Nikka was founded by Masataka Taketsuru, widely acknowledged as the father of Japanese whisky.
Taketsuru travelled to Scotland in 1918 to learn how to make malt whisky, returning to Japan in 1920 and soon afterwards was employed by Suntory to establish the Yamazaki whisky distillery. In 1934 he set up on his own, building a distillery at Yoichi in Hokkaido. The company flourished, and celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2014. Now known as The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co. it has two main malt whisky distilleries at Yoichi and Miyagikyo and numerous bottling plants in Japan.