Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillery

Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillery

Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillery
4
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
MIYAGIKYO Distillery. The location was selected for whisky production because of its clean air, just the right humidity for storage, and abundant underground water filtered through a layer of peat. In Yoichi, Masataka Taketsuru saw numerous reminders of Scotland, and this convinced him that this should be the home of Japanese Whisky. The Miyagikyo Distillery is also in northern Japan, in Sendai (lat.38 N), Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu. Travelling in the area one day, Masataka came upon this site completely enclosed by mountains and sandwiched between two rivers. He immediately knew that this was the perfect site for whisky distilling. Sendai's fresh water, suitable humidity and crisp air produce soft and mild malt.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Top ways to experience Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillery and nearby attractions

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

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles321 reviews
Excellent
125
Very good
156
Average
33
Poor
3
Terrible
4

Christine J
20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We didn’t book but managed to just get added to a tour - think they start every half hour. They gave us a QR code which enables us to get the explanations in English on our phone as guide only spoke Japanese. We found that worked really well and gave us a good understanding of the history and process. Some of the information boards also had English and we used Google Translate app if there were any others we wanted to read (with eSIM the Google translate can work off a photo really well).
Tasting at the end of 3 whiskies for everyone except driver, and then the opportunity to buy at the shop. Worth a visit.
Written May 24, 2024
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.

Agent226
Toronto, Canada1,157 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
There is no entrance fee to go to the factory, however it is about a 1000 Yen bus ride to get to the factory from Sendai Station. They have tours that depart every hour. Please note that the tour is in Japanese, unless you are lucky enough to get an English speaker. You must do the tour, to get to the sampling area.

After the Whiskey tour, you arrive at the gift shop and Whiskey sampling area. You can try different ages of Whiskey, as well as Apple Whiskey (lovely).
They also give you a bucket of ice so you can add to your Whiskey as you please.

There is no limit to the amount of samples, however if you stay for more than an hour, or get too drunk, they will apologize that they have to kick you out.
Written November 15, 2010
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.

Ozziepore
Melbourne, Australia832 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
I thought I would drop this line to anyone thinking of going to the Nikki factory near Sendai. I found lots of partial information before we went but nothing as specific as I would have liked. I use a walking stick so some of the options were not open to me (such as the 2.4 kilometre walk from Sakunami station).

So, if you want to get there with less walking, on a weekday (e.g., no shuttle bus) here is what to do

From Sendai Station, wait at bus stop number ten and take bus number 840 toward Sakunami Onsen. At the time of writing, the buses went at half past the hour (e.g, 11:30, 12:30 etc.). The bus trip is long (about an hour) and not that interesting, so you could take something to read.

Once on the bus you can read the screen at the front and keep an eye on station names, the Nikka factory stop does have a name and also an English advice message that this is where you get off for the NIkka factory. This is all good news because otherwise you look like you are getting off in the middle of nowhere. However there is a sign toward the NIkka factory, I just didn’t see it until I got off the bus. Follow that sign down the road and you can’t miss it, although even the walk into the factory is quite long for someone with a minor disability.

Once you get the to factory they have a list of all the train departure times from Sakunami (that is presuming you aren’t there on a weekend in which case there is the shuttle bus). Nothing I read online indicated the availability of taxis in the area, however they ARE available once you get there and the lady at the Nikka desk booked a taxi for us, even timing it to arrive at an appropriate time for the end of the tour plus shopping but in plenty of time to get to Sakanumi train station to catch the train back.

So that all worked perfectly for us. I won’t say more about the factory and tour, others have said it all. It was a nice day out and even more so as it was cherry blossom season and the place is quite beautiful at that time. Good luck in your whisky adventures.

Written April 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.

Seidenpriester
Luebeck, Germany310 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Solo
I only gave three points, because ... it is time consuming to get there and it only interesting for whisky buffs. And even then it is only an average destillery ... Let me explain.

Getting there: The destillery can be reached by bus. The bus is starting at JR Sendai station. There is only one bus per hour and the bus takes over one hour itself. From the bus stop it takes another 10-15 minutes walk. There is also a train. But the closest train station (Sakunami) is 2,5km away from the destillery. --> Visiting the destillery really takes half a day.

The destillery: The history of Whisky in Japan startet with Suntory and Nikka. Miyagikyo is the second big destillery of Nikka after the main destillery in Yoichi. For that reason alone the destillery is a point of interest for everyone who is interested in japanese whisky.

The destillery provides a guided tour that does not require a reservation in advance. Big bonus point. After the tour you can sample 2 whisky free. For any additional dram you have to pay. They have a wide amout of Nikka whisky you can chose from. You can sample 21 year old whisky without the need to buy the whole expensive bottle or you can sample a whisky that you will not find in a bar or a store outside Japan. The price for a dram is really fair. Specially if you consider the prices of whisky in a japanese bar. The tasting is a big selling point to visit the destillery. And you can also by some "Destillery Edition" whisky that you only can purchase here at the destillery and nowhere elsse. Big point.

