Whisky production in Japan began around 1870, but the first commercial production was in 1924 upon the opening of the country's first distillery, Yamazaki. Broadly speaking the style of Japanese whisky is more similar to that of Scotch whisky than Irish whiskey or American styles of whiskey, and thus the spelling typically follows the Scottish convention (omitting the letter "e").
There are several companies producing whisky in Japan. Perhaps the two most well known are Suntory and Nikka. Both of these produce blended as well as single malt whiskies. Japan currently have ten distilleries.
- Yamazaki: owned by Suntory, between Osaka/Kyoto on the main island of Honshū.
- Hakushu: also owned by Suntory, in Yamanashi Prefecture on the main island of Honshū.
- Yoichi Distillery: owned by Nikka, on the Northern island of Hokkaidō. Nikka is a part of Asahi Breweries.
- Sendai / Miyagikyo: also Nikka, to the North of the main island, near the city of Sendai.
- Fuji-Gotemba: owned by Kirin, at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka.
- Karuizawa: owned by Mercian (a part of Kirin), near the town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture on the main island of Honshū.
- Chichibu: near Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture. This is the new Chichibu distillery, founded by Ichiro Akuto, grandson of the distiller at Hanyu. It opened in 2008.
- Shinshu: owned by Hombo, in Nagano Prefecture on the main island of Honshū.
- White Oak: owned by Eigashima Shuzou, in Hyogo on the main island of Honshū.