After my rather disappointing trip to Yoichi in 2016, I was a bit reluctant to visit Nikka's second distillery Miyagikyo. Fortunately, things went a little better this time. Located west of Sendai, it takes about an hour by train to reach Sakunami Station. If you are traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, the distillery visit is doable on a day trip from Tokyo and can even be combined with a stop at Yamadera (highly recommended!). From the station, you can either take a bus or walk for about 20 min to reach the distillery grounds.
It is recommended to book a tour in advance, although there is no English website available. You can also try to call them to make a reservation. The tour is free of charge and taking pictures is allowed (Look Glenlivet, distilleries do not explode in Japan!). I really liked the visitors centre with nosing samples of several Nikka whiskies, a video screen explaining their Coffey Still, and some other useful information on whisky production. You are provided with an English audio guide to follow the tour held in Japanese.
Now I can't claim that I learned an awful lot on that tour but seeing the production site and stills was certainly interesting. Unfortunately, the Coffey Still is not included in the tour. The tasting afterwards included Miyagikyo NAS, Nikka Rare Old Super and an apple wine. Instructions on how to make a Highball were given by the staff, and most other visitors disappeared after just a few minutes. Nosing the whisky was a bit of a challenge because of their stupid ventilation system. Altogether, tour and tasting lasted for about 70 min.
The bar offered most whiskies of the Nikka range (paid), including some of the older Taketsuru blended malts. Not sure why they poured these older malts into shot glasses, I gave up asking. Some NAS whiskies were also available at the distillery shop, for example the decently priced Miyagikyo NAS and Taketsuru Pure Malt. I picked up the Taketsuru for about 25 €. They also had some bags with miniatures and a few bottles of Scotch and bourbon.
Not bad for a distillery visit, but not spectacular either. The side trip to Yamadera rounds off the experience, so that I can recommend both.