It could be argued that one of the greatest things on Earth is sitting outside on a warm summer’s day with an ice cold beer. Being from the south west of England I am used to having a pub on every corner, and almost all of them will have a garden of some kind for whiling away the balmy summer evenings.
While Tokyo isn’t blessed with the same quantity of country pubs and expanse of green spaces it does make up for it by, every summer, opening up beer gardens in its free spaces and atop of many of its buildings. Most of these, for a set time and cost, will offer an all-you-can drink ‘nomihoudai’ service along with food. Now the humidity is dying down, what better way could you spend a beautiful late summer evening? Here are a handful worth checking out this year (2016).
Mt. Takao Beer Mountain
Okay, it’s quite a trek out of town to this beer garden (an hour by train followed by the cable car) but with the fresh air, beautiful views and the post-sunset stars, it is definitely worth it. Bring bug spray.
- Where: Next to the Takaosan cable car station.
- Open: Until October 15
- Cost: 3,500 JPY for men, 3,300 JPY for women
- Website: www.mount-takao.com/beermount
Forest Beer Garden
Supposed to be Tokyo’s largest beer garden with a capacity for 1,000 people, this is a sprawling lawn that is particularly family friendly with its playground and surrounding forest. Oh, and the buffet includes yakiniku!
- Where: Meiji Jingu Gaien, 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi
- Open: Until September 24
- Cost: 4,100 JPY for men, 3,800 JPY for women
- Website: www.mbg.rkfs.co.jp
Utsukushiku Naru Beer Garden
‘Utsukushiku’ means ‘beautiful thing’ in Japanese, and with this in mind, this is a beer garden marketed unashamedly towards women. Elegant design, cocktails and a healthy selection of á la carte meals or meal plans.
- Where: Roof of Matsuya Ginza, 3-6-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku
- Open: Until September 30
- Cost: Set menu (five dishes including nomihoudai) 5,000 JPY. Á la carte menu varies.
- Website: www.utsukushikunaru-beergarden.com
King of the Pirates Beer Garden
From the sublime to the rather ridiculous, the King of the Pirates Beer Garden at Aquacity Odaiba is just what it sounds like: a pirate themed beer garden. It has a decadent theme featuring scores of decorations and drinks fit for Captain Jack Sparrow himself.
- Where: Aquacity Odaiba, 1-7-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Opening times: 11:00 – 23:00
- Cost: 3,500 JPY – 4,000 JPY
- Website: www.aquacity.jp/shop/pirates
Omohara Beer Forest
The Omohara Beer Forest at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku doesn’t just dish up the usual fare of Superdry or Sapporo. Instead they are serving some rather delicious beers from Nagano’s largest microbrewery (an oxymoron, I know), Yona Yona. Get in quick as the last day is Sunday September 4.
- Where: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, 4-39-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
- Open: Until September 4
- Cost: Drinks 700 JPY, food from 1,000 JPY
- Website: www.omohara.tokyu-plaza.com
Tokyo Tower Highball Garden
Perhaps the last thing that you want from a beer garden is, well, beer. If that is indeed the case, the Tokyo Tower Highball Garden should be your port of call. At the base f the Tokyo Tower this terrace garden has a long list of whiskey drinks to cool down your summer night.
- Where: Tokyo Tower, 4-2-8 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku
- Open: Until October 2
- Cost: Observatory ticket and a highball for 1,000 JPY; drinks and food 200-1,000 JPY. “Genghis Khan” 120-minute nomihoudai/tabehoudai 4,000 JPY
- Website: www.tokyotower.co.jp
Photo: flickr.com "Mt. Takao beer garden" by eeems (CC BY-SA 2.0) -Modified