Monday, February 21, 2011

World Liquor System

Yamaya (やまや), aka World Liquor System, is Japan’s largest bottle shop retail chain. Stores are dotted throughout the country from north to south and stock a variety of domestic and international brands, including a moderate range of whisky. Stores are not specifically dedicated to malt but the majority has a reasonably sized corner with an adequate range.

Perhaps one of the best things about Yamaya is the  large stockpile and variety of domestic whisky at a very reasonable price. You can get anything from White Oak's Akashi single malt to a 25-year old expression from Yamazaki. With specialized wines as its core, the company prides itself on sourcing liquor and various accompanying food from all over the world. Yamaya boasts that it's recognized in Japan as a pioneer, both as an importer and a retailer. Perhaps that's something you can decide for your self by visiting one of the 254 (March 31,2020) stores.

For those who fancy an independent bottling and are looking for something special to reward your palate, there are some exceptional malts under lock and key available, with a price to go with it. As for standard bottlings of malt, a vast array can be found at any Yamaya store that will equally satisfy (presumably).

The store in the photos above is an effortless 2 stop train ride from JR Sannomiya (heading towards Osaka). Get off at the JR Rokkomichi station and head out the exit adjacent to the bus stop. Turn right and walk to the first set of traffic lights (100m), on the corner is a KFC. Here, turn right again and follow the road down another 500 meters and Yamaya is on the left hand side on the corner (at the main intersection).

Opening hours



  1. This info was very useful. Made a trip and picked up a few bottles to bring back to the States. Thanks !

  2. That's good. Out of interest, do you mind if I ask what you took back?

  3. Sure. White Oak 5 and 12, 1996 Cask of Hakushu, Hibiki 505, Hakushu Heavily Peated

  4. Very interesting choice, I like it! I'm a big fan of the Hakushu Heavily Peated expression. I would have to say that is one of my favourite Japanese malts.
    What did you think of the White Oak 5 and 12, perhaps I should keep my eye on whisky wall for the reviews, if you have not posted already?

  5. Heard good things about the Heavily Peated so had to pick it up. And it sounds like you agree! What other Japanese malts are on the top of your list?

    Havent tried the White Oaks yet. Let you know as soon as I give them a try.

  6. Hi Clint, I checked this one out as well today. Unfortunately, the Hakushu Heavily Peated was out of stock but they still had a bottle of the Hakushu 1996 cask which I bought. I also noticed a 18 yo Fuji Sanroku that I only saw very rarely in other places.

  7. You certainly have been busy today Pierre W, nice effort. I cannot think of anything better than to spend a day whisky shopping. Perhaps you should also make a trip to Korosue while you are here. As for the 18 yo Fuji Sanroku, I believe it may be slightly expensive compared to other places....but in my opinion by the time you spend money on searching for a cheaper alternative you might as well get it to begin with. And yes, it is rarely seen in other places. I have visited many stores which I have unfortunately not blogged about as yet and only one or two other stores had it in stock. Enjoy your whisky Pierre W.

  8. You are right, Clint. Fuji Sanroku was a bit expensive at JPY 14,800. I would be very interested to hear about other whisky shops in the Kansai area. I shall watch out for your forthcoming blogs!

  9. Hi Pierre,

    How much you bought for Hakushu 1996 cask? And what is the cask no?


  10. Hi Jacky,

    Sorry for the belated reply. The price was JPY 12,000. I am afraid that there is no cask number but on the label it says that the cask type is a hogshead from Hakushu distillery in location 8-29-2, distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2008. The bottle I got was no. 448 from 1000. I hope this helps.