Japan Travel Blog

Kanagawa - Kogoshima - Hokkaido (est. 5500km)

15~31 August 2018, Summer

by Tong, CEO WASABI Creation

8. Hokkaido Rental Car Tour by JTB Hokkaido: Day 2

Today, our first stop after leaving the hotel was Yoichi Winery. The sky was clear blue, it was a great day to start with. In the photo above is myself with Ruby Lam, and Sandra from Hong Kong. Since I was born in Hong Kong too, I was able to join their conversation in Cantonese. Sandra is fluent in Japanese, after having worked in Japan for some years before. And Ruby is a celebrity in Hong Kong, who used to be a newscaster on TV. What a pleasure to have them for the trip. 

  

We certainly welcome the idea of having a glass of wine from the early morning. We were totally in our holiday mood anyway, so why not? For people who has visited Hokkaido before, I guess you can agree with me that the air and water in Hokkaido are just fresh and different that it is not surprising to find nice food, drink, as well as good wine. 

If you think a winery can satisfy a social drinker like myself, you are totally wrong. Next stop: Yoichi Distillery, the birth place of some of the most famous whiskey, such as Nikka whiskey, Yoichi whiskey, and Taketsuru whiskey, just to name a few. Here is some history:

In 1918, a young Japanese man with an ambition to make genuine whisky went alone to Scotland to unveil the secret of whisky making. He is Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky. Photo Father of Japanese Whisky Masataka Taketsuru (1894-1979) Photo Given the chance to go to Scotland, Masataka became the first Japanese ever to master how to make whisky. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, took chemistry courses and then apprenticed at three Scotch distilleries. The young and passionate man was fortunate to learn first-hand from craftsmen and have practical trainings to master blending. The two notebooks filled with every detail later became Japan’s very first guide in whisky production.

The Yoichi Distillery campus is huge, with lots of history and stories to tell, from their many museums, artefacts, and houses where the founders and their family used to live. You can certainly spend a well couple of hours touring the place, free tasting of various whiskey and wine, and of course shopping for some rare products from their store. 

After getting a little tipsy from the alcohol and satisfactory from shopping for my trip mates, we arrived at  南保留太郎商店 which is smoke seafood place, where they cook and preserve various kinds of seafood using smoke. There are smoke fish of all types and sizes, smoke crab, smoke shrimps, smoke squid, smoke octopus, and even smoke shellfish. It is a family business run by the 3rd generation currently. There must be lots of smoke and dedication in the business over generations. We also visited the "smoke chamber" where all the smoking is done. Almost everything has been smoked black, it was an interesting experience.  

Wanna find out where to go, what to do, what to eat in Hokkaido? Check out https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/

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To be continued......

 

 

 

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