Miyagikyo Distillery logo, since 1969.

Miyagikyo Distillery

  • Japan
  • World Whiskies Awards 2023, International Spirits Challenge 2019, World Whiskies Awards 2019
  • https://www.nikka.com/eng/distilleries/miyagikyo/
Phone Number
  • 989-3433
  • Nikka 1, Aoba, Sendai City, Miyagi

Modern red building with manicured landscape.

History of Miyagikyo Distillery

Establishment and Early Development

Foundation Year: Miyagikyo Distillery, part of Nikka Whisky Distilling, was established in 1969, marking a significant expansion in the company’s whisky production capabilities.

Location: The distillery is situated near Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan. This location was strategically chosen for its environmental benefits to whisky production.

Original Name: Initially known as the Sendai Distillery, it was the second distillery established by Nikka Whisky, following the success of their Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido.

Masataka Taketsuru’s Role

Founder’s Background: Masataka Taketsuru, a pivotal figure in Japanese whisky, was instrumental in establishing Miyagikyo Distillery. Born in 1894 into a Hiroshima-based sake brewing family, he brought a unique perspective to whisky making.

International Influence: Taketsuru’s extensive training in Scotland significantly shaped his approach to whisky production, combining traditional Japanese techniques with Scottish methods.

Contribution to Japanese Whisky: His expertise and vision played a crucial role in the development and international recognition of Japanese whisky.

Miyagikyo’s Distinctive Whisky Profile

Characteristics: Miyagikyo is renowned for its light and fruity whisky profile, distinctively influenced by sherry casks.

Flavour Notes: The distillery’s single malt is characterized by a combination of fruity elements like apples and pears, accompanied by notes of grassiness, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate.

Portfolio Evolution and Visitor Experience

Changes in 2015: Faced with dwindling stocks, Nikka announced a significant change in Miyagikyo’s portfolio in 2015, discontinuing their aged statements and introducing a new no-age-statement Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky.

Distillery Tours: Miyagikyo Distillery offers insightful tours to visitors, providing an opportunity to learn about the whisky production process and to sample different whisky varieties.

Tour Regulations: The tours, which are free of charge, allow visitors to sample three types of whisky. The premises maintain a non-smoking policy, and outside food and drinks, as well as pets, are not permitted on the property.

Awards Won by Miyagikyo Distillery

World Whiskies Awards 2023: Taketsuru Pure Malt was awarded “World’s Best Blended Malt”.

International Spirits Challenge 2019: Taketsuru Pure Malt 25 Years Old received the “Trophy”.

World Whiskies Awards 2019: Taketsuru Pure Malt 25 Years Old again won “World’s Best Blended Malt”.

International Spirits Challenge 2018: Nikka Coffey Vodka was awarded the “Trophy” in the Vodka Category.

World Whiskies Awards 2018: Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old won “World’s Best Blended Malt”.

International Spirits Challenge 2017: Nikka Coffey Malt received the “Trophy” for grain whisky.

Icons of Whisky 2016: Yoichi Distillery’s Manager, Koichi Nishikawa, was named “Distillery Manager of the Year”.

International Spirits Challenge 2015: Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd. was named “Distiller of the Year”, and Nikka Whisky From the Barrel received the “Trophy” for Best International Blend.

Miyagikyo Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Introduction to Miyagikyo Distillery

Establishment: Founded in 1969 by Masataka Taketsuru, Miyagikyo Distillery is nestled in the scenic mountains of Sakunami.

Founder’s Legacy: Taketsuru, revered as the “Father of Japanese Whisky,” selected this location for its pure water and conducive climate, essential for premium whisky production.

Tour Overview

Duration: The tour at Miyagikyo Distillery typically lasts around 70 minutes.

Reservation Requirement: Visitors are required to book their tour in advance.

Tour Highlights

Visitor Center: Begin your journey at the visitor center, where you’ll delve into Nikka’s storied history and the whisky-making process.

Production Facilities: Explore key areas like the kiln tower, mash house, wash house, and the iconic pot stills in the still house.

Unique Distillation: Discover the indirect steam heating of the pot stills, a technique crucial to Miyagikyo’s light and elegant malt whisky.

