Distilleries & Reputation

Japanese Distilleries
There are currently around 10 whisky distilleries in Japan, these include:

Yamazaki: owned by Suntory, located between Osaka/Kyoto on the main island of Honshu
Hakushu: also owned by Suntory, located in Yamanashi on the main island of Honshu.



Yoichi Distillery: owned by Nikka, located on the Northern island of Hokkaidō. Nikka is a part of Asahi Breweries.

Sendai / Miyagikyo: also Nikka located to the North of the main island, near the city of Sendai.
Fuji-Gotemba: owned by Kirin located at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka.

Karuizawa: owned by Mercian (a part of Kirin), located near to the town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture on the main island of Honshu.

Hanyu: located in Saitama prefecture near Tokyo on the main island. Sometimes also referred to as Golden Horse or Chichibu. Closed in 2004.

Chichibu: located near Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture. This is the new Chichibu distillery, founded by Ichiro Akuto, grandson of the distiller at Hanyu. It opened in 2008.
Shinshu: owned by Hombo, located in Nagano Prefecture on the main island of Honshu White Oak: owned by Eigashima Shuzou, located in Hyogo on the main island of Honshu
Reputation
For some time it was believed by many that whisky made in the Scotch style, but not produced in Scotland, could not possibly measure up to the standards of the traditional Scotch distilleries. Until fairly recently, the market for Japanese whiskies was almost entirely domestic.
However, in recent years, a number of blind tastings have been organized which have included Japanese single malts in the lineup, along with malts from distilleries considered to be among the best in Scotland. On more than one occasion, the results have had Japanese single malts (particularly those of Yoichi and Yamazaki) scoring higher than their Scotch counterparts.

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