Suntory Hakushu Distillery
Suntory Hakushu Distillery
4.5
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Top ways to experience Suntory Hakushu Distillery and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles367 reviews
Excellent
169
Very good
153
Average
34
Poor
6
Terrible
5

Geoffrey S
Deptford, NJ193 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
I love whisky distilleries and this one did not disappoint (except for one thing, to be mentioned below). The location was breathtaking, in the Japanese Southern Alps, and the tour was fantastic. There's a museum of whisky, and a restaurant on site. It culminated with a great tasting.

The production capacity appeared very high, and there's a lot of barrels aging. Unfortunately there was no ability to buy a bottle of the whisky made on site. That was my only disappointment.

The bar in the visitor's center was really special. They were pouring some incredible whisky for really good prices.

This is a must-see day-trip from Tokyo.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nick S
New York City, NY20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Solo
There are two attractions to visiting the distillery:

1)A short introduction to how whisky is made plus a tasting of four whiskies.
2)A very scenic and relaxing train trip from Tokyo. The train goes through a mountain valley with very nice views.

There are many reviews of the distillery tour; I'll focus on getting there from Tokyo, the shop and lunch. If you are a fan of whisky, I'd read a little in advance on how it is made to better understand what you see on the tour.

The tour includes
1)looking at and smelling raw barley grains and barley dried with peat,
2)mashing (extracting sugar from malt),
3)fermentation,
4)Distillation (Several types of stills operate)
5)Aging (A huge room with barrels of whisky)

You don't see bottling or malting.

I reserved a spot online; the entrance fee was ¥1000.

Transportation
I took the 7:30 AM Azusa 3 train from Shinjuku. It arrived in plenty of time to get a taxi at the station to the distillery for the 10:30 tour. Taxis are waiting outside of the station.

A round-trip green car ticket was ¥13,520.
The taxi to the distillery was ¥1950. It was a 15-20 minute ride.
At the end of the tour and lunch, staff at the distillery called a return taxi; allow 30 minutes for it to arrive (It took 15 minutes for me). The return taxi fare was ¥2710.

If you don't have lunch at the distillery, you should have plenty of time to return on the 12:52 train to Shinjuku. If you have lunch, the 1:52 will work.

Whisky Shop
There is not much of a selection at the shop. Nothing has an age statement. They had bottles of Suntory Chita, which are readily available in Tokyo. I purchased a 300 ml bottle of Hakushu; it's a special edition only available at the distillery for ¥1440. I also purchased a 700 ml bottle of Hakushu for ¥4536.

Lunch
A small restaurant, The White Tavern, is on the grounds of the distillery. It was fine, but I think I would have preferred to have lunch at the ramen stand at the train station. My lunch was ¥1580 around the same price as most of the entrees.

Bird Sanctuary
The entrance to the sanctuary was roped off. The distillery grounds are very wooded, but there weren't any birds visible. I wouldn't set aside time to see the birds.

English Language App
The tour is conducted in Japanese. Suntory has an app with an English-language version. It worked fine. The only glitch is it required the screen on my android phone to stay on when playing the audio and used a fair amount of battery power. Also remember to bring headphones. The tour guides were friendly and were happy to answer questions in English.
Written May 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lucas A
Jakarta, Indonesia168 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Couples
I'm a massive fan of Japanese whisky and couldn't wait to visit the Hakushu Distillery in Japan!

Firstly, you need to book online on the first day of the month you wish to go as tours frequently get booked out. Also if you drive there you will be issued a lanyard and wont be able to drink. It's easy enough to get to though, we took the 2 hour train ride from Tokyo to Kobuchizawa Station. From there you jump on the free shuttle bus up to the distillery.

There is a 1000 yen charge for the tour and it commences from the whisky museum which is around a 5 minute walk through beautiful forest from the main entrance. The tour is in Japanese but you can get a hand held device that speaks to you in your language based on numbers programmed in that are posted at each point of the tour. It's an 80 minute tour with the first half being an actual tour through the whisky making process and the second half tasting. The tasting involves 4 x 15ml samples of a white oak, lightly peated and standard Hakushu (the 4th being standard where you're taught to make a high ball drink).

