Japanese Beer Gardens

Beer gardens in Britain are nothing new or for that matter particularly special, but Japan, a country without pubs (except the fake “English” or “Irish” ones) and for that matter to a large extent without gardens, they do it somewhat differently.

They put them on top of very tall buildings in the middle of cities.

Every summer (for obvious reasons of weather, they only open in the summer), the roof of department stores or other such places are bedecked with plastic tables and chairs and chock full of drunk salarymen and office ladies (I’m sure there are salarywomen too, but you never hear of them…).

The other difference with British beer gardens is that for about ¥3000 (about £15) you can eat and more importantly, drink as much as you want for about 3 hours!

Japanese Beer Garden

Japanese Beer Garden


We went to the Hanshin department store beer garden in Osaka (it had Asahi, the Hankyu – rival department store, was a bit more expensive and stocked Kirin, although I found out later it was a self service bar and had the magic beer pouring machine – I’ll try and get a picture of one someday, you put the glass in a holder, and it gets lifted up, filled and set back down. nice), which opened at 6.30. We arrived promptly at 6.20 (didn’t want to miss a minute), and already there was a small queue.

We paid our money, got our glass and plates and found a seat. The deal is, you take your empty glass to the bar, and they give you a full one. Sweet, simple and very efficient. The food was self service and included salads, fried chicken (karaage), fried noodles, takoyaki – octopus in dough balls, fried meat and much more.

As it was a Hanshin garden they had a big screen up showing the Hanshin Tigers baseball game.
The place soon filled up, and there were people of all ages from kids up to some very old ladies who seemed to be back and forth to the bar more often than I was!

They turned off the taps and kicked us out about 9.30, after only about 8 glasses – but bearing in mind the glasses aren’t a full pint, and they do like their frothy beer heads here in Japan, it’s not as much as it sounds.

Still an absolute bargain for ¥3000 and great fun too. Really nice atmosphere, and nobody seemed to get rowdy or aggressive.

Fascinating to see salarymen coming straight from the office and gradually loosening up, and the office ladies who turned up later (after I assume going home and dressing up) flirting or trying to be flirted with.

Was good weather too, not too hot and humid that day, just right. Some ladies bought their parasols.

Parasols

Parasols

PS If you’re interested in Japanese beer check out my Beer website at www.moippai.com/beer-reviews/


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Sun Visors | Balloon Shapes By CopsDecember 1st, 2009 at 12:31 am

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