Japanese summers are hot, sticky and sweaty, but savvy Tokyoites know there's no better way to fight the heat than an ice-cold beer at one of the city's many beer gardens. Housed in parks, on department store rooftops, and on restaurant terraces, beer gardens usually offer nice views, good food and drink, and a cool breeze. Draught beer is the main draw, but other drinks, both alcoholic and non, are also available, and beer-friendly snacks like edamame, sausages, and Korean barbecue are served.
Below is a guide to the city's best beer gardens. Try one out and discover one of the best things about summer in Japan!
One of the city's more traditional beer gardens, with Asahi beer on tap, classic Japanese beer snacks, and a good view of the Shinjuku skyscraper district.
Lumine East is putting on a Mexican Beer Garden, complete with tacos, burritos and other tex-mex fare.
One of the largest beer gardens in Japan, with a forest setting that makes you forget that you're in the middle of Tokyo. Choose the all-you-can-eat-and-drink option or order from the an a-la-carte menu, and bring along the whole family: this is a kid-friendly beer garden, and many families stop by after a romp at the Jingu Gaien Children's Playground next door.
An upscale beer garden located at the stunning Meiji Kinenkan, in the outer gardens of the Meiji shrine. A variety of Kirin and Heartland beers are on offer along with mostly traditional Japanese food and snacks. But beware: the beautiful garden and above-average fare come with a higher price tag.
100 meters above street level, Tobu's roof affords an impressive view that includes Mount Fuji on clear days. The food menu focuses on Korean cuisine, featuring different styles of bulgogi, and the beer is Asahi Super Dry.
Known for its udon noodles, the Tokyo Sanuki Club also has an attractive terrace which is converted into a classy beer garden for the summer. Highlights of the mostly traditional Japanese menu include Ghengis Khan barbeque, basashi (horse sashimi) and, of course, sanuki style udon.
The Grand Arc Hotel offers a classic beer garden experience. There's plenty of indoor seating in the case of rain, but be careful if you want to sit outside -- only 40 outdoor seats.
Wind down in the gardens of the Prince Hotel, and be sure to check out their special promotions.
Six years ago this beer garden opened in the middle of Hibiya park, and has become a favorite destination to beat the summer heat. They have a Hawaiian theme this year, with Hula dance performances as well as comedians and other entertainers.
This beer garden offers Kirin, Corona and other brews, together with a selection grilled snacks, pizzas and pastas. Enjoy the nightview of the Shinagawa while sipping away a cold pint.
The Matsuzaka beer garden has been delighting Tokyoites for over 25 years. The approach is straightforward, and delicious: sapporo and yebisu beer, and lamb barbecue on the rooftop. It doesn't get much better than this!
Enjoy a view of the Sumida river while soaking up the tropical resort atmosphere, complete with Okinawan cuisine. The drinks include Asahi Super Dry, Asahi dark, and awamori (Okinawa's famed shochu).
, This beer garden offers Kirin, Corona and other brews, together with a selection grilled snacks, pizzas and pastas. Enjoy the nightview of the Shinagawa while sipping away a cold pint.
The Hankyu hotel plays it traditional with Sapporo beer and a typical snack menu, highlighted by Ghengis Khan barbecue
If you find the combination all-you-can-drink beer and bowling appealing, then this is the beer garden for you. An a la carte menu is available, but recommended is the bowling pack, featuring two bowling games, a selection of snacks, and two hours of unlimited Sapporo, Yebisu and other drinks.
Those willing to go a bit out of the way will be rewarded with a beautiful view of distant Tokyo at this mountain-top beer garden. The 90-minute hike up Mount Takao is a sure-fire way to work up an appetite for the all-you-can-drink Asahi, Heartland and Heineken beer and all-you-can-eat buffet. If you'd rather not walk, the chair lift and cable car will get you to the top and stay running until the beer garden closes (beer garden patrons are not encouraged to hike back down).