Shiro and I took a short trip to Suntory's Hakushu Distillery and a hot spring resort called Kamisuwa Onsen in the last week of Febraury. The both places were located along JR Chuo Line and easily accessible from Tokyo.
- Suntory's Hakushu Distillery
It was a relaxing place surrounded by mountain forests. We joined a distillery tour there. The tour included a presentation about the process of whisky making, a walk-through of the facilities and a tasting. Even though I'm not a huge fan of alcohol, it was excellent and worth time. I especially liked the warehouse where Hakushu whisky is matured in oak barrels. It smelled really good.
One problem was that there was no public transportation from the nearest train station to the distillery. We took a taxi, which took 10 minutes and cost about 2000 yen for one way. :-/ We might have been better to join a paid tour which included taxi fares and would cost less in total.
- Kamisuwa Onsen
We stayed at a lake front hotel. The hotel was nice and cozy, which had helpful staff, a nice view, delicious meals, a great hot spring bath. We enjoyed Kamisuwa Onsen just not only because of the hotel and hot springs, but also because of the town which was not too big and not too small. It was easy to walk around. We walked along a lake and visited sake breweries, such as Masumi sake brewery and Maihime sake brewery. There was a small shop at each brewery so that people could try and buy sake.