The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

by Tien - TripleLights travel specialist

Japanese craft beer is definitely not a term that is that widely known in the beer world. Besides the big five beer industries (Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo, Suntory, and Yebisu), the craft beer industry of Japan did not exist 26 years ago. However, since its creation, it has grown rapidly and became a leading industry of the craft beer market in East Asia.

To help you find the best Japanese craft beer in Japan, we have prepared a craft beer in Japan essential guide, that you should give a quick read.

The proud Fujizakura beer with a taste born from the natural water of Mt. Fuji and high German technique.(Midori Nakazawa )

 

Here are the 9 best Japanese Craft Beer you must try:

Shigakogen Beer

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Shigakogen Beer's ingredients are all grown specifically for brewing beer. From hops, sake rice, wheat, barley, blueberries and buckwheat (soba), the brewers wanted a clear, defined taste that stands out from other beers. This is the ideal first craft beer you should have in Japan as it introduces you to the insane amount of dedication Japanese people put into their beers!

Yona Yona Ale

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Yona Yona Ale is one of the most popular craft beer in the Japanese market. It has a citrus flavor combined with floral and a touch of spice. There is a slight sweetness combined with the bitter taste of hops which makes it easier to drink than most. The alcoholic content is 5.5 percent, and you should be able to find it in most convenience stores throughout the year.

Swan Lake Beer

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Made by the same brewery that won two World Beer Awards (2000 and 2006), they are famed for their consistency in creating high-quality craft beers. A touch of caramel adds a certain sweetness when combined with malts, the smoke of roasted hops and a nutty aroma. Definitely a memorable taste that beer lovers should try.

Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan 

Kiuchi- the company that made this ale- originally started making traditional Japanese sake, it wasn't until they began producing beer that they became so popular internationally. The beer has a relatively amber color with a caramel taste that is similar to the Black-Forest gateau and chocolate. This ends with a moderately bitter finish which makes it easy to drink. Suitable for beginners of Japanese craft beers!

Sankt Gallen Shonan Gold

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

The brewery of this beer is said to be the original pioneers of Japanese craft beers. Upon drinking, you will notice a strong hint of orange and grapes which creates a cooling drinking sensation. Try out their stout created coffee beans that had been excreted from elephants as well for something truly different!

Hitachino Nest White Ale

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan 

Hitachino Nest White Ale is brewed in Belgian style with a refreshing mix of orange peel, nutmeg, and coriander. You will notice a wheaty flavor with a strong nutmeg spice, ending with a crisp, herbal taste. Give this a try for a distinct taste in Japanese craft beers.

Minoh Beer

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Minoh Beer has various awards for boasting the best IPA and stouts in the country.  Their beer is famed to not possess and filtering or heating process while brewing which makes the beer significantly fresher than usual. 

Suruga Bay Imperial IPA 

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Baird Brewery's Suruga Bay Imperial IPA stands out for its distinct dry taste. There is a strong hint of hop which was only achieved through a process of drying and various fermenting stages. The balance between aroma, flavor, and bitterness is praiseworthy and will definitely leave a lasting impression on you.

AJB - Imperiality

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Anglo Japanese Brewing (AJB) Company was founded by Thomas Livesey who came to Nagano. A few years ago to kickstart his very own Japanese craft beer company. Shortly after opening, AJB’s Imperiality got rated as the best beer in Japan by the independent popular beer rating site Ratebeer.  They are particularly well known in Japan for Barrel aging beer, but produce a wide variety of beers, all brewed without compromise, using the best quality ingredients, found both locally, and from around the world.

 

Alternative Japanese beer brands

If you'd prefer more affordable beer varieties then look no further than the well-known canned beer brands below, they not only offer great taste, albeit not as unique as craft beers but are relatively inexpensive for what you get. The average beer in Japan price is only 120  - 180 yen for a 350mL can!

Japanese Beer Suntory

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Suntory's beer has a very light taste yet deep which makes it easy to drink for those that don't drink that much and flavorful enough for the veterans. The smoothness of the beer is surprising since it's usually what you expect from a craft beer!

Japanese Beer Yebisu

Perhaps the most expensive but still affordable brand of beer on this list, Yebisu makes up for its cost by giving its consumer high-quality ingredients. There is even a farm that produces barley explicitly only for brewing. This is definitely the beer for special occasions.

Japanese Beer Kirin

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Kirin Beer is best when accompanied with Japanese food. The taste of the beer is clear and crisp thanks to the fact that it is only brewed once in comparison to other beers where they are brewed through many processes.

Japanese Beer Asahi 

Asahi Beer is one of Japan's most famous mass-manufactured beers that have spread across the world. You should have at least heard of the name "Asahi Superdry" because the beer is famed for its dry and crispy taste unlike any other. When in doubt, pick Asahi Beer for an authentic Japanese beer.

Japanese Beer Sapporo

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Sapporo beer has always been said to have rival Asahi's, but it's all up to personal references. Sapporo is somewhat darker in color but is lighter with a slight hint of hop. Sapporo beer is a great alternative when looking for affordable beers. 

 

Japan Craft Beer Festival

Why go far to the countryside only to have one brand of beer when you can come to one place and have a taste of many? Japan hosts a variety of Japanese Craft Beer Festivals and below are a few of them that you should definitely check out:

Great Japan Beer Festival

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

The Great Japan Beer Festival is the biggest annual festival that changes location every year (2019's festival will be held in Okinawa). Not only can you taste a huge array of beers with different flavors and aromas but you can also learn about "Beer Styles".

