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A small operation, the Hombo Mars Distillery might not be the most famous Japanese whisky distillery, but it is definitely one of the more charming. Located 800 meters above sea level in the small village of Miyada, high up in the snowy Japanese Alps, Hombo Mars is a charming place to visit. If you are on your way to Kyushu, do yourself the favor of stopping by this picturesque distillery. You won’t regret it!
Taking a Tour
Hombo Shuzo, best known for producing quality sake and shochu, acquired a whisky-making license as early as 1949 and began producing whisky in Kagoshima city. But as Kagoshima is not the most natural choice for making whisky, Hombo Shuzo soon began to search for an alternative spot. The company finally settled on Miyada village, high up in the Japanese Alps. Today the distillery is Miyada’s main source of income, employing a few dozen people. Whisky is only distilled in the winter, which is also the best time to take pictures. We recommend that you visit between November and March for optimal conditions.
You can get to the distillery by taking a 10-minute taxi ride from JR Miyata station. During a 30-minute guided tour, you can view the warehouse and the stillhouse, as well as taste the products. The tour is free of charge but you must book in advance.
Company’s homepage (Japanese only): http://www.hombo.co.jp/
Nearest Station: JR Komagane Sta. or JR Miyata Sta.
Travelling from Tokyo:
Tokyo — JR Chuo Line for Hachioji (15 min.) →
Shinjuku Sta. — JR Chuo Line “Azusa” Limited Express for Matsumoto (2:30) →
Okaya Sta. — JR Iida Line for Tenryukyo (1:10) →
Miyata Sta. — TAXI (10 min.)→ MARS Shinshu Factory
Expected travel time: Ahttp://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1117917-d7330029-Reviews-Shinshu_Mars_Distillery-
Kamiina_gun_Nagano_Prefecture_Chubu.htmlround 4 hours
●10 min. from Komagane Sta. or Miyata Sta. by taxi
●5 min. from the Komagane I.C. of the Chuo expressway
●20 cars (around 6 large buses can be parked)
Link to Trip advisor