Warehouse Visit: Witness the aging process in the warehouse, where whisky acquires its distinctive character.

Tasting Session

Whisky Varieties: Experience a guided tasting of different whiskies, including Super Nikka, Single Malt Miyagikyo, and Apple Wine.

Sensory Exploration: Learn to appreciate the nuanced aromas and flavors that arise from varied aging processes and production methods.

Gift Shop and Tasting Bar

Exclusive Whiskies: The gift shop offers a selection of exclusive whiskies, perfect for souvenirs or collectors.

No Reservation Needed: Access to the gift shop and tasting bar doesn’t require a prior reservation.

Diverse Range: Find a variety of products, including limited editions and whisky-related items.

Additional Attractions

Surrounding Amenities: The distillery’s vicinity includes attractions like hot springs and a mountain temple complex, enriching your visit.

Combining Culture with Whisky: These additional sites offer a glimpse into Japanese culture and natural beauty.

Access and Transportation

Public Transit Options: Convenient access via public transit, including a free shuttle bus from Sakunami Station (available on weekends and holidays) and a city bus from Sendai Station.

Flask & Barrel Review of Miyagikyo Distillery

As a whisky collector who’s been to numerous distillery tours, I found my visit to the Miyagikyo Distillery both enlightening and delightful. Nestled in a picturesque setting, it offers a unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation.

The tour was informative, providing an in-depth look at their whisky-making process. Their range of whiskies, especially the no-age-statement single malts, stood out with their distinct light and fruity profile.

The tasting session was a highlight, allowing me to savour their exquisite flavours. Overall, I’d rate my experience 4.7 out of 5 – a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast!

What To Do Nearby Miyagikyo Distillery

Sakunami Onsen: Located approximately 1.9 km from the distillery, this spa offers a relaxing experience in a traditional Japanese hot spring setting. It’s a great way to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of the area​​​​.

Homei Shijuhachi Falls: Only about 1 km from the distillery, these falls provide a serene spot for nature lovers. The scenic beauty of the falls makes for a tranquil outing​​​​.

Akiu Fall: Situated around 5.5 km away, Akiu Fall is a stunning natural waterfall, renowned for its beauty. It’s a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and nature admirers​​​​.

Naruko Valley: This valley is known for its breathtaking scenery, especially during autumn when the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and gold. It’s a bit further away but well worth the visit for those who appreciate natural landscapes​​.

Tashiro Island (Cat Island): For cat lovers, this unique island, dominated by its feline inhabitants, is a must-visit. The island provides a quirky and memorable experience for those who enjoy interacting with animals​​.

Sendai Daikannon: This impressive statue is one of the world’s tallest representations of a Buddhist deity. It offers a panoramic view of Sendai city and a glimpse into Buddhist teachings.

Zuihoden Temple: This historic temple is the mausoleum of the famous samurai lord Date Masamune. Its elaborate decorations and serene surroundings make it a significant cultural site​​.

Osaki Hachimangu Shrine: Known for its grand architecture and annual festivals, this shrine symbolises the region’s rich cultural heritage​​.

Shiroishi Castle: This reconstructed castle provides a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past and the history of the Date Clan. It’s a great spot for history buffs​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Miyagikyo Distillery?

Le Copain du Campagne: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +81223953110 and address is Kawasaki-17-1 Sakunami, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 989-3431, Japan.

Two Seven Harley (80): This restaurant has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. Contact details are +81223952780, and the address is Shirasawa-23-1 Kamiayashi, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 989-3124, Japan.

L’Albero: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +81223929570, and the address is Japan, 〒989-3431 Miyagi, Sendai, Aoba Ward, Sakunami, Bomeki−10.

What hotels are near Miyagikyo Distillery?

Hohoemino Kūyufu Tsuruya: This 4-star hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. Contact number is +81236542051 and address is 2-chome-5-14 Kamatahoncho, Tendō, Yamagata 994-0025, Japan.

Lodge Christmas Rose Zao: A 2-star hotel with a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +81236949533, and the address is 826 Zaoonsen, Yamagata, 990-2301, Japan.

Hotel New Mitoya: Rated 3.5 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +81223982301, and the address is Yakushi-102 Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 982-0241, Japan.