Beer lovers traveling to Japan can have so many awesome opportunities to grab and enjoy a cold one. Not only is Japan home to some well-known brands of beer, but it’s also full of breweries and bars where you can sample various brews.
From the island of Okinawa to the northern reaches of Hokkaido, beer drinkers can find something fun to do and develop their tasting skills—or just sit down and have a cool drink with friends. Here are some of the best beer-related activities you can do throughout Japan.
From Okinawa comes one of Japan’s largest beer brands: Orion Beer. While the brand doesn’t own much of the domestic market, it’s the top-selling brand in Okinawa. Anyone who wants to get a taste of this Okinawan favorite can learn more about the company by taking a tour at Orion Happy Park in Nago, Okinawa. While the tour is in Japanese, English-speaking visitors can get a pamphlet with translations. Afterward, two free glasses of Orion beer are provided for sampling.
Orion Happy Park
2 Chome-2-1 Agarie, Nago, Okinawa 905-0021, Japan
9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
*Beer fans should be on the lookout for the Orion Beer Fest, an annual beer celebration sponsored by Orion and takes place in the summer.
Shikoku, Japan’s fourth-largest island, is famous for its historic sites and expanses of natural beauty. It’s also home to one of Asahi’s breweries. Asahi Beer, founded in 1889, is one of the most popular Japanese beer brands. Tourists exploring the picturesque countryside of Shikoku can stop by the Asahi factory to learn about the company’s process and taste their beer. English tours are available but must be reserved by phone beforehand.
Asahi Beer Factory (Shikoku)
2-6 Hiuchi, Saijo, Ehime 793-0003, Japan
*Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
*Asahi also has other breweries throughout the country and more information can be found on their official website.
Shikoku is also home to a number of craft beer breweries that showcase homebrewers’ skills and love of the craft. Take in the beauty of Kamikatsu, Japan’s “zero-waste” town, as you enjoy the local brews of Rise & Win Brewing Co. The brewpub’s structure and decor reflect the town’s eco-friendly philosophy.
Rise & Win Brewing Co.
237-2 Hirama, Masaki, Kamikatsu, Katsuura, Tokushima 771-4505, Japan
In Kyushu, many tourists get to experience the local wonders of Fukuoka. The city’s proximity to mainland Asia makes it a popular destination. It’s also the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, a noodle dish made with pork bone broth and a favorite among ramen lovers. Close to the city also lies Kirin Beer’s Fukuoka factory
Kirin Beer is another one of Japan’s big beer names and one of its breweries is located in Fukuoka. Inside the factory, visitors learn about the company’s brewing process and history. There’s also a restaurant attached to the factory called Kirin Beer Farm which features a beautiful garden that blooms with the seasons and serves dishes that pair well with Kirin beer.
Kirin Brewery Fukuoka
3601 Mada, Asakura, Fukuoka 838-0058, Japan
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Tuesday to Saturday), 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Sunday)
Closed on Mondays
Kirin Beer Farm
3205-7 Mada, Asakura, Fukuoka 838-0058, Japan
11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Of course, Japan’s biggest island is home to most of the country’s many breweries. The western region of Kansai, for one, was where Suntory was born. The name is most famous for its whiskeys, but it also produces some of Japan’s popular beers.
Among the temples and historic streets of Kyoto, tourists can enjoy a tour through Suntory’s brewery. The tour is completely free and comes with the opportunity to try Suntory’s brews. But be aware that it’s only available in Japanese. Reservations are also required and can be made online.
Suntory Kyoto Brewery
3-1-1 Choshi, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto 617-8530, Japan
9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
In eastern Honshu, Tokyo is the place to go if you want to find all the major breweries within a two-hour train ride. But the city is also home to many incredible craft breweries and pubs to sample local and international flavors.
Roppongi is the hub of Tokyo’s nightlife, and it’s also where you can find a craft beer pub that serves over 20 beers on tap. Beer-lovers can enjoy all sorts of beers from around Japan without leaving their seats at the bar.
Ant ‘n Bee
B1F, 5-1-5 Roppongi, Minato 106-0032, Tokyo
5:00 PM to 3:00 PM (Monday to Saturday)
5:00 PM to 12:00 AM (Sunday)
Located in the heart of Daikanyama, Spring Valley Brewery is a microbrewery and restaurant that matches the hip and trendy style of the area. It’s a great place to bring friends to enjoy the ambiance while tasting the craft beers they make right on the premises. They even offer a beer tasting menu complete with snacks chosen to pair with the beer.
Spring Valley Brewery
13-1 Daikanyamacho Log Road Daikanyama, Shibuya 150-0034 Tokyo
Sapporo, Hokkaido is home to a rich beer history. In fact, the oldest brewery in Japan where they made Sapporo beer still stands. However, the building has been turned into a commercial complex and Sapporo beer is made outside the city. But those interested in Sapporo Beer can still learn about the company at the Sapporo Beer Museum. The building housing the museum was also a brewery for the company before they moved operations. Photos, posters, and bottles making up the history of Sapporo Beer can be found among the displays.
After touring the museum, visitors can stop by the museum shop to purchase souvenirs or have a seat at the Sapporo Beer Garden for a drink.
Sapporo Beer Museum
9-1-1 Kitananajo-higashi, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-8633, Japan
As you make your way through the country searching for the best Japanese beer, consider looking for other activities you can book quickly and conveniently through KKday to keep you occupied before your next hoppy drink.
*Featured image by Mr. Bon on Shutterstock