The tour guide was amazing and really informative. I told him were were on our honeymoon and after the tour was over her tracked us down in the shop to give us two amazing Hakushu whisky glasses as a honeymoon gift!

There is a restaurant on site called 'The Terrace'. The food is pretty good for around 1500yen per meal. I recommend the whisky oak barrel smoked chicken and ham! Here's a tip that we learned AFTER, the whisky highball is 600yen at the restaurant but only 300yen at the bar so save your whisky drinking for after lunch!

The grounds around the distillery are beautiful and you can see the Japanese alps in the distance, there is also plenty of paths to walk through the forest and even bird watching.

The barrel whisky shop stocks plenty of Hakushu and Hakushu 12yo (massive shortage worldwide). The prices are fairly comparable to back home, around 20USD cheaper. Anyway, how many chances will you have to buy a bottle from the actual distillery?!?! Get the 12yo :)

Overall this is a beautiful place to visit. Even if you're not a fan of whisky the train ride was spectacular and escaping the crowds of Tokyo was well needed therapy for us. There is also a Suntory water tour (free) on site if you're looking for alternatives.
Written July 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jonathan T
Houston, TX11 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
Overall this tour could use some points of improvement which I’ll elaborate on later.

Visits are reserved in advance which you can do on their website, be sure to do this early as the weekends fill up quickly. Cost is 1000 yen per person for the basic tour which includes tasting.

To get there, we left Tokyo station and transferred at Shinjuku station. Because we had a JR pass for the week, we did not pay extra for this trip. The seats should be booked in advance, although there are people that were able to get on without reserved seats. You can tell based on the color above each seat. Still safer to book ahead at your JR ticket offices.

Trip takes approximately 2 hours so plan accordingly depending on your tour time. We left around 7:15am for a 11:30am tour time. They request you arrive 15 min in advance. When you get to the kabuchizawa stop, there is a taxi stand. We paid 1990 to get to the distillery from the train stop.

We first hit the gift shop, as expected there wasn’t much there. They had a Hakushu distillery reserve (the Hakushu whiskey aged 3 years) and a smaller version which was a “special edition” in a different bottle. Unfortunately because of the language barrier I really couldn’t tell what the difference was. Certainly no older whiskeys were available. They also carried the Chita which is readily available in Tokyo and most of the US. Ended up leaving with mini bottles of Yamazaki 12 packaged with a highball glass which cost 2700 yen.

Next the tour. The location is deep in the forest which is beautiful. You can download a audio app if you don’t speak Japanese and it will prompt you to each area. Fairly standard distillery tour overall. Ended with a short tasting. You try 3 different Hakushu whiskeys. A white oak cask Hakushu, a lightly peated Hakushu, and a single malt Hakushu which was the one available for purchase. They also had an extra one for you to make highball with. The tasting was good, I have to admit I was mildly disappointed to not see them open up even a bottle of the 12 yr for tasting, as most tastings I’ve been to will at least let you try a bit of the “good stuff”. It did feel a bit rushed overall as they were probably looking to get next tour group through.

We left the 11:30 tour by 1:30 and caught an earlier train than we had planned. Luckily there was a 2pm train that we got in without any reservations. Did not eat at the restaurant, the food did not look super appealing compared to what we have been eating over the entire week, although we did not try it so I cannot make a solid assessment.

The overall experience was not bad but just left a bit more to be desired. I think the store should offer something more special for the visitors to make the 2 hour trip worthwhile. Most people who are willing to make an entire day trip to travel to this distillery are big fans and would love to see something to take home. I could easily purchase many of the “coveted” Suntory whiskeys without going to Japan to visit!

Two other points that would enhance the experience. Make the tasting a more thorough experience. Offer something special even if it costs a slightly bit more. Again, I doubt the true fans would worry about the cost. Making better use of the beautiful setting of the forest would also be nice.

If you’re a big fan of Suntory whiskeys you should still go, but I would just set my expectations appropriately.

Written May 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

baergrizz
Mesa, AZ102 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
If you like whisky (or even whiskey), and you're up for a trip out of the big city, this is a nice half day trip.

