Japanese Whisky Festivals You Can’t Miss In 2018

In our recent piece on what’s happening in Japanese whisky in 2018, we briefly mentioned some of the whisky events in Japan fans may want to attend as the year progresses.

After attending many of these gatherings in 2017, I can safely say that this year is going to be even more exciting, and busy. If you’re planning a trip to Japan and want to experience the Japanese whisky boom first hand, attending one of the following events is highly recommended. Remember, you should book your tickets sooner rather than later.

Some are smaller and more intimate, held in rural areas, while others are huge, overwhelming even, held in Japan’s biggest cities. Some focus on whisky, while others also put craft beer, gin, and other drinks and foods under the spotlight.

Fear not, while other beverages may be present, all of the happenings outlined below will have something unique and new to offer even the most dedicated Japanese whisky lovers.

Here are the Japanese whisky events to look out for in 2018.

Nagoya Whisky Lovers – January 21st

Only in its 2nd year, Nagoya Whisky Lovers is one of the main events in the prefecture for lovers of both Japanese and imported expressions.

Chichibu Whisky Matsuri (Festival) – February 18th

One of the most exciting whisky events of the year, the Chichibu Whisky Festival showcases the greatness of Japan’s most popular ji-whisky distillery, Chichibu.

Each year, a cask is bottled specifically for the event, with last year’s release named “The World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt” at the World Whiskies Awards 2017.

Needless to say, the 2018 release is expected to sell out instantly.

Tokyo International BarShow – Mid/End of May

The Tokyo International BarShow brings many of the global heavyweight drink companies. Last year hosted giants like Bacardi, Jack Daniels, and Hennessy.

While Japanese whisky isn’t at the centre of the event, there are a handful of booths offering some great expressions.

Osaka Whisky Festival – June 3rd

If you find yourself in Osaka, this is the place to get a full-on taste of Japanese whisky, from both small and large distilleries.

You’ll also get to experience the forward, raw, and humorous personalities of Osaka natives.

Whisky Talk Fukuoka – June 17th

An amazing, intimate experience, where attendees can meet all the makers of their favourite whiskies.

While most events take place in Tokyo, this one caters to the population in the West of Japan, taking place in Fukuoka, home of the delicious Hakata ramen.

Hokkaido Whisky Festival – August 5th

Heading up North, the Hokkaido Whisky Festival takes place in August, one of the most enjoyable months, weather-wise, in the prefecture.

Now home to two distilleries, the timeless Yoichi site and the new Akkeshi distillery, this year’s event is gearing up to be the best so far.

Tokyo Whisky Festival – November 25th/26th

Perhaps the biggest Japanese whisky event of the year, the Tokyo Festival 2017 brought almost every whisky producer in the country in, as well as many importers, sellers, and different spirit producers.

The 2018 event will, for the first time, be held over two days, as there is simply too much to taste and see in just one day.

If you can only get to one event throughout the year, this is the one.                                                               

There are other events scheduled for 2018, however, dates have yet to be confirmed.

The Gin-Posium took place in Tokyo for the first time during December 2017. Judging by Japanese gin’s booming popularity in 2017, the event is sure to be held this year, too.

Other events (dates to be confirmed) include the Whisky & Beer Camp and the Shizuoka Craft Beer & Whisky Fair.

The events are scheduled, are you going to miss them?