We’re in the thick of Tokyo’s beer garden season, and summer wouldn’t be complete without a glass of beer, a group of friends, and the hum of cicadas.
Luckily, there are dozens of choices to fulfill your late-night drinking desires. Some require an all-you-can-drink buy-in, which as we’ve mentioned before, isn’t always the best deal. Many offer à la carte menus, BBQ and are even open until autumn (which, let’s face it, is the best outdoor drinking season.)
Best beer gardens with a view
Keio Asahi Sky Beer Garden, West ShinjukuJune to September
5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays; 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays
Lord your pint over the workers of Shinjuku while lounging on the rooftop of Keio Department Store. The garden has a renewed menu this summer, so enjoy your sparkling surroundings with a choice of over 30 types of drinks — of course, this includes Asahi Super Dry.
Everything is self-serve, so thankfully you don’t have to wait around for your beer (a shortcoming of many beer gardens). If you go early between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (last entry 6 p.m.), you can get unlimited drinks for two hours (incl. snacks) for ¥3,800. The classic courses — with all-you-can-drink and various food — start at ¥4,800.
Not interested in set meals? Opt for their one-coin (¥500) à la carte menu, which includes noodles and edamame.
Beer Mount, Mount TakaoJune to October
1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
There are four main types of Japanese beers with occasional festivals bringing added surprises. Apart from beer, you can also choose highball, wine, shochu, and cocktails. All are part of an unlimited drink plan. But this garden isn’t just for drinking (what!?); the all-you-can-eat buffet includes an array of Japanese, Western, and Chinese dishes. This year there is also an option to add a grill-at-your-table BBQ option for ¥2,000 per person (meat included). Prices start at ¥4,300 for a 2-hour free-for-all.
Eki Beer, AsakusaJune to August
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays
In Asakusa, you can sip your brew (and get a crick in your neck) while gazing up at Tokyo Skytree. This beer garden, right on the Sumida River, sits on the rooftop of the Ekimise building at Asakusa Station. With seating for 170, they are open for dinner on weekdays and both lunch and dinner on weekends. There is a 90-minute all-you-can-drink, plus barbeque set, for ¥4,500, with a few other plans available too. À la carte beers start at ¥750 a glass.
Best beer gardens for a date
Garden Islands, Shiba ParkJuly to September (restaurant open year-round)
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays; 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays
Woo your date with a romantic backdrop of Tokyo Tower at Tokyo Prince Hotel’s very own beer garden. While the restaurant is open year-round (when reserved from October to March), its indoor and outdoor seating fills with thirsty punters and BBQ enthusiasts in the summer. They also offer various seasonal food plans at this time starting from ¥5,500 and ¥2,500 for unlimited drinks (all party guests must order). Individual beers are around ¥1,200, so it’s worth getting the plan.
Sekirei, MotoakasakaMay to October
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays
Official site and reservations here
For a flashy, more intimate beer garden, take yourself to the 19th-century building Meiji Kinenkan (a popular wedding venue) and spend the evening at Sekirei. Only originally open in the summer months, this open-air restaurant gets pretty busy, so reservations are advised (this does cost around ¥1,000–¥1,500 for a terrace or garden seat). There is a beer hall inside (which also happens on Sundays), which is considerably cheaper — starting at ¥4,000 for an all-you-can-drink plan.
This is not far from Forest Beer Garden, which is also on this list.
Best beer gardens for a large group
Forest Beer Garden, ShinjukuApril to September
4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays
Official site and reservations here
This almost 1000-person capacity beer garden is held in the Meiji Shrine Outer Grounds. The garden runs daily from late April to late September and is open weekday evenings, as well as afternoons and evenings on weekends. Get an all-you-can-eat-and-drink option for ¥5,500 that lasts two hours. This is a great pick for the sheer size and lovely location.
Note: During the high season (July 22–August 31) the hours change to 2 p.m.–10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 12 p.m.–10:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Sky Beer Terrace, IkebukuroApril to September
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays (extended till 10:30 p.m. in July and August)
Held on the rooftop terrace of the Seibu Ikebukuro Department Store, this Tokyo beer garden is right next to the train station and seats 500. Their two-hour BBQ and nomihōdai (all-you-can-drink) set is ¥5,500. Other set combinations include hot pot and an à la carte menu is also available.
Best beer gardens for a local experience
Citabria Baypark, ToyosuAll year
4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends in summer; closed on weekdays in winter
While this waterside venue may be a little out of the main city center, you are rewarded for your efforts with a beautiful and alternative view of Tokyo. Citabria Baypark has only outdoor seating — come rain or shine — with rows of benches that sit under umbrellas. It is also one of the locations for the Belgian Beer Festival, so it is set up nicely for a boozy evening out. A Heartland draft beer will cost you ¥700 and a small pitcher ¥2,700. They also do a mean mojito and their oven-baked pizza and fish and chips aren’t too shabby either. For those who enjoy a bit of luxury, there are also tents to rent, as well as BBQ plans.
Petit Garden, ShimokitazawaAll year except winter
Times vary but generally, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends and holidays
Not all beer gardens are built for hundreds. This quaint, unpretentious spot is a great neighborhood haunt for beer lovers and outside drinkers alike. Petit Garden is not big (slightly obvious from its name), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character and greenery. It has its own appointed gardener, and you can rent out the space for your very own BBQ beer garden parties. They have an à la carte menu including snacks and serve beer from ¥650.
This article was first published in August 2014 and authored by Selena Hoy. This article was extensively rewritten and updated by the editorial team in July 2023. While we try to make sure our information is accurate, details may vary. Reservations are strongly recommended for all of these venues. Note that public holidays follow a weekend schedule.
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