In Yamanashi, we are blessed with much more to do than just looking at Mt Fuji while eating Houto noodles. While the peach trees are enjoying themselves in the cold, I will bring some of my favourite places that are worth visiting when you come around here next.
Yamanashi is Japan’s wine region, most will be thinking I will be writing about an award winning white wine made in the Katsunuma. For many this is the tastiest drop, but for myself the award will go to Hakushu’s Suntory Distillery, where they pull out award winning whiskies at will. Japanese whisky is quickly becoming a major player in the single malt game. When I visited Dan Murphy’s in Australia they had a impressive array of bottles, but it was double the Japanese price.
The distillery is up in mountains of Hokuto city, but still very easy access from the Chuo expressway. With the crisp cool air, huge mountain ranges and crystal clear rivers everywhere it is a decent sort of location to make tasty whiskies. The area is good to look at in every season, which means you can entice people to drive you there with promises of autumn leaves, cherry blossoms, snow capped mountain ranges and lush greenery.
If you intending on being a lone wolf and driving yourself, you will be in for a nasty shock as you will not given any beautiful nectar to try. The is zero tolerance for anyone they see even drinking the smallest amount of liquor, the police will take you away and you will executed live on NHK at 7pm the following day with your family sent a bill to clean up the mess.
The distillery tour is well worth it (its free), for non-Japanese there is recorded information in many languages that you are welcome to listen to. Once you get into the whisky barrel aging room, you will be blown away with the aroma, I don’t know if the beautiful smell can be compared to anything, My brother said for him it was like when he mowed the lawn at the start of summer….
Once the tour ends you are able to have free samples of Hakushu’s special distilled single malt whisky. There are chances to enjoy every other Suntory whisky as well a huge array of world whiskies at a super cheap price. For a man like myself that doesn't have a corporate gig in Melbourne sponsoring his whisky hobby, this is a cheapest way possible to try the aged drops that only you can dream about.
Here’s my favourites,
!) Yamazaki 18 year old single malt
2) Hakushu 18 year old single malt
3) Hibiki 21year old blend
If you have time, you can definitely make this visit a full day, the only advice I will give you is don’t rush into buying the large bottles from the gift shop, much cheaper duty free or if you live in Japan, Don Quijote.