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Earthquake, Tsunami Warnings, and Whisky

Crude awakening this morning! At 6 AM, a major 7.3 magnitude earthquake just struck off Japan’s coast nearby Fukushima, triggering tsunami warnings. You might remember Fukushima as the site of a 2011 earthquake which triggered a deadly tsunami that killed almost 19,000 people and took out the nearby nuclear power plants. When something like this happens, they issue a warning to everyone in the area to stay put until further notice. Looks like it put a delay on our plans to leave Yokohama early. All of the trains near the coastline come to a complete halt, so even if we wanted to, we wouldn't be able to leave the city.

Once we waited it out, we immediately made our way to the train station to get to Tokyo. One of our friend's aunts was going to meet us at Suidobashi station around 10 AM to take a private transit to Yamanashi.

Since we were a bit delayed, the train ended up getting there around 10:30 AM. Plus, we had to drop our luggage off at our hotel to free up the weight that we were carrying throughout the day. All of this took about 30 minutes to do and then we were off to Yamanashi to do the Suntory Whisky Tour.

The train ride took us about an hour and a half from Tokyo to get to our destination. We basically zig zagged the last 2 days around Japan to get to where we needed to go, so at this point, I was just ready to stick around one place. Regardless, I always get great naps on the train... so once we got to Yamanashi, I was ready to go. Our plan was to have lunch and then head off to the tour, which made sense because we would be doing a tasting. It's always good to fill your stomach so that the alcohol doesn't get to you.

If you are a fan of Japanese whisky, then I highly recommend that you seek this distillery out! You have to make a reservation online in order to do the tour.

The tour cost 1000 yen per person and lasts roughly an hour with the tasting. Once you check in at the entrance, then you go to the museum where the tour waiting area is. The tour itself is like any other whisky distillery tour. The process is the same just different kettles and boils and stuff. The tour guide speaks Japanese only, so if you like, they hand out an audio headset with simple instructions to follow throughout the guided tour. I think the tasting was totally worth the price of admission. You get four decent size pours of their notable whiskys. The first two were cask pours and the last two were the same Yamazaki Single Malts, one to taste and one to make a Morikaoru Highball. Not only that, but you get snacks to accompany your drinks! If you like collecting whisky, there's a gift shop at the end of the tour that sells bottles and other Suntory accessories.

At the end of this day trip, we ended up eating at a Japanese BBQ restaurant and stocked up on some necessary groceries that we would need to last us throughout the rest of the trip. Let's just say that we were always well fed and taken care of throughout the entire day. I was very satisfied with how well we spent our time out here, and I think the guys and I were physically exhausted from fighting the cold winds and darting our way through Tokyo high traffic.

Really wish I had an opportunity to visit an onsen, but just never really had the opportunity to do so. I'm definitely looking forward to resting and spending a few days in Tokyo just being in one place before I head out to Fukui.

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