Honor's Tokyotopia

August 2008 - Honor's Guide to Beer Gardens


If you're visiting Tokyo during the summer months, the heat can sometimes be overbearing. Actually it's not just the heat, it's the humidity too. It's a season when many Tokyoites show classic signs of lethargy and the infamous unagi (eel) is eaten by the bucket load. Why unagi? Eel is considered to be one of the most effective energy giving foods which will give you the stamina you need to get through the hottest days. Me? I've got to be honest I'm not a fan. Too chewy for my liking and there are bits of cartilage left in it that I really don't find very appetizing. Personal taste and all that.

In the evening, or at the weekend, a really good Tokyo beer garden is the answer for me. These oases in the center of the city are not open all year round - they are a speciality that belongs to the heat of summer. As the sun goes down, make your way either to a roof top garden, or one on the ground, that is buzzing with people cooling off with friends.

The best thing about Tokyo beer gardens is a Japanese service called 'nomihodai'. This is the all you can drink option, usually for a set period of 2 hours, that lets you drink at your own pace and in your own quantities! These are great as you know the price up front, everyone is paying the same, and you can just get on with having fun.

So where are the beer gardens? They're all over the place actually and they are popular, so be sure to to book a place in the better known venues.