The Kirin Beer Factory Tour is the company’s free information session and introduction to its globally recognised beer brand. The idea is not unique though, as you can take part in a range of tours, free and paid, across the country.
Kirin the brand itself originates from Yokohama city and helped to play a major influence on beer consumption in Japan. Kirin Brewery is responsible for the Kirin Larger and Ichiban Shibori beers, that are one of the most popular choices amongst the Japanese. They also have global operations through alliances and subsidiaries across Australia, Asia, Europe and the US.
The tour itself goes for around 70-80 minutes. Initially, your tour guide will take you through a series of displays that go through the history of the company. They will show you a range of displays, including a timeline of sample packaging, labels and advertisements. You can also get a view of their fermentation tanks and bottling areas. Additionally, you will be able to see and actually taste where they source their hops.
As the tour comes to a close, the best part of the last 15-20 minutes begins. The friendly staff will offer you the chance to try several different beers, accompanied by snacks. Of course, if you are driving or riding a bicycle, it is strongly advised that you stick to non-alcoholic beverages. This is because it is illegal to drink and drive or ride a mode of transportation.
The factory staff mostly conduct tours in Japanese, however, from time to time, English tour guides may be available. Please check with the staff at the counter of the reception area before commencing your tour.
Access and Hours of Operation
The Kirin Beer Factory is located in Yokohama and people can access this from via either Namamugi or JR Shin-Koyasu Stations. From Namamugi Station on the Keikyu Main line, it is a moderate 10-minute stroll. However, from JR Shin-Koyasu Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, it is a longer 15-minute stretch.
Tours run during the day beginning at 10:00 am, with the last scheduled at 16:00. Generally, you cannot enter the grounds on Mondays, it is closed on that. However, in the instance of a National holiday on Monday, when it will remain open and close the following day.
You can also book tours via their official website (Japanese only).