White Oak Akashi single malt whisky label.

White Oak Distillery

  • Japan
  • Silver Award at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2023),
  • Okubocho, Akashi, Hyogo 674-0065, Japan
Phone Number
  • Okubocho, Akashi, Hyogo 674-0065, Japan

White Oak Whisky Distillery facade with tree and flowers.


History of White Oak Distillery

Establishment and Early Years

White Oak Distillery, renowned for its Japanese whisky, is situated in Akashi, a city in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. The distillery’s journey began in 1984, marking its entry into the world of whisky production. Owned by Eigashima Shuzo Co., Ltd, the distillery initially focused on traditional production, catering predominantly to the Japanese market. However, it’s important to note that Eigashima Shuzo has a rich history dating back to 1888, indicating a long-standing presence in the realm of beverage production​​​​.

Transition to Whisky Production

In 1919, White Oak became the first distillery in Japan to receive a license for distilling spirits, a significant milestone that paved the way for its future in whisky production. The distillery maintained its traditional production methods for several decades, focusing solely on the domestic market. It was not until 1984, with the construction of a new distillery, that White Oak embarked on a dedicated journey towards whisky distillation​​.

Modern Era and Expansion

In recent times, the White Oak Distillery has gained prominence for its range of whiskies, particularly under the “Akashi” label, which was first released in late 2007. The distillery, known for its picturesque location near the sea and the city of Kobe, benefits from a mild and stable climate that contributes positively to the whisky maturation process. White Oak produces single malt whiskies in small quantities, with a focus on increasing quality over time​​​​.

Current Operations and Product Range

The distillery is equipped with two pot stills, which are relatively small. This size typically leads to a heavier and more congener-heavy spirit. However, Akashi whiskies manage to retain complexity while having a lighter character. The malt used is usually lightly peated and imported from Scotland. Akashi Whisky matures in an extremely humid environment, which leads to rapid maturation compared to cooler climates like Scotland​​.

White Oak Distillery now produces a variety of whiskies, including limited-release variants each year. These releases often feature age statements and unique cask types, offering a rich and diverse range of flavours to whisky enthusiasts​​.

Legacy and Impact

White Oak Distillery’s journey from a traditional Japanese beverage producer to a distinguished whisky distillery highlights its adaptability and commitment to quality. As one of the pioneers in Japanese whisky production, it holds a special place in the industry’s history, continuing to evolve and leave its mark in the world of spirits.

Awards Won by White Oak Distillery

Silver Award at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2023): This competition is renowned globally and receiving a silver award is a testament to the quality and craftsmanship of the White Oak Distillery’s products. The distillery’s Akashi Single Malt 7yr Bourbon Barrel, aged exclusively in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, received this distinction​​.

White Oak Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The tour at Eigashima Shuzo Co., Ltd. provides a comprehensive experience of the whisky distillery and sake factories. The guided tours are primarily in Japanese, but English handouts are available for international guests.

The tour also includes a museum displaying historical brewing instruments, documents, and product labels. It’s important to note that the tours are only available on weekdays and require prior reservations. This tour offers an in-depth look into the traditional Japanese whisky and sake-making art.

Flask & Barrel Review of White Oak Distillery

As someone who’s visited more than a few distilleries, I’d rate my experience at White Oak Distillery a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s why:

First off, the distillery setting in Akashi City is just beautiful. Being near the coast, there’s a certain charm to the place that sets it apart from others I’ve visited. The air has a hint of sea breeze, which adds a unique touch to their whiskies.

Speaking of whiskies, the tasting experience was top-notch. As a collector, I have a bit of a palate for fine spirits, and I must say, their Akashi Single Malt stood out. It’s aged in a mix of ex-Bourbon, sherry, and brandy casks, and you can taste that complex, layered profile. The salted caramel and subtle peat flavors had a long, memorable finish that I quite enjoyed.

The Akashi Ume, their plum-flavored whisky, was a pleasant surprise too. It’s not something you find everywhere, and it had this nice balance of sweetness and acidity, perfect for a more relaxed sip.

The tour itself was informative and not too technical. I’ve been on tours where they bombard you with so much information that it’s overwhelming. Here, it was just the right detail, giving a good overview of their process and history without getting too bogged down in the technicalities.

The only reason I’m not going full 5 out of 5 is because the tour felt a bit rushed. I would have loved to spend a bit more time exploring the distillery and maybe chatting more with the staff, who were friendly and knowledgeable.

What To Do Nearby White Oak Distillery

Tabist Business Ryokan Akashiya Annex: Located 5.52 km from the distillery, this business ryokan provides a comfortable stay with traditional Japanese hospitality, making it a good option for overnight visitors.

Akashi Luminous Hotel: This hotel is situated 5.2 km from the distillery and offers affordable accommodation. It could be a convenient base for exploring the area.

U.R.A. Awaji Beer: For beer enthusiasts, this brewery is 16.7 km away and provides another opportunity to sample local craft beers.

Beer Club Kobe: Positioned 24.03 km from the distillery, this club is a bit further afield but offers a diverse selection of beers, likely catering to a range of tastes.

Brewery Restaurant Csarda Kobe Branch: Located 25.1 km away, this brewery restaurant is an ideal spot to combine dining with beer tasting, offering a unique culinary experience.

Sapporokobetaishikan Jyozosho: At a distance of 25.26 km, this brewery adds to the list of beer-related attractions in the area, possibly offering a different style or selection of brews.

Awajishima Hof Bräu: This brewery, 26.6 km from the distillery, adds to the diversity of beer experiences available in the vicinity.

IN International: Situated 30.3 km away, this place is another option for those interested in exploring local breweries.

MBSS Beer Kobe: 32.39 km from the distillery, this is another brewery that beer enthusiasts might find worth visiting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near White Oak Distillery?

山ぶき (Yamabuki): It has a rating of 5.0 stars on Google Maps. Unfortunately, the contact number is not listed. Their address is Nishijima Okubocho, Akashi, Hyogo 674-0065, Japan.

Kanetsugu: This seafood restaurant has a rating of 4.3 stars. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +81 78-779-5933. Their address is Akashi, Hyogo 674-0065, Japan.

Asian Dining Agan: This Asian restaurant has a rating of 4.3 stars. You can contact them at +81 78-947-3111. Their address is 1-chome-1-9 Uozumicho Sumiyoshi, Akashi, Hyogo 674-0083, Japan.

What hotels are near White Oak Distillery?

Super Hotel Kakogawa Ekimae: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +81 79-459-9000. Their address is Jikemachi-621 Kakogawacho, Kakogawa, Hyogo 675-0066, Japan.

Urban Hotel Miki: This hotel has a rating of 4.0 stars. You can contact them at +81 794-86-6636. Their address is 3 Chome-21-115 Suehiro, Miki, Hyogo 673-0403, Japan.

Hotel Prefort: This Japanese-style business hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars. For reservations, their contact number is +81 78-940-8025. The address is Japan, 〒673-0005 Hyogo, Akashi, Kokubo, 2-chome−6−10.