Given the regular emails I get asking about the practicalities of buying Japanese whisky both inside and outside Japan, I am going to take the liberty of promoting a very interesting comment posted on Nonjatta into a full post. It is very informative and I think it will be of interest to readers. It is from "Paul," who doesn`t give any further personal details. (If you did, Paul, I could give you proper credit.) I have put Paul`s
videos of what is currently available at Narita at the top, but look
below for some very important information on what you have to check
before getting your wallet out.
"I have just returned from recent vacation in Japan in 2012 here is an update on duty free shop at narita airport.
In other airports around the world, if you are departing or arrival from the airport, you can buy duty free. In Narita airport, however, there is no duty free at all as you arrive. My buddy and I were quite shocked to find this. He wanted to get a carton of Camel smokes but couldn't do so. My plan was to buy the Hibiki 30-year-old for the duration of my vacation, and then the Yamazaki 25-year-old to bring home when I departed from Japan via Narita. I couldn't do that.
Before you buy any duty free liquor at Narita, please ask your airline during check-in 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. Please check.
If you buy NON-duty free liquor from many supermarket in Japan, you will have to pack it in your luggage and check it in. They probably will not allow you to hand carry aboard any liquor. (Nonjatta editor`s note: They definitely will not allow this. Also, check if you are getting a transfer at a second airport whether it is going to be taken off you during that transfer. Different countries seem to have different practices.)
At the Narita duty free shop, I saw a wide range of Japanese whiskies. The Hibiki 30-yo and the Yamazaki 25-yo that I was after were both available, but were way too expensive: 75,000 yen each. That is only slightly cheaper than non-duty-free whisky retail outlets here in my country. So, it was quite a let down not to be able to sample either the Hibiki or the Yamazaki.
In the end I just bought a bottle of Old Parr Superior 18-yo for 6,500yen, which is not available in my country. It came along with a nice men's wrist watch.