Yoichi distillery was established on the island of Hokkaido in 1934, in the small coastal fishing town of the same name. Hokkaido benefits from a climate closer to Scotland than anywhere else in Japan. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and sea on the other, the distillery is located to the west of Sapporo. Hokkaido is the only part of Japan to have local access to peat, and originally, the local peat bogs were the source of Yoichi’s subtle smoky character, gently drying the malted barley during the kilning process. Today, much of the peated malted barley used in production is imported from Scotland. Peat, coupled with the distillery’s close proximity to the ocean leaves a lasting imprint on the Yoichi products, imparting a salty and smoky character not dissimilar to the famous Scottish malts of Islay. Yoichi's coal-fired stills, stills which are no longer present at any distillery in Scotland, remain in use to this day and add a unique flavour to the whisky and a nod to its heritage.
The northern island of Hokkaido is where Taketsuru came across the ideal site for the construction of Yoichi, a distillery built in the purest Scottish tradition. For his first distillery, Masataka Taketsuru sought similar conditions to Scotland, where he had himself learned everything about the process of whisky making.