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The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery (Tg[R, Santorī Yamazaki Jōryūsho) is a whisky distillery in the Yamazaki district near Kyoto. Opened in 1923, the distillery produces Suntory's flagship line of Yamazaki single malt whiskies, which have won many international awards.

The Yamazaki Distillery is surrounded by nature and greenery in a quiet and serene district that has long been known for its quality water, a key ingredient to great tasting whisky. The entire process of whisky distillation and aging is done here. A museum and distillery tours are available to tourists; however, prior reservations are required for a visit.

The Yamazaki Whisky Museum is a two-story building that introduces the Suntory company, its founder, Shinjiro Torii, and its history and products. The whisky distillation process is explained on the museum's second floor with miniature models of the equipment. English descriptions are provided. There is also a gift shop on the second floor, offering whisky-related snacks and goods, as well as small bottles of un-aged whisky.

On the ground floor is a whisky library, showcasing the wide variety of whiskies in various shades of brown, yellow and gold. A cash-only tasting counter can be found on the same level, and visitors are welcome to sample a dram of any of the whiskies. Menus are available in both English and Japanese. Prices per dram vary, starting from around 500 yen.

The distillation process can only be viewed on guided tours that allow for entry into the otherwise sealed-off premises. Once in the distillery, the air changes noticeably to smell like sake at first before changing to whisky notes towards the end of the tour. Visitors are brought through the plant in chronological order of whisky-making, starting in the mashing area, then continuing to the fermentation washbacks and the large pot stills used for distillation, before inspecting the warehouse where the casked whiskies are allowed to mature and age.

The tour ends with a whisky tasting session which explains the differences between single malt whiskies and how to enjoy whisky. The entire tour takes about 80 minutes. Visitors who join the tour are free to visit the Yamazaki Whisky Museum before or after their tour. The tour is conducted in Japanese, but audio guides in English, Mandarin and French are also available.

Getting there and around

The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery is located in the Yamazaki district near Kyoto. It can be reached in about ten minutes on foot from either the Yamazaki Station on the JR Kyoto Line (15 minutes, 220 yen one way from Kyoto Station; or 30 minutes, 470 yen one way from Osaka Station) or the Oyamazaki Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line (30 minutes, 270 yen one way from Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station; or about 35 minutes, 320 yen one way from Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station).

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees

Both the guided tour and entry to the museum require prior reservations which can be made online or over the phone in English or Japanese from two to three months in advance.

Guided tours cost 1000 yen per person (paid on the day of the visit). Tours are held multiple times per day and tend to book out quickly on weekends, public holidays and during popular travel seasons. It is advisable to book early to get your preferred date and timeslot. Participants have to arrive at least 15 minutes before their tour starts to complete payment and registration.

Entry to the Yamazaki Whisky Museum is free. If you are not joining a guided tour, advance reservations for visiting the museum must be made for a specific date and timeslot. Unlike the distillery tours, museum entry reservations rarely book out. Visitors who have a reservation for a distillery tour can view the museum without additional reservation.

