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On my recent trip to Sendai, I visited the Nikka Whisky Distillery for a tour. You would first have to make a reservation on the website to visit.
On the day of my visit, it seems that JR is holding an appreciation festival at Sakunami Station, where the shuttle bus for the distillery departs.
To be honest, I am not one for small-scale cultural festivities, but I admire the performer's dedication to performing for a crowd with fewer people than them.
I made a reservation for a 2 pm slot but was bored with the festival and decided to head down earlier. The shuttle bus driver called in to check if I could join an earlier session, and I could.
The shuttle bus took 5 minutes to get to the distillery, and after checking in at the reception, I was asked to wait for the tour to start.
The tour takes you to multiple locations across the entire brewery, visiting buildings and a very curated portion of the brewing process.
You'll also get to see the differences in whiskey color when using different types of barrel materials.
You'll also see the first barrel produced from the distillery in 1969. The guide mentioned that a blend containing some whiskey from this barrel was sold for thousands, but I couldn't find information on this.
Last but not least, the moment you have been waiting for… the free tasting! You would be given three types of whiskey, the Single Malt Miyagikyo, Rare Old Super, and Apple Wine.
There's sparking water, still water, and ice available to mix to your preference. Soft drinks are available for drivers as well. I would recommend sparkling water for the sweeter Apple Wine.
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This entire experience was excellent, especially at a low price of zero yen. I would recommend going when travel is open for Japan and if you find yourself in Sendai.