Heading back in time
The smallish (by Tokyo standards) and stylish district of Ebisu, is also home to the Museum of Yebisu Beer. Formerly known as Yebisu, Ebisu was originally named after the beer brand. This included the train station too, which was the central link connecting the town.
Venturing back to 1887, amongst an abundance of farmland and thick forests, the Yebisu brand and factory was established. The factory itself was born from its specilisation in the German brewing process.
Yebisu Garden Place is the site that sits upon the old factory and brewery. It is a property development of skyscrapers and buildings that host an array of restaurants, shopping areas, accommodation and museums. It features the deluxe Westin Tokyo Hotel, Mitsukoshi Department Store, offices, residential suites and of course the Museum of Yebisu Beer.
The Yebisu experience
Entry to the Museum is free, and you can also enter the souvenir shop and take photos around the complex. There are some simple information and displays also posted around the inside of the building.
The tour itself tracks the history of the Yebisu Beer brand, dating back to the establishment of the initial brewery in the late 1800s. It goes through some important events in the company’s history, plus the science behind beer brewing.
There is also a section on the transition from the naming conventions of Yebisu to Ebisu. The ‘ye’ sound, Japanese character「ゐ」and any associated words have basically disappered from the modern Japanese language. Instead, the character now appears like ‘Ie’ or「イェ」today, similar to the change from Yebisu to Ebisu.
At the end of the 40-minute information tour, you are then guided to the tasting salon or tasting area. Here is your chance to try some of the exciting flavours available from one of Japan’s truly loved beer brand.
Access and Pricing
Getting to Yebisu Garden Place is a simple 7-minute stroll from Ebisu JR Station via the East gate, just follow the signs. The JR station is one stop away from Shibuya on the yamanote line. Alternatively, it is an approximate 12-minute walk from Ebisu Metro Station, via the JR exit. Ebisu station on the Hibiya line is one stop from Naka-Meguro or two stops from Roppongi stations.
The Museum itself is open from 11:00 to 19:00 every day except Mondays, with the last tour reservation available at 17:10, and the last order from the tasting salon finishing at 18:30.
The cost for the tour plus access to the tasting area is 500 yen. Due to higher demand on weekends, you may want to arrive early to book your spot.
For more information, you can also access the official Museum of Yebisu website.