Hotels around Kyoto

    • Japanese hotel, Ryokan Nishiyama
      Experience the real Japan at our affordable ryokan. Close to major tourist spots in Kyoto.
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    • Ryokufuso
      A friendly Japanese hotel near Nishi Honganji temple. 5min by taxi from JR Kyoto Sta. Enjoy your stay with the Japanese room and communal baths. Free Wi-Fi & parking lot.
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    • Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Kyoto, this traditional Japanese guest house features free Wi-Fi and a free public computer. Shichijo Onmae bus stop is 3 minutesf walk away. A seating area and shared bathroom are provided with each room at Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS. Free toiletries are provided and blankets are available upon request. Select rooms have a garden view. A shared living area and bicycles are available for guestsf use during their stay at this Kyoto Guesthouse Compass. Access to the shared kitchen is available upon request. The guest house is 4.5 km from Imperial Palace and 2.2 km from Kyoto Station. Nijo Castle and Toji Castle are within a 30 minutesf bus ride away.
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    • IMAYA Hostel Kyoto
      Budget-friendly
      Attractively situated in the centre of Kyoto, IMAYA Hostel Kyoto features air-conditioned rooms, a bar, free WiFi and a shared lounge. The property is situated less than 1 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, a 16-minute walk from Nijo Castle and 2.4 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, a concierge service and luggage storage for guests. All guest rooms at the hostel are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a kitchenette. The rooms have a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. Kyoto Imperial Palace is 2.9 km from IMAYA Hostel Kyoto, while Heian Shrine is 3.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from the accommodation.
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    • Guesthouse Engawa
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse Engawa offers accommodation in Kyoto. Guests can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of Kyoto in their rooms. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, and an electric kettle will be provided upon request. Bathroom facilities are shared with other guests. Free toiletries and hairdryers are also available. There is luggage storage space at the property. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 600 metres from Guesthouse Engawa, while Heian Shrine is 2.4 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Gallery Nozawa Inn
      Budget-friendly
      Gallery Nozawa Inn offers accommodation in Kyoto, 25 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Every room includes a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. Each room is equipped with a private toilet, and bathrooms are shared. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. Guests can sample Japanese-style breakfast featuring seasonal ingredients. There is a public bathhouse located a 10-minute walk away. Nijo Castle is 2.4 km from Gallery Nozawa Inn, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.4 km from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 36 km away.
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    • Guest House Oumi
      Budget-friendly
      Well set in the centre of Kyoto, Guest House Oumi provides air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi and a garden. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and room service for guests. All units include a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. A continental breakfast is available daily at the guest house. Nijo Castle is less than 1 km from Guest House Oumi, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from the accommodation.
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    • Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie
      Luxury
      Ideally situated in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie is situated 1.3 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, 1.9 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto and 2.3 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has family rooms. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a wardrobe, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel the rooms have bed linen and towels. An American breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation. Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie offers a terrace. Shoren-in Temple is 2.7 km from the hotel, while Nijo Castle is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel.
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    • Ryokan Mugen (Adult Only)
      Luxury
      Mugen is a property that was built 160 years ago, situated in Kyoto, 1 km from Nijo Castle. Every room at Mugen features an en suite shower room, toilet, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property. You will find a shared lounge on site and a bar at the annex building. The ryokan also offers bike hire. Imperial Palace is 1.1 km from Mugen, while Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is 1.6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Ryokan Tori
      Mid-range
      Ryokan Tori is located in Kyoto, 2 km from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The property is around 2.3 km from Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. The property is 3.2 km from Kinkaku-ji Temple and 3.7 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. All guest rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a kettle. Each room has a shared bathroom, while selected rooms are fitted with a balcony and others also offer a garden view. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at tori can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Heian Shrine is 5 km from the accommodation. Itami Airport is 50 km from the property.
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    • GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station
      Luxury
      Situated in Kyoto, 1.5 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto and 2.7 km from the centre, GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station features air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi, and a shared lounge. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with bidet and slippers. A fridge and stovetop are also available, as well as a kettle. The aparthotel provides a laundry service, as well as business facilities like fax and photocopying. Sanjusangen-do Temple is 2.1 km from GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station, while Tofuku-ji Temple is 2.3 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 45 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hotel Muso
      Mid-range
      Well located in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, Hotel Muso is located 1.8 km from Sanjusangen-do Temple, 1.9 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto and 2 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. This 3-star hotel offers a concierge service and luggage storage space. The accommodation provides a hot tub, free WiFi throughout the property and family rooms. The rooms in the hotel are fitted with a coffee machine. Each room has a kettle and a private bathroom with a bidet and slippers, while selected rooms come with a kitchen equipped with a stovetop. Guest rooms will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 2 km from Hotel Muso, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from the accommodation.
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