Traveling in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto)

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Stevedore, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (854) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    I haven't been to Tanakaya for a couple of years but it was mostly all imported beer. The Japanese selection was almost non existent. I didn't see anything but macro beer in the restaurants, apart from the odd Coedo.
  2. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (248) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    In my experience the beer selection in average liquor stores isn't very good. Baird is fairly easy to find. As are cans from Yo-Ho Brewing(I think Tokyo Black Porter and Yona Yona Pale ale are good). There is supposedly a good store in Tokyo station in Ginza called Le Collier Marunouchi but I was not able to find it. Tokyo station is massive. I did find BarBar Tokyo which had some good things on draft. Other beer stops in Ginza are Dry Dock, Craft Beer Bar Ibrew, and there is a Delirium Cafe as well. Devil Craft Kanda is a short walk. I really like The Watering Hole in Shinjuku. Most craft places don't open till later but they open at 3 which may be a good time to bring your kid. They have a good tap list as well as bottles they will sell, also to go. I've seen Cantillon there(for pretty cheap) as well as some American sours in addition to some Japanese stuff.

    Most restaurants will not have craft beer. I very happily drink sake or local whiskey in restaurants, and save beer drinking for craft specific places(luckily there are a lot of craft beer bars in Tokyo). In Ginza I suggest Kagari for ramen. Try to get there a bit before they open as its popular and small.
    bostonwolf and beepill like this.
  3. amano_h

    amano_h Crusader (700) Mar 18, 2014 Oregon

    World Beer Market (or amicably known by locals as Biama-) in Kitasenju has a large selection of domestic craft, and isn't too far away from Ginza. Tanakaya also isn't that far away from Ginza either (just take the Yamanote line and get off at Mejiro) but doing either of these with a two-year-old might prove difficult.


    I have no first hand experience with this matter, and I have never seen anyone under the age of 20 visiting any of these establishments. However, the retail space at Craftheads and Baird is pretty small; Popeyes and BrewDog gets uncomfortably full to the point that I wouldn't want to take a two-year-old to such establishments.

    Good luck, hope this helped.
    beepill likes this.
  4. beepill

    beepill Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    thanks for the tips.
  5. theKidisStrong

    theKidisStrong Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2014 Texas

    Hey hey,

    I'll be in Tokyo for about a week. Are there any cool new beer stops? I am most interested in visiting breweries, but bar recommendations are also appreciated.

    Thanks, everyone.
  6. MaLu

    MaLu Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2012 Japan

    I live near Kita senju. Right next to the station is a bar and beer store named Beer Ma Bar. I'm here now and the menu is 5 tapped beers, about half being Japanese with a significantly larger bottle selection. I recommend it for a quick afternoon stop. I also highly recommend Devil Craft brewery, which has a 3 stores all on the Yamanote line that are very convenient: Kanda, Hamamatsucho, and Gotanda. Good Beer Faucets in Shibuya is also pretty good.
    Hiwattowner likes this.
  7. Charliechu

    Charliechu Aspirant (218) Jul 1, 2013 California

    Im heading to Tokyo at the start of next month, and this thread has been very helpful for me to get a flavor of what to expect out there. If anyone wants to grab a beer or do a trade, holla! I also posted on the FT international section.
  8. patmoore

    patmoore Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2014 Massachusetts

    Hi everyone. Does anyone know if I can buy a Styrofoam bottle shipper in Tokyo? preferably around Shinjuku, but not a deal breaker.
  9. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (339) Oct 24, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    I doubt they are very common, but you might be able to find one in one of the better supermarkets that sells wine and ships perhaps. Many shops will deliver but I'm not sure what they deliver in. I've always just used a hardcase suitcase and bubble wrap in shoe boxes to take home, works fine. If actually shipping, hmmm good luck! might need to build your own.
  10. chelp

    chelp Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2014 Japan

    Hi, Styrofoam shipper is not popular in Japan. Cardboard box with partition is popular in Japan.

    If you are ok used once, I can ship this to your hotel shipping only. I have a private import. So I have many Cardboard box. Many boxes is in the
  11. dcgunman

    dcgunman Crusader (719) Jul 1, 2009 California

    Will be in the mountain town Yamanouchi next weekend for 3 nights. Shiga Kogen Brewery I know about. We are thinking about taking the train back down to Nagano for a half day visit. Any place in Nagano for a good pint of anything local Japanese beer? A place to eat and good beer would be a bonus.
  12. distantmantra

    distantmantra Savant (994) May 23, 2011 Washington

    Oh! La! Ho! is in Nagano. They made pretty good hoppy beers.

