In the long six years that BeerTengoku that has been around, we’ve clocked up over 330 visits to bars across Japan – only covering about one-quarter of what is out there. It’s a long way to go, and at this rate, will take us another 18 years of drinking, cycling, and travelling on trains, planes, and automobiles to get to places to list. However, one thing that I have loved about doing this is visiting places and either people-watching as I sit and drink a beer, or drinking with some great views – watching the sun set over the horizon, or being in nature, or just having some great architecture to look at.
Why we chose it: Besides having some tasty food, and one of Kanagawa’s best breweries on tap (Yorocco Beer), the inside of Beach Muffin is charming, for want of a better word. Its kitsch appeal and open bay doors feels like you’re stepping back in time to someone’s house, with the sea breeze blowing in from the bay area. Taking it one step further, if you manage to get down there later in the day, as the sun is setting, the sun shines through, creating an amber warmth inside, and the lack of lighting inside gives Beach Muffin an even more inviting atmosphere for just sitting and drinking.
Original Review: Beach Muffin in Zushi
How to Get to Beach Muffin
If you’re coming from Tokyo, you have the choice of the Keikyu Line to Shin-Zushi, or the Yokosuka / Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Zushi.
Why we chose it: It’s a trek to get to for most people, at least two trains from Tokyo, but it’s worth getting down here, either for a short drinking session on the balcony, or pitching a tent in the grounds and drinking in the fields until the early morning, something that we’ve done both of. While Baird Beer does have taprooms in Kanto, and also one in Kansai, at the time of writing, the view here really is the best of the bunch. Sitting outside on the balcony three floors up allows you to sit and look at the surrounding mountains of Odaira and co. while the sun goes down. If that doesn’t take your fancy, then grab a few beers and sit down by the River Kano and watch it meander around the campsite and fields, listening to the sounds of nature – just don’t go swimming in there. Just make sure you get some food with you, and you’ve booked a taxi back to Shuzenji station – it’s a long walk back.
Original Review: Baird Beer Brewery Gardens Taproom in Shuzenji
How to Get to Baird Brewery Gardens
The best way to get to Baird Brewery Gardens is head to Mishima station
Why we chose it: Like Baird Brewery Gardens above, Sylvans Restaurant is a trek to get to, but it really is worth it, if you have the time and patience to get there. Having been there a few times now, I can safely say that it has the best beer garden in Japan, besides the buyo (Japnaese black flies) that like to feast and leave small red marks on your skin. That can be solved by some simple bug spray though. It’s worth getting here for some of the drink-as-much-as-you-want options throughout the year, and then just sitting in the garden on the grass as the sun sets and leaves Mt. Fuji standing tall in the background. Sylvans Restaurant also have a shuttle bus that can pick you up from Kawaguchiko station and also take you back – and it’s free too!
Original Review: Sylvans Restaurant in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi
How to Get to Sylvans Restaurant
The only way to get here on public transport is to get to Kawaguchiko Station on the Fujikyuko Line which starts at Ōtsuki Station
Why we chose it: When I originally visited Matsumoto back in October 2018, I was taken aback by how organised the city is – blocks of buildings that have some channels of water running past them, and a castle that looms over the city. Matsumoto Brewery Taproom is located on the east side of the station, a short walk from the castle and on one of the main shopping streets. The buildings are mostly still in the original architecture from the time period that they were built in, but the appeal is being able to pick up a few beers, sit outside on the benches and enjoy the view and atmosphere. You can even get some beers to take away and move up to the banks of the River Metoba and walk around the street markets while watching the sunset over the hills of Kamikochi in the distnace.
Original Review: Matsumoto Brewery Taproom in Matsumoto, Nagano
How to Get to Matsumoto Brewery Taproom
The closest station is Matsumoto station, which lies on a variety of train lines: the Shinonoi Line and the Ōito Line.
Why we chose it: I hadn’t been to Kyoto for a couple of years and had heard that there had been a plethora of bars that had opened up, with one opening up alongside one of the offshoots of the River Kamo – that big river that runs through Kyoto. It was in spring when I went, so the banks of the stream had cherry blossom dotted alongside it, and flowing through the river. Grab a couple of beers from Kyoto Beer Lab, sit with your feet in the stream, and let it carry your worries and stresses away. Even if you do sit inside, you may catch up with someone who carries around a backgammon boardset as well, wanting to play anyone and everyone.
How to Get to Kyoto Beer Lab
It’s in Kyoto – everyone knows how to get to Kyoto by now! Take the underground to Shichijo station, or a short walk from the station.
Ikarashitei Yui Swan Lake Pub Edo Niigata in Niigata, Niigata
Why we chose it: Besides being a mouthful to say, Ikarashitei Yui Swan Lake Pub Edo Niigata was a surprised for us when we went to Niigata, way back in 2016. I haven’t been back since, but the memory of sitting at a window table, 20 or so floors up from the ground, and looking over the Japan Sea, watching the clouds roll in, and ships go by has stuck with me. I could have easily spent much more time here, but I was on a mission to get to as many bars as possible in the area, and I kind of regret not having spent more time. The food and beers are also good, but we’re here for the views.
How to Get to Ikarashitei Yui Swan Lake Pub Edo Niigata
Niigata station is the terminus for the Joetsu Shinkansen and is also on the Hakushin Line, Echigo Line, and Shinetsu Main Line. Either grab a taxi or walk.