Deep in the mountains of Fukushima 260km north of Tokyo lies the small town of Asaka. In 2016 a defunct distillery was refreshed with new equipment and began operating as the re-branded Asaka Distillery.
The mash tun and 5 washbacks are all stainless steel. Unlike other Japanese whisky distilleries using imported Forsyths stills, Asaka went with two copper pot stills made right there in Japan by Miyake Seisakusho. The wash still is 2000L, and spirit still 1000L, both using percolators for heating. The whisky is rested in ex bourbon casks.
Sasanokawa Shuzo (Bamboo-River Brewing) is the oldest sake brewery in Japan's northeastern Tohoku region, with a history stretching back to 1765. In 1946, they began making whiskey, eventually launching the Cherry Whisky and Yamazakura brands. Like many makers at the time, their "Japanese whisky" was simply some kind of alcohol mixed with imported malt whisky. That changed over the years -- they began making their own malt whisky using a steel still. Although far behind major players like Suntory and Nikka, they managed to stay afloat over the decades.
The famous Chichibu Distillery and the Asaka Distillery share a bond due to Ichiro Akuto asking Sasanokawa Shuzo to store the leftover casks of the defunct Hanyu Distillery until he could get Chichibu up and running. Asaka have been able to use Ichiros talent when they began making whisky again in 2015 to further refine their whisky. To this day the Sasakanokawa Shuzo facility still has Hanyu casks in storage.
Ichiro Akito still holds barrels of his famous Hanyu casks with Asaka distillery.