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The Father of the Japanese Whisky


Masataka was the first Japanese to study the techniques of whisky making in Scotland and bring them back to Japan. His lone but adventuresome journey began in 1918. It was a time when the techniques of Scotch whisky making were closely guarded and unknown to all but a few select insiders. Locals were bewildered by the appearance of this eager young man from Orient and his outlandish ambitions. But through his passion and dedication to whisky, Masataka won the hearts of the Scottish distillers and persuaded them to teach him their techniques. Masataka was also fortunate to meet Jessie Roberta Cowan, a young Scottish lady better known as Rita. Before long, Masataka's dream of "making an authentic whisky in Japan" became her dream as well. Eventually they married and returned to Japan to pursue their dream together. Masataka decided to build his first distillery in Yoichi Town, Hokkaido. And the first distillery was founded in 1934. Thirty-five years later, when Masataka was well established as Japan's foremost distiller of whisky, he expanded his operations dramatically. Long having dreamt of a new type of malt whisky completely unlike his product in Yoichi, he founded a second distillery in Miyagikyo, Sendai in 1969. Situated deep in the country, in the confluence of the Hirose and Nikkawa Rivers, it was an ideal site for whisky making. Even now Nikka Whisky employs the same distilling techniques introduced by Masataka Taketuru in the first half of the 20th century. Masataka's dedication to whisky making has been bequeathed to the people now working at Nikka.

Miyagikyo Distillery Tours

*On Sat.,Sun.,and National Holidays, it's available to take Distillery-bus from Sakunami station to the distillery.(free of charge)