It’s only been a few months since Suntory’s Hakushu Distillery reopened to tourists. Now the company has announced they’ll be closing it again.
On a notice posted on the Hakushu tour info page–only in Japanese as of this writing–Suntory has revealed that all tours and shop sales will be suspended from December 19, 2022 until roughly Fall 2023 as they plan to renovate the distillery’s visitor facilities. That includes the shop, restaurant, bar, and presumably other facilities like the whisky museum.
The timing on this is particularly unfortunate as Japan is finally reopening for visa-free travel in just a few days, on October 11. Given Hakushu’s easy accessibility from Tokyo, it’s likely a visit out there was on the itineraries for many whisky fans.
The timing is also unfortunate for another reason. Hakushu Distillery was completed in 1973 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Suntory’s domestic whisky operation. Specifically, it was completed in February of that year, meaning February 2023 will be Hakushu’s 50th anniversary. While I was hopeful Suntory would offer special tours or public events to celebrate that anniversary, it looks like that won’t happen.
Suntory says that the reopening date is subject to change, so we’ll keep you updated when it does.
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