    Baird also has a taproom there.
  13. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Crusader (721) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    It's been too long for me too make any specific beer-related recommendations, but if you're into rock/punk/metal, do yourself a favour and head down to Rock Bar Mother in the Kabuki-Cho area of Shinjuku in Tokyo. You will thank me, trust me on this.
    VABA likes this.
  14. dcgunman

    dcgunman Crusader (719) Jul 1, 2009 California

    Well we made it back from our short visit to Tokyo (2 nights) and our ryokan in Yudanaka (3 nights). Tamamura Honten Brewery was a special bonus tucked away in the ryokan town. And it was only a short 15 minute hike from our ryokan. I say hike because to walk there you are walking most all up hill from Masuya. Felt like a short hike. At the tasting room was 2 taps. Their DIPA 1t IPA and a Blonde (which I did not try). There were 5 foreigners when I walked in. A couple from Adelaide, Australia and and small group of women I believe from the UK. Several more foreigners and and Japanese walked inside during my 1 1/2 hour stay. I had a pour of the 1t and a bottle of Shiga Kogen Porter. Was having a great conversation with Johnnie Coles who I met when I first walked in. Another 3 guys from San Diego walked in and kept the conversation going in till I had to leave. The tasting room was old style Japanese house-like. Cold inside. Their beers warmed you up some. I ended up buying the 1t bottles to take back home with me. I also ended up buying several more bottles from the towns local store. Their house ipa, SK IPA, pale ale and sake rice IPA. The sake rice was the surprise for me. Bought an extra bottle to bring back. This place also brews sake. I think sake is their main drink and the beers are second. But don’t skip on their beers. All IPAs were good to very good. You can find their bottles and drafts all over Tokyo and Japan. Bottle price range from $3.5 to $6.5 per bottle. I didn’t see any 6pks. Only singles.
    Back down in Tokyo, our last night I managed to find Craft Beer Bar iBrew in Chiyoda. I’m roaming the streets of Tokyo at night with no WiFi to use my phone. I didn’t know about this thing called pocket WiFi. Sounds like a scam to me. Why is when I went to Busan, S Korea last year September I had access to WiFi everywhere I went to. Including as soon as you walk into the trains and subways? And their bullet train. The Shinkansen from Ueno to Nagano and back was terrible. Expensive and no WiFi. Unless you brought your pocket WiFi. Again, scam. Back to Craft Beer Bar night. I had 2 Japanese local craft. One was a NE style ipa. It was just okay. And it was not haze or hazy. It was more clear than anything. Maybe they were trying for the newest trend...filtered haze. I think it was around 6.7%. Again, it was just okay. The 2nd pour I had was from Kanazawa I believe. It was a tipa. 11%. This one I liked. I was going to have a second pour. Glad I didn’t. No WiFi at the bar. WTF! Scam.
    Redrover likes this.
  15. distantmantra

    distantmantra Savant (994) May 23, 2011 Washington

    WiFi isn't super common, never has been on my trips there. We normally have a pocket wifi included with our AirBNB rentals and I've found it incredibly handy.
    bostonwolf likes this.
  16. jcruz_

    jcruz_ Initiate (29) Dec 3, 2015 Guam

    Will be in Tokyo next week. Any recommendations for bars in the Shinjuku area to grab good beer? Also do the trains/rails shut down at night, and if so what time?
  17. distantmantra

    distantmantra Savant (994) May 23, 2011 Washington

    Bamboo Beer Pub, Craft Beer Server Land and Vector Beer Factory are in Shinjuku

    The trains shut down between midnight and 1 am. After that you'll need to walk back to your place or grab a (very expensive) taxi.
  18. Aetherbulb

    Aetherbulb Initiate (85) Oct 10, 2014 Texas

    Heading to Tokyo next week for three nights and read this thread. Some great info, wanted to see if there was any updates. Searching for a couple places to find good beer (on site and to go) as well as some good places to find whisky to go? Planning on hitting up craft heads, popeyes, and tanakaya, as well as liquor hasegawa based off this thread.
  19. pinyin

    pinyin Disciple (343) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    Watering Hole
    kinopio likes this.
  20. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (248) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    I'm planning my 3rd trip to Japan for september and in my research I've come across some new(I think) spots:
    YYG Brewery
    Spring Valley Brewery
    TBE Brewing
    Swan Lake Pub Edo
    Hitachino Brewing Lab(the view looks amazing)
    Vector Beer

    My two favorites from my prior trips are Watering Hole and Baird Harajuku Taproom. Devilcraft Kanda was cool too. Be sure to report back after your trip.
  21. bostonwolf

    bostonwolf Initiate (141) Jan 20, 2015 Massachusetts

    Or stay out drinking until the trains start running again.
  22. bostonwolf

    bostonwolf Initiate (141) Jan 20, 2015 Massachusetts

    Slightly outside of beer, but make sure you go see sumo if you haven't seen it before. There is a September tournament in Tokyo. We got tickets the minute they went live online and had pretty good seats (front row of the upper level of the stadium)

    Popeye's craft beer bar is about a five minute walk from the sumo stadium and usually has dozens of Japanese craft beers on tap.

    We also found it amusing that they sat all the gaijin at one six-seat table. No worries we made friends with Norwegians, Swedes and an Irishman.
    kinopio likes this.
  23. bostonwolf

    bostonwolf Initiate (141) Jan 20, 2015 Massachusetts

  24. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (248) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    The sumo tickets go on sale this week. I'll be there for the last two tournament days so my fingers are crossed.