Whiskey Hunting: 6 Places to Buy Japanese Whiskey in Osaka

  • FOOD
  • OSAKA
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  • Whiskey, or ‘the water of life’ is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages worldwide. There are many types and classes of whiskey across the globe, but a new type of whiskey is becoming increasingly popular: Japanese Whiskey. Whiskey is commonly distilled from fermented grain mash and typically aged in wooden casks of oak. Japanese whiskey is the attempt of recreating Scotch whiskey and the first distillery to open was the Yamazaki distillery.

    japanese whisky

    Between 2007 and 2014 Suntory and Nikka became world known for winning international awards for their homeland whiskies, taking the world by storm. Now, people travel to Japan just to find rare, aged bottles of whiskey. If you want to buy Japanese whiskey, here are 6 Places to Buy Japanese Whiskey in the Osaka area. Let the hunt begin!

    1. SUNTORY YAMAZAKI DISTILLERY

     

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    The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, being the first whiskey distillery to open in Japan in the year 1923, is a great place to learn about the history of Suntory Whiskey. There are three tours for visitors, differing in price. For a fee of 1,000 yen you can enjoy an educational 80-minute tour that includes a tasting of Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey that isn’t available for sale. For 2,000 yen you will be given an even more informational 100-minute tour that includes learning about the dedication and skills that go into creating malt whiskey followed by whiskey tasting. The third option is a free walk through the Yamazaki Whiskey Museum by yourself, no guides or tastings included.

     

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    In the brewery’s gift shop you can find bottles of whiskey, drinking glasses, snacks that pair perfectly with whiskey, and more. The highlight of the shop is the 300ml Single Malt Whiskey bottle that is exclusively sold in the gift shop. Don’t forget to check out the tasting counter down the stairs from the gift shop. You can purchase small taste-testers of Yamazaki whiskey that you may never be able to afford or find normally, such as the Yamazaki 18 (aged for 18 years), a 25-year-old whiskey, or the Hibiki 30-year-old whiskey.

    Hours: 10 am to 4:45 pm

    Suntory Yamazaki Distillery Website
    Google maps location

    2. BIC Camera

    BIC Camera is largely known for being a massive electronics retailer, but don’t be fooled by that branding because BIC Camera can be a treasure trove for those who happen to stop by. Once you’ve finished buying your new electronic toys, take a peek on BIC’s street level floor. There you will be able to find, tucked away in a corner, the alcohol section – usually a relatively small corner that is stocked with shelves of alcohol for your browsing. You may not find anything super rare, but you can still find some great bottles of whiskey! If you’ve done your research, the bottles you see here may be selling cheaper than anywhere else.

    Hours: 10 am to 9 pm
    BIC Camera Namba Store Website
    Google maps location (There are many branches, but we introduce one of them)

    3. LA CAVE DE YAMAYA (YAMAYA NAGAHORIBASHI SHOP)

     

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    If you’re looking for a supermarket dedicated to alcohol, then look no further than La Cave De Yamaya. With completely stocked shelves and shelves of different kinds of alcohol I’m sure you’ll find something to match your tastes. Ranging from beer to hard liquor, cheap to expensive, and toss in snacks too, this is the place to get all your drinks – either for your own enjoyment or souvenirs. Being a chain alcohol market, you can’t expect to find all unique and scarce bottles of alcohol displayed in the front window, but if you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to find that rare 18-year-old Suntory whiskey you’ve been looking for neatly shoved between two bottles down the whiskey isle. In any case, La Cave De Yamaya is definitely worth a look.

    Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
    Yamaya Nagahoribashi Shop Website (Japanese)
    Google maps location (There are many branches, but we introduce one of them)

    4. KAWASAKIYA

    author's photo kawasakiya osaka

    Author’s Photo

    Kuromon Market is the best street to get fresh seafood for cheap in Osaka. Prices starting at 100 yen for fruits, seafood, meats, and so more, you could eat your fill of food for the entire day here. After you’ve stuffed yourself, you need some time to process it, so take a break and head down Kuromon Market’s side street to Kawasakiya, a hidden store with reasonably cheap alcohol. It isn’t a big store, but you have the chance of finding something rare in this hidden gem. In 2016, it was reported that this store sold Hibiki 17-year-old and Yamazaki 12-year-old bottles. A visit to Kawasakiya in November 2017 displayed Suntory and Yamazaki whiskey bottles. The shop carries Hibiki and Yamazaki aged whiskey bottles and even though they are very difficult to find, the owner will stock them whenever he can get his hands on them. Don’t get your hopes too high in finding that 25-year-old Yamazaki during your first visit, but Kawasakiya is still worth a visit.

    Hours: Sunday – closed
    Monday to Saturday – 8 am to 7 pm

    Kawasakiya Website (Japanese)
    Google maps location (There are many branches, but we introduce one of them)

    5. LIQUOR MOUNTAIN

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    https://www.likaman.co.jp/shop/osaka/osaka-shi-fukushima-ku/11691.html

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    Liquor Mountain was established in 1990 and is a chain that spreads across 31 prefectures in Japan. They sell internationally as well as locally and thus, have a wide range of alcohol on their shelves. You may not be able to find a 25-year-old Yamazaki, but you can bet you’ll be able to see whiskey from all around the world. The Shinsaibashi location is especially good because of their late evening hours. On your way back to the hotel after dinner, if you can’t seem to sleep, or if you simply haven’t had enough time throughout the day to go shopping, then stop by Liquor Mountain and pick up some adult juice until 10 pm latest. If you’re in Osaka and want to try the local whiskey, as well as find your new favorite whiskey from another country, step into any Liquor Mountain and I’m sure you can walk out with something new.

    Hours: Sunday – closed
    Monday to Saturday – 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM
    Liquor Mountain Website
    Google maps location (There are many branches, but we introduce one of them)

    6. DON QUIJOTE

     

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    The last whiskey store suggestion is to visit the nearest Don Quijote. Don Quijote is a discount chain store with locations all across Japan, and a few locations in Singapore, Thailand, Hawai and California. Don Quijote is a great place to shop for souvenirs, health and beauty supplies, snacks, and more. The stores range from very late hours to open 24 hours a day, making Don Quijote a great place to hit at any time of the day. You won’t be able to find any whiskey you haven’t seen in other stores but if you’re lucky the price might be cheaper. There is usually an alcohol section on the first floor or basement floor with a few kinds of whiskey, lots of beer, Japanese sake, and other hard liquor. If you go to the top floor, along with brand purses and watches, you’ll find a display case with the more expensive bottles of whiskey. They have advertised bottles of aged whiskey, but they fly off the shelves quickly! In any case, Don Quijote can become your one-stop store for buying everything you need in Japan.

    Hours: Open 24 hours
    Don Quijote Namba store Website
    Google maps location (There are many branches, but we introduce one of them)

    As many of these sellers on the list have shops all across Japan, you don’t have to stick with the ones in Osaka, you can search for locations more convenient for you.