Tokyo is a city bustling with colleagues and friends carousing in drinking establishments that litter the streets of the capital. It’s thanks to Tokyo’s production of delicious beer that you’ll so often see those locals with a “nama” (draught beer) in hand. But if you’re on the search for the taste of fresh beer near the city, clear out a couple of hours in your day to visit one of the factory museums located around Tokyo. Pick one of these three factories and you’ll be in beer heaven!
1. Yebisu Beer Museum (ヱビスビール記念館)
Yebisu Beer comes from a brewing company which specializes in German brewing methods. This much-loved brew acquired the name Yebisu from its place of origin, now known as Ebisu (恵比寿), a much-visited area found on the Yamanote line (山手線). As a way of celebrating the brand’s 120 years of existence, a museum was opened in 2010. This is a modern and luxurious museum found not far from Ebisu train station. Here, visitors can browse through different collections of photographs, old beer advertising boards, videos and historic bottles of Yebisu.
After browsing the museum, you can join a 40-minute tour to find out more about the history of Yebisu. This fascinating tour is a treat to all five of your senses with the added benefit of the tasting salon where you can try out various types of Yebisu beer. The tour costs 500 yen which includes two free beers. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, from 11:00 to 19:00.
2. Suntory Musashino Beer Factory (サントリー武蔵野ビール工場)
Another brewery that offers factory tours is the Suntory Musashino Beer Factory. Go on an hour-long tour of the factory to get an inside look into the beer giant Suntory’s Premium Malt brewing process. The tour starts with a short introductory video about the quality of the spring water they use in their brewing process. Next up, get a glimpse of the huge vats in which the brewing takes place, followed by the filling and packaging of those recognisable Suntory cans.
The best part of the tour, of course, is the free beer sampling for the obligatory taste and smell tests. As a beer needs a companion, they offer up some of the company’s own brand salty snacks. Before heading back home, be sure to buy a souvenir at the gift shop where you’ll find varieties of goods such as glassware, key chains, t-shirts and other gift ideas.
Suntory Musashino Beer Factory website *Japanese only
3. Roti’s House Harvestmoon Brewery (ロティズハウスビール工房)
Roti’s House Harvestmoon Brewery is a multi-award winning brewery near Tokyo Disneyland. Although it looks smaller from the outside, it is, in fact, a huge factory. Here, you can enjoy tasting local Maihama beer while learning about the production process from a certified member of the Japanese Beer Association.
The tour gives you an exclusive look into Harvestmoon’s unique grain and hops. Tour sessions are limited to 10 people and are only hosted occasionally, so be sure to check availability before turning up.
Connected to the brewery you’ll find a rotisserie restaurant serving up roast dinners alongside cold, fresh beer directly from the tank. Harvestmoon’s beer is a rare find, even in Japan, with only a handful of places offering this distinctive brew. If you’re looking for delicious beer with an irresistible aroma, you should make the extra trip to this brewery.
Roti’s House Harvestmoon website *Japanese only
Within easy access from Tokyo, these three breweries guarantee a fun day out if you’re on the lookout for affordable things to do in Tokyo. Even children can enjoy this trip with the original goods from the souvenir shops!