Take a day trip around Shizuoka’s hill country and enjoy some of the finest liquid fruits of this fertile land. Shizuoka Distillery, Aoi Brewery, Utsurogi Wasabi Farm, and Chojiya Restaurant at Mariko. Sake scotch beer.
Shizuoka Distillery is a new venture set on the banks of the picturesque and pure flowing Abe River. Start your tour of the facility by inhaling the aroma of the Oregon Pine and Japanese Cedar washbacks, like giant wooden bathtubs, that start a single malt on its journey through life. The two different timbers give subtley different flavours to our whiskey.
From the washbacks our brew heads off to the potstills, one heated by a fire made from locally harvested cedar and cypress, the other a cold still. Finally our brew is sealed into bourbon oak casks imported from the United States. The bourbon residue in the casks gives our single malt mildness. Japanese have a saying “3 years on the rock” which means if you are going to try to do something you need to spend at least 3 years getting started. That’s true for our single malt as well, which spends over 1000 days finding its soul in the bourbon oak casks.
Finally, showtime! Arrive at the tastefully decored tasting room for some quiet time at the private bar.
From Shizuoka Distillery, a short drive farther upriver brings us to Utsurogi wasabi farm, the origin of wasabi farming in Japan. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, most famous for moving Japan’s capital to the small fishing village of Edo (now called Tokyo) in the early 17C, also ordered the beginning of cultivation of wasabi. Utsurogi is the ideal location beside the babbling brook providing volumous pure mountain water necessary for fine wasabi cultivation. Utsurogi continues to cultivate wasabi here using the same technique for four centuries – totally organic! On a hot summers day why not have a wasabi icecream – just the thing to cleanse the pallet after our whiskey and before our beer.
Close to Utsurogi is Aoi Brewery, producing a unique brew famous throughout Japan.
From Aoi Brewery, we head back to the Shizuoka lowlands to Mariko, a stop on the ancient Tokaido Highway that connects Tokyo with former capitals Kyoto and Osaka. For centuries Chojiya has been serving yam soup to refresh travellers on Tokaido. Together with your yam soup, try a sake selection including Mariko no sukyu (fruity tasting and made from Mariko’s pure water), Chojiya (using nearby Mt Fuji spring water), and Senju (drunken from a square Japanese cypress wooden cup – which brings us full circle from where we started the day with flavoursome wooden washbacks).
By now you will be feeling very happy so why not overnight in Shizuoka before heading the 1 hour by shinkansen back to Tokyo the next morning. Explore Shizuoka Sake scotch beer.