Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update on duty free at Narita

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.
Happy tippling!"

13 comments:

Ἀντισθένης said...

'Duty free' is often a fool's bargain: if the retailer is not paying duty, they are keeping much of the difference for themselves. I would encourage using 'duty free' going in to my native Canada, as our excise taxes are ludicrous; I would not towards Japan, as they are not. Canada also does not have duty free on flight arrival. Where does? It is a lot more sensible.

Alcophile said...

The Yoichi 12 for 3900yen and Yoichi 15 for 5500yen are both reasonable offers.
It's funny how he just rushes right past the Taketsuru 17... seems like a great deal at only 3500yen for a very respectable blend.

Anonymous said...

greetings, nice to see the videos incorporated into nonjatta.

For your infos, the 17yo taketsurus and yoichis may look like good bargains.

But here in my country the listing price for old parr "tin cap" is listed as close to 60,000 yen. not sure what "tin cap" means maybe an older bottling or vintage perhaps.

nevertheless for 6500yen I'm paying for slightly over a tenth of the price which to me is a very good steal.

happy tippling guys
paul

Doc said...

for info and prices @Narita, check this out ...

https://duty-free-japan.jp/front/narita/goodsList.html?br=123&it=&se=3

Gaby A. said...

I know I'm a year and some months late to the party, but currently in Tokyo for a few days. Has the situation since last year changed and the selection (and cost) at narita improved or better to buy downtown? Staying in Shinjuku area here.

Shilk said...

Go to yamaya in west shinjuku. Far better prices than duty free.

Stefan Van Eycken said...

To be honest, duty free is a bit of joke here at Narita. You may be able to save a few yen on some of the more expensive bottlings (and I'm talking about the ones in the region of 100,000 yen) but for most, daily drinking purposes, the selection at Narita is neither better nor cheaper than that at most good retailers in the country.

Anonymous said...

btw, both Yamazaki 25 years and Hibiki 30 years have gone up in price again!!! 85,000 Yen

Stefan Van Eycken said...

That's true, the price of the Yamazaki 25 is now 85,000 yen. You can also buy the special releases (the ones that come in traditional pottery) and those prices are attractive: 24,000 yen instead of 30,000 yen on the market here.

Anonymous said...

Well I'd like to know the price for Hibiki 12 (Y3500 at Narita) Hibiki 17 (Y6500) and Suntory Yamazaki 18 (Y150000) at Yamaya or elsewhere, because as far as I can see, Narita is the cheapest for these whiskies.

Anonymous said...

Sorry , that was Y15,000 for the Yamazaki 18

Stefan Van Eycken said...

The three whiskies you mention can be had at close to that price if you look carefully, but I don't know of any liquor store in Japan where they are cheaper. So basically: if you want them, buy them at Narita!

Jon said...

Are the Nikka Yoichi 15 and Taketsuru 17 still those prices? Those are actually pretty good prices for anywhere in Japan and I have a friend going through there next week. I could get him to pick me up one of each. Those prices are about a half of what they are here in a America.