A Striking Resemblance to Islay: The Climate and Terrain of Akkeshi, HokkaidoA Striking Resemblance to Islay: The Climate and Terrain of Akkeshi, Hokkaido

Akkeshi is located in the southeast of Hokkaido. In the midst of Japan's beautiful
northern wilderness, it developed as one of the major communities of eastern
Hokkaido beginning in the Edo Period (1603-1867). To the south is Akkeshi Bay,
connected by a strait to inland Lake Akkeshi, and the town sits on the water's edge.
Just to the north of the distillery site is Oboro River, and to the northeast
the vast expanse of the Bekan-Beushi wetlands. These are habitat
for rare birds such as the red-crowned crane and the white-tailed eagle,
and migratory birds like the whooper swan make stops here.
In every season of the year, visitors are enthralled by the region's natural beauty.

An Ideal Climate and Terrain for Crafting Whisky

In summer, the ocean currents cause fog to roll in from the sea, which frequently blankets the town of Akkeshi. The Oboro, Obetsu, Bekan-Beushi, Chiraikaribetsu and other rivers flow through the expansive Bekan-Beushi wetlands to the northeast of the distillery. Fog and marshes like these are indispensable to the production of whisky similar in character to Islay malts. There is an abundance of peat that gives the whisky that sublime smoky flavour.

On the cape where Akkeshi is located, fog often rolls in from the sea.

Lake Akkeshi and the town look mysterious
when shrouded in dense fog.

Dense fog also covers Oborogawa River to
the north of the distillery site.

The air, full of mist and brine,
affects the whisky aging process.

Dramatic Temperature Variations Further the Aging Process

Akkeshi is one of the coldest places in Japan, with temperatures rarely getting above 25°C in the summer, and falling as low as –20°C in the winter. The chilly climate and major variations in temperature over the course of a year help to speed up the aging process. By contrast, Islay sees far smaller fluctuations, with temperatures generally only around 15°C in the summer months and not falling below zero in the winter. We believe this is one difference that will give our whisky a unique Akkeshi flavour.

Although there is little snow accumulation, the average temperature in winter is around
–5°C, and the trees glitter with ice.

In winter, Oboro River to the north of
the distillery freezes over. Local residents
make holes in the ice and go fishing.

Ayamegahara, where 300,000 irises bloom
in late June and early July.

All sorts of beautiful flowers bloom
between May and October.

Wetlands Registered under the Ramsar Convention

Lake Akkeshi and the Bekan-Beushi wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention, named for Ramsar, Iran where it was signed on February 2, 1971. The goal of the treaty is the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, through international cooperation, as habitats for wildlife and particularly waterfowl. Operating in this bountiful natural environment, Akkeshi Distillery will be a sustainable enterprise in harmony with nature.

Red-crowned cranes build nests in the Bekan-Beushi river delta.
Akkeshi Waterfowl Observation Center is located nearby,
and different birds can be observed year-round.

In spring red-crowned cranes begin
building their nests, then lay eggs and
raise their young.

Migratory whooper swans come to
Lake Akkeshi in mid-October.

Encounters with Ezo deer are common.

Abundant Seafood and the Finest Fresh Dairy Products

The Oyashio (Okhotsk) current flows southward from the Kuril Islands, and multiple rivers feed into Lake Akkeshi, meaning all kinds of seafood can be caught around Akkeshi – around 50 varieties in total, in season at various times of year. Oysters, saury, kelp, salmon, and littleneck clams are particularly abundant, and Akkeshi oysters are renowned throughout Japan. Meanwhile, the Konsen-Daichi plateau is home to numerous dairy farms established when the area was settled over a century ago, where cattle graze on open pastureland stretching to the horizon.

Lake Akkeshi is a brackish lake where freshwater and seawater mix.
The fisheries industry thrives thanks to the rich variety of marine products.

Delicious oysters are the product of both
nature's bounty and the care and wisdom
of the producers.

People enjoy clamming for littleneck clams
on the shores of Lake Akkeshi.

Pastureland stretches as far as the eye can
see. The milk, cheese, and other dairy
products are truly delectable.

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Kenten Co., Ltd.

Akkeshi Distillery

2-109 Miyazono, Akkeshi-cho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido 088-1124