The location is beautiful, the museum is bigger than I expected and the tour + tasting is fun. The museum covers more than just whiskey and more than just Suntory history. It digs in to the history of making alcohol and touches on the science as well. If you want more of a Suntory-focused museum, the one at Yamazaki near Osaka may be wof more interest. I've even to both, but have only been on the paid tour here. I expect they're very similar except for calling out specific features of the different distilleries. The water from the Alps here is kind of a big deal.

While Yamazaki gets my vote for the easiest to get to from the train station, Hakushu has the best views. Definitely don't miss the view from the top floor of the museum. If you're on a paid tour, get there a little early and spend some time in the museum--or plan to stay a bit after.

Note: the museum shop takes credit cards, but the bar, restaurant and I think the taxis require cash. My taxis took "PayPay," but that is not something I have setup or know anything about. The "JapanTaxi" app I was using in Tokyo did not find any drivers out here (hey, I had to look!)

My taxi ride to and from the Kobuchizawa station was about ¥2100 each way in no traffic (15-20 minutes or so). It was ¥1000 for the tour+tasting at the distillery -- book online a few months out if you are planning to do more than see the museum. I believe just going through the museum is free, but you should check their website to be sure.

My tour guide (I believe her name was 井口) did a great job... note that it is ALL in Japanese, so keep that in mind. There is an audio guide app that you can download (do that before you get there) that they will unlock for you just before the tour begins ... (got headphones? Bring them!) If you forget, there is a WiFi network in the shop that you can use for the download. My feedback there is that the English speaker on the recording could speak A LOT faster. As an alternative, having the ability to "2x" the speed would have been nice. Or, having a text transcript to skim... I kept lagging behind the group if I tried to play the English soundtrack from my phone. It would also be nice if they let you listen to the audio AFTER you've left. Sadly, it re-locks at some point.

Getting here from Tokyo is best on the Azusa limited express trains, which will take about two hours from Shinjuku JR station and cost about $50 per person each way. As for the amount of time total, I caught the outbound Azusa 1 train at 7:00 from Shinjuku and arrived at the distillery's reception desk by 9:30 for my 10:30 tour. I spent most of the hour in the museum and outside on the beautiful grounds. (I had booked the tasting tour a couple of months in advance). At the end of the tour and tasting, I did some shopping in the shop and caught the Azusa 16 train back to Shinjuku at 12:52. I was alone and didn't dawdle at all. Planning for the 18 train an hour later is a safe bet... you can exchange your tickets at the station if you make it in time to catch the earlier one.

An important tip to prevent missing your outbound train: be sure to ask the reception desk at the distillery to call a cab for you about 30 minutes before you need to leave. Mine only took 15 to arrive, but the weather was not great so the place was not that crowded.

I can't stress enough: if you want to sample at the bar... BRING CASH

You really should check the website before heading out to visit. They are closed for maintenance some days and it is not a quick (or inexpensive!) jaunt from Tokyo.
Written November 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IOWman
London, UK439 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Friends
My Japanese colleague went with me for a tour (free) of this distillery. We took a train (2hrs) from Tokyo on a Saturday. The journey is interesting - into the southern Japan Alps - and passes quite quickly. Snacks and drinks are available on the train. At the distillery, we had a nice lunch first and then took the tour. The guide was Japanes speaking but I had an electronic hand set provided, free. The tour is short (30 mins?) and ends with the tasting we all came for! The tour is interesting though and the smells from the process are a delight. A coach makes the short hops between main buildings. It's all very efficient, of course. We went into the bar after the tour and spent a few Yen on extra tastings. Excellent stuff! We took the shuttle bus back to the station. This is a long trip for a short tour. So, make the journey part of the experience. Also, take lunch as there are good, interesting things to be had. If you drive, you cannot drink, nor can the under 20s. Not a trip for children.
Written June 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

悦子 井
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I went to there by car and during I took car,there are a beautiful natures. there are a lot of woods,birds and clean air.I felt my heart's dirty parts are cleaned.

I am child,so I could not drink whiskey.Instead I drank orange juice. It tastes very good!!
If you want to drink it, you should use a train.

