Yamazaki Distillery, Yamazaki, Japan

Nothing beats a fine dram after a hard day.

The Japanese are aware of this too, and have more than a few of their own oak-soaked nectars worth mentioning. Japanese beverage giant Suntory has been busy gobbling up popular Scotch brands such as Bowmore and Glenfiddich in Scotland while making their own concoctions back home at the Yamazaki Distillery.

Seated at the foot of Mount Tenno, a place revered for its above-average spring water, the distillery is a short ten-minute walk from the Oyamazaki JR station. One-hour tours from 10 to 5 are free of charge. On tour, expect to learn how whisky is made and why the water at Mount Tenno is the greatest, and taste a sample of two of their premium single malts, the Yamazaki 12-year and the Hakushu 12-year.

The gift shop is worth checking out even if you don’t plan to purchase anything. There is a small museum in back with cabinets of old Suntory posters. If you look long enough, you might even find Bill Murray’s character from the movie Lost in Translation.

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