Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shopping info: Narita airport duty free




Update 1.6.2010: Katherine, who recently traveled through Narita Terminal 1, reports that the array of Japanese whiskies now available there is fairly impressive: "In March they were still carrying basically Hibiki and Yamazaki. This time around they had several Yoichis (12, 18 and even 20 year-olds), and the Taketsuru 21, which was selling for only ¥6000. I paid ¥10500 at Ebisu Kinokuniya in March. I also saw a Hakushu, although I don't remember the year." For more information on people's experiences at Narita, take a look at the comments on this post.

The duty free shops at Tokyo's Narita airport have a limited selection of single malts. Please remember that not all travelers will be able to rely on a last minute duty-free dive. Anyone transferring at a second airport in a jurisdiction that doesn't allow large bottles of liquids in hand luggage may find themselves trying to glug back 700ml of premium whisky at a security gate.

In August 2007, I checked two duty free shops in Terminal 1, South wing. The selection was exactly the same in both. They had 700ml bottles of 12 and 18 year old Yamazaki single malts at very reasonable prices. The 12 was at 4,500 yen compared to 7,119 yen in normal supermarkets. The 18 was 15,000 yen not 21,000 yen. The Yamazaki 12 was also available in a 180 ml bottle for 1,100 yen.

They were also selling the premium Suntory blended whisky Hibiki in 17, 21 and 30-year-old versions and a combo pack of a 180ml Yamazaki 12 and a small bottle of Hibiki 17 for 2,800 yen.

None of the smaller Japanese makers were represented and the only Nikka whisky I saw was an odd "Gold and Gold" bottle dressed up as a Samurai helmet. Incidentally, there was a lot of Scotch that is difficult to get outside Japan, including blends such as Old Parr Superior (6000 yen), at prices that were much better than the Tokyo department stores. There was also a very limited selection of shochu.

Location: Terminal 1, Narita airport, serving Tokyo.
View location on a map of single malt stores.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you have a duty free stores list at this air port? I am going there this month
thanks you can sent email
james at firebay.ca
or james at ipage.asia

Nonjatta said...

I am afraid I do not

kev said...

will i be able to buy suntory hakushu at the airport? i've been looking everywhere for it!

Nonjatta said...

When I went they had no Hakushu. Stupid question but have you been looking in Japan? I am surprised you cannot find it. Many department stores and bigger supermarkets routinely stock it.

k said...

ah, i'm sorry to leave out an important piece of info: i live in PA, USA.

not the best place for exotic single malt scotch. >_<

i might transit through narita next month though!

Nonjatta said...

See the bottom of this post for why you might have trouble with Hakushu in the US: http://nonjatta.blogspot.com/2009/04/hibiki-12-to-be-released-first-in.html

Suntory`s company strategy document for 2009 signaled a push for export sales for their top whiskies. They have just appointed a global brand manager.

Good idea to pick it up at Narita. If I lived in the US I would not spend a fortune on getting rare Japanese whiskies at the moment. I believe that in two years time they will be much more available in your neck of the woods.

Scott said...

Was at Narita Terminal 1 Duty Free (after security/immigration) on friday. They had several of the Nikka Whiskeys including 21 and 17 yr old pure malt and others. Still had all of the Suntory's you listed.
Nikka 17 was about 3500 yen, 21 was about 6500 yen. Suntory Hibiki 12 was ~3500, 17 was ~6000, 30 was ~75000.

Nonjatta said...

Thank you very much for posting that info, Scott. These sorts of updates are really useful. Anybody who finds a new retail outlet or finds one of the ones mentioned here much changed, please please post the info!!

Sanjay said...

I have a friend who will be in transit in Taipei. Does the duty free store at the airport carry any Japanese whiskies and if so how are the prices compared to those in the city?

Nonjatta said...

To be honest, the short answer is that I dont know about Taipei.

Sanjay said...

I heard that there are lot of Japanese whiskies available cheaply in Taiwan, hence was wondering if anyone would know where to buy them.

Anonymous said...

I have just returned from recent vacation in japan in 2012 here is an update on duty free shop at narita airport (*warning long post).

In other airports of the world probably if you are departing or arrival from airport you can buy duty free but in narita airport if you are arriving there is no duty free at all. Me and my buddy were quite shocked to find this my buddy he wanted to get a carton of camels smokes but couldn't do so and my plan was to buy the hibiki 30yo for duration of my vacation then Yamazaki 25yo to bring home when I depart from japan via narita and I couldn't do so when I arrived at narita.

Before you buy any duty free liquor at narita, please ask your airline during the check-in time if you are allowed to buy duty free liquor and carry on board your plane. We were flying ANA airways and they allowed it but I hear delta airways may not allow it so please check.

if you buy NON-duty free liquor from many supermarkets in japan you will have to pack into your luggage and check it in they probably will not allow you to hand carry aboard any liquor.

For narita duty free shop, I saw a wide range japanese whiskies, the hibiki 30yo and yamazaki 25yo that I was after it was available but was way too expensive. 75,000 yen each only slightly cheaper than what I was able to get at non dfs whisky retail outlets here in my country. So it was quite a let down not able to sample either hibiki and yamazaki's.

In the end I just bought old parr superior 18yo for 6500yen that was not available in my country and it came along with a nice men's wristwatch memorabilia.

here are my videos of japanese whiskies that are available at narita duty free shop. if you like you can use a youtube downloader to get the videos and incorporate into nonjatta site.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RluRcunHSzg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCp5_2zaTco

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqlpyno-tCE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMvh3gEDFhI

happy tippling (:
paul

Sanjay said...

Thanks for the videos. If I am not mistaken, the price for Nikka Taketsuru 17 shows up as 5500 yen for a 700ml bottle, is that correct. I have a friend who is flying to Japan so this video is really helpful, I am assuming the prices would still be around the same.
Do you remember any other Japanese whiskies priceed below $100.

Nonjatta said...

Dear Sanjay
I haven`t been through there in a while, but I suspect the cheaper single malts are hovering around your price limit.
Chris
Nonjatta

Sanjay said...

I had sent an email to the duty free store at Narita Airport, they sent me a link of the products being offered(though it's in Japanese)

http://fasola-shop.com/products/list.php?category_id=30