And now the reasons why I only give three points:
(1) The time to get there and getting back to Sendai. It really takes half a day. The visitor center closes at 4:30pm. So you need to take a bus before 1pm to have enough time for the guided tour (1h) and some tasting (at least 1h) and get back to the bus stop in time.
(2) The first impression of the distillery is not that remarkable. It looks like a factory. This is killing the mood a little bit.
(3) The tour is quite ok but it is a standard tour that you can get in every destillery. You do not visit the Malting area and the mash tuns are behind glass.
(4) Miyagikyo is the origin of the "Coffey Malt" and the "Coffey Grain". But the tour does not cover the coffey still itself from that these whisky are coming from. The show a picture in the advertisement video bu that's it. This, in my opinion, is a big letdown! The Coffey Whisky is (for me) the major thing that seperates Miyagikyo from the rest. -- Even if the coffey still looks like something that belongs into a chemical lab or a oil raffinery. If own both coffey whisky and a really hoped to see there origin.
Written October 6, 2018
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.

TomKXY
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan166 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
The tour is in Japanese but they will provide a recording in English to follow along. The highlight of the tour of course is the tastings! Shuttle from Sakunami station and 3 generous glasses of high quality Nikka Whisky are provided (along with non alcoholic refreshments) free of charge. I highly recommend the tour. The paid samplers of aged whisky (including the award winning 17yr Takesuru blend) and the gift shop is reasonably priced.

Of course, as you'll be tasting alcoholic drinks the best way to travel is by train rather than bringing a sober driver. The JR line is convenient to Kita Sendai and Sendai stations but does not run very often (especially late in evenings or on Sundays or holidays). I do not recommend taking the last tour in the day as there will be a long wait at Sakunami station to return to the city.
Written October 3, 2017
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.

htodd503
Portland, OR74 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
I understand how people are up and down about the factory tour. It's 40+ minutes on the train from Sendai and then if you're not there during the weekend you have another 30-40 minutes walking to get into the hall. I did it on a day where it was probably 33°C and I'd already gone to see Yamadera. The humidity in the area is oppressive, and one of the Japanese tourists told me the area was picked in part for the humidity and how it would help create a great whiskey.

Japanese tours can be a little cold. You have to look at things through windows and a lot of what goes on in a distillery is just looking at pipes and tanks. You don't even get to see the Coffey still, though they will point out the building. I've heard that the VIP tour gets to see a barrel being charred, but you have to be a VIP in the minds of Nikka Whiskey, not in your own mind.

The best part is after the tour. There's a small bar where you can get short pours of Nikka for very little money. Where else can you even find Taketsuru 12, 17, and 21 and when I went the short pour of 21 was only ¥500! There was even a special edition Taketsuru that was ¥7,000 for a very short pour and I was glad I tried it.

I'd recommend finding a non-driving way to get there so you can taste a little of everything. During the tour they tell you there's three types of Yoichi that they blend to make the single malt (it's my understanding that they sort the barrels into different flavor categories) and I had a taste of the Peaty and Salty was worth tasting on its own.

Just remember, it might seem long way to go but just going from Osaka to Kyoto is going to take you longer and to me those cities are right next to each other.
Written September 8, 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.

Matthew G
Adelaide, Australia33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018
Free shuttle buses run to and from the near by train station! Well worth a visit if you're staying in Sendai. The whisky is delicious and the tour has english audio.
Written January 28, 2018
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.

Seven W
Washington DC, DC364 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Couples
To book a tour for English, you have to call or fax. We just dropped in. If there're a big tour, you might not get in the tour.

From Sendai JR Station, you take a train, but some trains don't go all the way to JR Sakunami Station, so check the time table for the train before you go. Otherwise, you'll end up waiting for the connecting train for an hour like us. For weekdays, there're free shuttle from JR Sakunami Station to the distillery. You can also take a local bus, but you have to walk about 10min from the bus stop to the distillery. If you want to walk from JR Sakunami Station to the distillery, it'd take 20min.

The tour is basically in Japanese only. For English speakers, you need to get a recorded tour and play at each station for English explanation. All displays are Japanese. When we visited on mid-April weekend, as we're the only participants, we're in a private tour.

The biggest fun is free tasting at the end. We're provided 2 kinds of whiskies and an apple wine. They also offer tonic to mix with whiskey and cold tea/soda for free. If you want to try high quality whiskies, you can taste for a pay at the bar. At the shop, you can also purchase different kinds of whiskies. Whiskies at Narita Duty-Frees sell only premium Nikka whiskies only (think $500 a bottle). Super Nikka isn't available at Narita Duty-Frees.
Written May 24, 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.

Tar T
Bangkok, Thailand6 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Solo
It took 45 minute from jr sendai station (sendai station to sakunami station) , at sakunami station they provides free shuttle bus (4min to distillery).

Tour is free ( about 45-50min), after tour whiskey test (2type of whiskey and 1 type of apple wine).
There is a shop with many kind of whiskey.
Written May 29, 2017
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.

Louise D
Elizabethtown, PA127 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017
We visited the Nikka factory following our visit to the nearby Akio Onsen. Our daughter in law loves whiskey and as a native of Japan has wanted to visit this iconic factory known for its history of bringing Scottish whiskey making to Japan. The area is stunning with nearby waterfalls and woods. The factory is nestled in the green woods and serves up a great history lesson on the process of making fine whiskey. I have done similar tours in Rum factories in Jamaica and they are fascinating. You can also do a whiskey tasting after the tour as well. It was great fun and super enjoyable if you are in the area and have an hour or so to spare.
Written May 9, 2018
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.

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Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillery - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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