Hakone Beer The Bottom Line
Hakone is better known for its onsens and ryokans in the area, but if you find yourself down in Hakone, then Hakone Beer is worth a visit but because of the distance involved, make sure someone else is driving. The beers are cheap considering its in a relative popular tourist area, has some great views, and the whole place is non-smoking. The biggest problem with Hakone Beer is how busy it gets in the main restaurant for the buffet, so if you can do without food, then just sit in the smaller bar area.
Hakone Beer The Full Review
Hakone is well known across Japan, and to some extent outside of Japan, for its natural beauty of forests, lakes, and fresh air, as well as the onsens dotted around the air. Just up the road from Odawara, it’s a popular day trip for people living in Kanto. Hakone also has a brewery in the form of Hakone Beer, which opened in 1997 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The main ethos behind Hakone Beer is using the local spring water to make their beers and also sell them locally. The parent company started out almost 150 years ago making something slightly different. While most companies that entered the craft beer market started out producing sake, Hakone Beer started out making kamaboko, or fish paste food products.
Hakone Beer can be reached via car or for those wanting to drink, from the local Hakonetozan line station Kazamatsuri. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the station but for those feeling like a little walk, you could get there from Odawara station, either the JR, Shinkansen or Odakyu line one is possible. There are two parts to Hakone Beer – the small bottle shop that doubles up as a drinking space, or Elennagosso next door which has a huge buffet and seated area. The former was quiet on the day I went but the latter was full up to the brim with people queuing out of the door to get in. Both places serve up Hakone Beer on tap, and have no table charge, are both no smoking and also have no table charge. There is also free WiFi too in the area with the password available on request.
We plumped for the smaller bar, mainly because we didn’t want food and just wanted to sit under the azalea pagoda and sip on some beers. The regular range of Hakone Beer are available on tap in two sizes: medium (300ml) for ¥450 and large (500ml) for ¥650. Prices include tax as well. There are seasonal beers available as well, but only in bottles unfortunately and are very limited, with some of them produced in small numbers – think 2000 or less of 350ml bottles. It’s a shame the seasonal beers aren’t on tap. All of the beers can be bought to take away as well from the bottle shop. There was no happy hour nor beer flights
I skipped out on the food this time around – as mentioned the buffet was full up with people – but the smaller place does have some fried chicken, squid ink sausages, and unsurprisingly, kamaboko goods as well to eat. Nothing substantial mind, just a few things to pick at.
Hakone Beer Details
Open: Weekdays 11:00 to 17:00 Weekends 9:30 to 17:00
Happy Hour: None
Homepage (in Japanese): http://www.hakone-beer.com/
How to Get to Hakone Beer
The closest station to Hakone Beer is Kazumatsuri on the Hakonetozan line.