Summer in Hiroshima means fireworks, summer festivals and beer. Granted there are many wonderful beer gardens to relax at on a hot summer’s night, but many people forget (or don’t know) that the island of Itsukushima, commonly known as Miyajima, has its own patio (i.e. beer garden) where you can enjoy the view while you sip that golden ale.
Locals, of course are familiar with Miyajima Beer, but newcomers to Hiroshima might not initially be aware of this. The beer is brewed on the island itself at Miyajima Brewery. As for the beer garden, aka patio, it can be accessed via the main island frontage or from the back entrance located just off Omotesando, at the far end of the street, closest to Itsukushima Shrine.
There are a few different varieties of beer, with the Miyajima Pale Ale and Miyajima Caramel Blonde being the two most popular ones. In some department stores and specialty supermarkets there is a Weizen or wheat beer one as well. Miyajima Beer is not sold at all supermarkets unfortunately and cannot be found at convenience stores, so usually a trip to one of the local department stores such as SOGO, Mitsukoshi or Fukuya is required. I did, however, recently discover another variety called Miyajima Pale Ale Bitter & Sweet, at my local supermarket.
Each variety of beer has a slightly different taste and rather than describe them for you, I recommend that you just try them all out for yourself!
Now of course, if you don’t feel like mixing with the crowd at the Miyajima Beer Patio, there is always the option of finding a spot to sit on the beach or on the rock wall that surrounds the front of the island.
Despite the fact that summer is not the height of oyster season, oysters are plentiful at Miyajima and are the perfect food to compliment your beer. I would recommend the grilled oysters, which are simple, won’t overpower your beer and won’t they leave any aftertaste that will spoil your next drop. Served with a slice of lemon, the oysters are slightly salty, not too heavy and will definitely satisfy your hunger, yet still leave room for another beer.
Both the beer and the oysters can be found along Omotesando, the main shopping street or arcade, which is located approximately three minutes walk from Miyajima Pier. The prices differ slightly from shop to shop, with one beer costing approximately 500 yen and two grilled oysters in their shell for about 400 yen.
If you want to know more information, check out the Miyajima Beer website (Japanese only) at www.miyajima-beer.com
For more information on the island itself and other activities that don’t include beer, you can visit the Miyajima Official Tourism Website, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan at www.visit-miyajima-japan.com (English, Chinese, Korean, French and German) or the Miyajima Tourist Association at www.miyajima.or.jp (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, French and German).
Kanpai! (かんぱい/乾杯) Cheers!