Having landed in Sapporo in Hokkaido, we just had to make a stop at Yoichi Distillery which makes the famous Nikka Whisky. It was cold and snowing heavily but we made it there after taking a bus from Otaru. Sapporo to Otaru is about 40 minutes by train. The bus from Otaru is about 35 minutes and it stops in front of Yoichi train station, 3 minutes walk away from Yoichi Distillery. You could also take a train from Otaru to Yoichi which takes about 30 minutes.
Note that the train frequency from Otaru to Yoichi station is around 1 per hour.
If you miss the train, you can always take the bus.
This is our first time there and the snow covered compound was very picturesque. We did not take the guided tour and just wandered around on our own. (The guided tour is only in Japanese) We walked by various small houses explaining about whisky and the distillery process, taking pictures of the beautiful compound along the way.
We decided to have lunch at their restaurant and fill our stomachs before going for the whisky tasting. The food was actually pretty good.
Finally we sat down for free tasting. (You need to get the tasting cards in the building near the entrance of the compound)
The tasting consists of 2 whiskies and an apple wine. The tasting room also comes with ice, water, and tea.
There is also a room for paid tasting for the more premium whiskies.
At the end of the visit, you can see everyone getting some whisky and souvenirs from the shop, us included.