GINfest Tokyo was held for the first time ever this year out at Tennoz Isle! Over this past weekend, around 3500 gin lovers made their way to the event, which featured around 100 different types of gin from both within and outside of Japan.
While entry to the event was free, samples weren't, but still a very affordable 100 yen. My efforts were focused on the handful of Japanese gins that I hadn't tried yet. In fact, almost all Japanese craft gins were represented at the event. Even Benizakura, for example, which released their new gin (only in Hokkaido) just a few weeks ago. So compared to the turnout by Japanese craft whisky distilleries at this year's Tokyo BarShow, this was pretty amazing. There were a few surprises too, with some unannounced/unreleased gins made available by some of the domestic players.
The gin & tonic bar also took an interesting approach: grab a bottle from the collection, get in line, choose your tonic, and they'll make it for you! It's hard to imagine a setup like this working anywhere in the world besides Japan.
2018 is turning out to be another great year for Japanese craft gin. See you in a few short weeks at Gin Live Tokyo!
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.