Keyaki Beer Festival

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Keyaki Beer Festival is dedicated to the brewery of Japan craft beer. If you don't want to go far to experience the liveliness of a beer festival while living in a metropolis, then this is the place to check out as it's only located in Saitama!

Yokohama Frulingsfest

The 9 Best Japanese Craft Beer you Must Try in Japan

Frulingfest is a German festival, but it offers more than just German beer! This festival houses an outdoor theater, rides, attractions music, food and of course plenty of beer! Despite this being a beer festival, don't be afraid to bring your kids along, as its very kid-friendly.

Point is?

Japan's craft beer may not have aged as long as other countries, but that doesn't mean the quality of their beer is any less impressive. Breweries of Japanese beer are dedicated just like every craft Japan prides itself in, much like Sushi or Ikebana. So don't hesitate to have a taste of Japan craft beer as it will undoubtedly leave you wanting for more!

 

Want to know how to make your trip more interesting? Here's how:

Maybe you have heard of bar hopping in Japan, and it is the perfect experience for those who love drinking, partying and doing it all over Tokyo. At TripleLights we offer the best tours (bar hopping included) and Local Guides to make your journey hassle-free.  Look no further than having a local guide to help you make your trip to Japan the best one yet.

The best part is?

You have the freedom to personally create your own tour and decide where you want to go, if you wish to rent a car and ride around or maybe bar hopping in style then send a message to our local guides to get a suitable Japan vacation itinerary and quotation for a memorable experience.

Not only that,

If you want someone to create a tour for you then why not Request a Tour. Just type what you would like to see, and our guides will send you quotes and recommendations depending on what you're interested in.

Over at TripleLights, we offer the best professional Local Guides across Japan to give you convenient 10 days in Japan itinerary suggestions or as many days as you want. You can also check our Private tours to Tokyo.

 

Blogs that might interest you

Tokyo Tower: Price, Hours, Complete Guide in 2019

Tuna auction in Tokyo: Toyosu Fish Market Guide 2019

Shinjuku Shopping: Best Places to Shop in 2019

Monkey Onsen: Best Places To Seeing Snow Monkeys in Japan

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


01 Apr 2019

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Already did thud ”

Excellent
4 hours ago Traveler: Linda -   Tour Guide: Junko

I already wrote a review.
read more

“ 3 days with Akira ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Sheah -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

This is a summary for our 3 days with Akira. He was always waiting for us in our lobby. Always prompt. He had planned an itinerary that would make the best use of our time in Tokyo. When it was raining one day he was adaptable and changed our plans to an equally enjoyable experience. one day we were walking and passed an ad for the digital museum. He described it to us and asked if we wanted to...
read more

“ Knowledgeable, Accommodating and Polite Guide ”

Excellent
13 hours ago Traveler: Carl -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Toshi was very considerate and accommodating to alter his standard o day tour dovetail with another tour we had already booked. He also went out of his way to find elevators and escalators to help my wife navigate metro.
read more

“ Super Fun Tour of Akihabra ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: Jennifer -   Tour Guide: Arnold

I waited until I was completely home from our trip to officially write Arnold a glowing review. He is an absolutely fabulous person. From our first interactions online setting up our time together to the day we arrived he has and had been nothing short of super attentive and helpful. A little background... we booked 6 hours with him... as we were coming from another tour in Japan and had...
read more

“ Great Tour Guide ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: REGINA -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

Atsuko met me and my son in our hotel lobby, she was on time and very friendly. She helped us figure out the train system and took us to the areas that we wanted to go. I mentioned I was interested in the Shibuya crossing and she added the location to our itinerary. During our tour, my son lost one of the anime books he purchased, so she made an extra stop so I could purchase another book for him....
read more

“ Short but sweet trip ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: Kevin -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We had a 11 hr layover in Tokyo and Kaori did a wonderful job of laying out a short day of touring the city. We saw several sights and the had to go to the airport. It was ever nice trip.
read more

“ Tokyo for First-timers ”

Excellent
23 hours ago Traveler: Jude -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori was a wonderful guide. She had a great command of English and was able to accomodate all of our requests. The day ran very smoothly with Kaori guiding us through metro stations, across parks and gardens, around neighbourhoods, on a river cruise, to markets, to upper end shops, to view latest technology, to numerous monuments, buildings and lookout points and a stop to eat a yummy raw seafood...
read more

“ Hospitality was amazing! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Gayle -   Tour Guide: Chiaki

Chiaki made our Tokyo experience the best! She was very accommodating to our interests and making the most out of our time. We had a great day with her! Thank you Chiaki, we had so much fun spending time with you!
read more

“ Overall very satisfactory ”

Very Good
2 days ago Traveler: Daniel -   Tour Guide: EFG CARS Service

Booked a van for 7 people from hotel in downtown Tokyo to Narita. The booking process was confusing in that the website does not clearly identify the booking. The buttons for selecting from Narita and to Narita didn't work so the initial order recited a Narita pickup rather than from hotel. Email response time was timely and the matter was clarified satisfactorily. Apart from booking, the serv...
read more

“ Great tour of Tokyo ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Vimal -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

We had a good time in Tokyo with Toshi. He met us at our hotel in Shinjuku right on time. He got us the day pass for subway and off we went. He has good command of English and was able to explain Japanese culture and history to us in detail. We travelled mostly by sub-ways and he selected main sights in Tokyo like Imperial Palace, the fish market, Sensoji Temple and Asukasa park etc. It was a ver...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started