TOP 10 craft beer in Japan

Today’s post is the continuation of yesterday’s post, with number 6-10 on the list of top 10 Japanese craft beers by our SNS trend research.

The breweries featured in this article are located nearby popular sightseeing spots, so we recommend you try these beers while travelling in each region.


Top 10 craft beers in Japan voted by our readers no. 6-10


6th  【Ibaraki Prefecture】Hitachino Nesuto Beer

Boasting 190 years since its foundation, Kiuchi sake distillery of Naka city started brewing beer in 1996 after 173 years of producing sake and shochu.

Since then they have won two gold medals in the biggest beer contest in the world, the World Beer Cup and has become the most drunk Japanese craft beer in the world.

The beer produced in this distillery or brewery is unique in that it combines European and Japanese brewing techniques, for example Saison du Japon being brewed with a combination of wheat and koji, a fermenting agent used in the traditional production of sake.


Recommended Sightseeing Spot:

Shizumine Hometown Park has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 best sakura viewing spots. The Yaezakura cherry blossom festival is held slightly later than Tokyo, in the second half of April every year. You can see over a 2,000 blooming sakura trees at this festival.



In the summer, the Nakahimawari Festival is held starting in late August where you can see 250,000 blooming sunflowers.



Voice from a voter:

“Their creative approach in making craft beers is amazing!”


7th Place【Mie Prefecture】Ise Kadoya Beer



In the year 1575, during Japan’s Sengoku (Warring States) period, Ise Kadoya Beer was established as a small bar, but in 1997 started brewing their own beer. They make draft beer using malt with as few chemical pesticides and fertilizers as possible, and without heat sterilizing

This beer won the most prizes 2 years in a row in the International Beer Cup.

The Ise Kadoya brewery runs a pub/restaurant called Biyagura, allowing you to stop for a meal while you are trying their beers. They offer an English menu.


Recommended Sightseeing Spots: Ise Shrine & Okage Yokocho Alley


Okage Yokosho Alley

As for the Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Ise, Ise Jingu probably comes to mind first. It particularly gained attention in 2013, when there was a movement of the sacred object, which occurs once every 20 years.

As well as visiting Ise Shrine, and having a walk around Okage Yokocho Alley in front of the shrine is enjoyable. Within the 3-acre premises, you can see architecture from the Edo to Meiji periods (1603-1912) that have been relocated and reconstructed.


Voice from a voter:

Sinto Beer. The Kumano Kodō (pilgrimage route in the area) beer is good too!


8th  【Nagano Prefecture】OH!LA!HO Beer


OH!LA!HO Beer (very cute name!)

The OH!LA!HO! Extra Pale Ale is an American style Pale Ale with a bright, clear amber color and a thick white head. The fruity flavor is refreshing and brings back memories of summer, a contrast to the comparatively cool climate in Nagano.

This beer has been brewed using spring water from Mt. Asama and carefully selected ingredients since 1996 in Tōmi, Nagano prefecture.


The name OH!LA!HO comes from the regional word for “us” or “our area”, called oraho. It has received high acclaim throughout the word, including a gold medal in the International Beer Contest.

Recommended Sightseeing Spot: Unno Juku & Ueda Castle

Unno Juku, where rest stations from highways in Edo Period (1603-1868) still remain and irrigation water runs through the middle of the roads, is a place where you can feel an old-fashioned air in the streets.


Ueda castle


Ueda Castle in the next town, Ueda, is where Yukimura Sanada (a Sengoku period samurai warrier) defended twice against the ruler of the country Tokugawa’s army.

It is known as an impenetrable castle, and was selected as one of the top 100 castles in Japan.


Voice from a voter:

I want to visit Unno Juku and see the streets from the past! After doing sightseeing I want to try the OH!LA!HO beer too♪ I always feel like a beer at dinner when I’m travelling!


9th 【Saitama Prefecture】 COEDO Beer

Coedo beer

With Kawagoe in Saitama prefecture as a base point, 5 types of beer with contrasting colours and flavors are being made. These are called Ruri, Kyara, Shikkoku, Shiro and Beniaka.

They are Japanese original beers created using German techniques.

The cute bottles mean they would be perfect for a souvenir! Kawagoe is only a 30 minute trip from Ikebukuro in Tokyo so it is easy to get to.


Recommended Sightseeing Spot: Streets in Kawagoe

Because of the warehouse-style houses remaining from the Edo period, Kawagoe is sometimes called “Little Edo”.

The bell tower that rings on the hour is a popular symbol of Kawagoe and you can taste the nostalgia in streets where old-fashioned candy stores line up.

Little Edo
Bell tower of Kawagoe

Read our blog about Kawagoe >> Little Edo Kawagoe

Voice from a voter:

I like how Kawagoe is easy to get to from Tokyo and has a old-fashioned atmosphere. I love COEDO beer too!


10th 【Gifu Prefecture】Hida Takayama Beer



This beer was born in Hida Takayama which we have just introduced in our blog last week.

Read more >> Where to go around Chubu region

It’s the place blessed with beautiful, clean water and nature. This pure, natural water is drawn up from 180m under the ground before being used to activate yeast and drawing out the flavour. An abundant, full-bodied taste which although dark, is also refreshing and smooth.

Unfortunately the brewery does not have a bar or restaurant attached, but the nearby town of Takayama is beautiful enough to deserve a visit in itself.

Recommended Sightseeing Spot: Hida Takayama & World Heritage Site Shirakawa-gō

Sanmachi Street in Hida Takayama is an area where the streets have an old-fashioned feel and has been designated as a traditional architecture preservation district. Also, you can stretch out your legs at the world heritage site Shirakawa-gō, where old residences with straw-thatched roofs remain.



In spring, the village is painted pink with sakura petals, in summer the rural landscape is enveloped in green, in autumn is surrounded by yellow and red leaves on the mountains, and in winter you can see the thatched-roof houses are draped with snow.



The beautiful scenery can be enjoyed from season to season.

Voice from a voter:

I want to try the beer when I go sightseeing in Gifu.


Blogger recommendation 


Personally I love Hakodate beer, craft beer from Hokkaido. Although it didn’t make this list, I highly recommend that you try it if you visit Hakodate.






Japanese beer lovers, which craft beer have you tried? How do you like it?

Stay tuned for more updates!




4 thoughts on “TOP 10 craft beer in Japan

  1. Excellent idea ! Thank you very much.
    A tour of Japan based on must-try local beers.
    I will add it to my Eki Ben tour plans since it complements perfectly🙂


    1. Yes! You have more activity to look forward to while travelling! I’ve tried many craft beer in Japan and they aren’t bad at all (coming from someone who have spent time in Germany before and know how the original beer tastes like)


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