and smoked with peat (grass peat) mined in Ishikari city. The visitors can touch the peat directly.
The visitors from the Yoichi Station enter from the Main Gate. The appearance is very cool, and looks like walls and a tower of a western castle.
At the Still House, the pot stills are in line, and saccharified solution is heated with coal, and is vaporized. Facilities to distill with coal seems to be only this distillery in the world, so it is valuable. A sacred Shinto straw festoon is decorateed to the pot steel, and they pray to make a good whiskey. This is manner to come from Mr. Taketsutu's home.
Atmosphere of Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (40 Cars)|
|Regular closing day||Year-end and New Year holidays|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||164 665 162*31|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Yoichi. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Shakotan Peninsula is here
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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