We can visit a factory of natural water. the natural water is sold by conviniencestores and surper markets. I drink it well , so I was interested in. A factory is very large!!

I went there with my family and grandpa,grandma.Everyone felt fun.I could spend time effectively.
I want to go again!!

Written September 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sputryk
Silsden, UK141 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2013 • Friends
Visited here whilst staying at the Yatsugatake Royal Hotel during November 2012.

I like whiskey. I like Japanese whiskey. Mother-in-law picked a real treat for me during my stay (I also love astronomy and the hotel has its own observatory! Excellent!).

The distillery and museum were fascinating. I absolutely loved standing in the warehouse, breathing in deep the wonderful, WONDERFUL aroma. (Why so many visitors cover their noses when in here I will never know.) I could have stayed in there all day! The shop is well stocked. And as a gift, the distillery hands out cut-glass tumblers to all visitors on entry.

A great day out was had. The only real downside I can envision is that it may prove a little difficult for non-Japanese to make all the necessary travel arrangements - the distillery is quite isolated, out in the hillside. But what a fantastic location to enjoy.
Written May 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hari Iyer
Livingston, NJ83 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Family
First of all, the natural wooded setting floors you. The highlights are the water and whisky tours, the whisky tours ending with a tasting session. On arrival, you can get the FREE tickets for the tours right at the parking area. You can also call and make a reservation the day before your visit. The whisky tour does tend to fill-up quickly.

A short walk from the parking area through the woods takes you to the Suntory Whisky Museum. The tours start here and they are in Japanese, buy you can borrow a recorded English/Chinese/French guide that will talk you through the various points of interest. The whisky tour takes you through the process of making whisky and then on to the warehouse where probably thousands of barrels of whisky are stored for maturing. As you walk in, you are hit with this very sweet and burning pungent smell of all the alcohol in that building :-). Of course some people cannot handle the burning feeling down their throat and chest.

At the end of the whiskey tour there is a tasting session, where you are served with the locally distilled Hakushu single malt. As there is zero-tolerance (really zero) for drink-and-drive in Japan, the driver in the group is identified right at the beginning and will not be served any alcohol at the end of the tour.

The water tour is to see their mineral water bottling plant. It is the same water they use to make their whisky.

The tour as should be expected will end at the souvenir shop selling all their products and some more. If you want to buy non-souvenir whisky and you will be flying home from one of the international airports, save your money and do your shopping at duty-free. It is significantly cheaper.
Written April 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kuraku3826
Tokyo, Japan70 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Couples
Hakusyu whisky is one of the best whisky I recommend since there are no whisky that taste like them.
(Well balanced creamy but elegant smokiness and older one with nice fruitiness such as ripe grapefruits)

Therefore it is worth visiting but since the location is in a remote place, it may be hard for foreigners to visit.
(Taking the right train and getting the taxi)

There are guide info by audio equipment but basically the tour is too short for whisky lovers
(I assume that people coming here must have passion toward whisky).

For examples, you cannot see the potstill directly because of the glass and the explanation of distillation is just 3 minutes. (Hakshu is special since there are many pairs of different shape of potstill therefore that must be the core info!)

Though you can have drams of no age statement and 12 yo for free.

There is only one distillery limited Items which is 43% abv which is 1400yen. 300 ml . and is very impressive and that is the reason I gave 4 stars.

I gave 5 stars for Japanese since there are many seminars for newbies giving information how to enjoy whisies.
(The seminars are all in Japanese...)

In conclusion, visiting once may be enough for foreigners unless with no seminars in English (at least with subtitle of ppt).

Note.

1. Don't buy whisky else from limited Items here, because the Duty Free Shop is much cheaper!

2. Drink the Mizunara wood (Japanese Oak) whisky at the tasting room which you'll never be able to drink overseas (though the whisky is distilled in Yamazaki and is drinkerble over there).

3. You can receive a free glass buy showing or printing the URL down here.
(Or simply ask!)
http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/hakushu/yutai/index.html?fromid=hikikaeken_banner
Written March 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 40
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Suntory Hakushu Distillery - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All Hokuto HotelsHokuto Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Hokuto
All things to do in Hokuto
Amusement Parks in Hokuto
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars