The Yebisu Garden Place is one of the crown jewels of Ebisu. Filled with an array of restaurants and shops, the Yebisu Garden Place is a great place to spend the afternoon. The highlight of Yebisu Garden Place is, of course, the beer factory. You see, the district of Ebisu is unique because it was actually named after the ever-popular Ebisu beer, instead of the other way around (for instance, Sapporo Beer is named after the city it is produced, Sapporo in Hokkaido).
And, like you may imagine, the Yebisu Garden Place is located on the grounds of the former Yebisu beer factory.
The Tour of Yebisu Beer Factory
Even though the beer factory is long since gone, you can still get a lovely historical tour of the history of Yebisu beer. One of the first things you learn is that Yebisu is the ancient way of writing Ebisu. In modern times, the kana characters for “ye” have been replaced by the singular “e.” As a result, Yebisu has become Ebisu. The Yebisu beer brand likes to keep to tradition, though, and still spells out the name using the old-fashioned reading.
The memorial room and gallery of the Yebisu Beer Factory display artifacts relating to the history of Yebisu beer. They have a collection of wooden barrels, pictures of famous people, replicas of the first Yebisu ale house, manga comic books where Yebisu made an appearance, old fashioned posters for Yebisu beer, and all sorts of other neat trivia relating to Yebisu beer.
For instance, did you know one bottle of Yebisu beer used to cost the same as 10 bowls of soba noodles at a restaurant? Yebisu was a classy beer, something many gazed at but few could taste.
Highlights of the Beer Factory
At the end of the tour, you are given two glasses of Yebisu beer to taste (included in the 500-yen fee), along with a package of nuts. One of the beers is light; the other is dark – they are both delicious. Guests then participate in a tour wide rock-paper-scissors tournament, where the winner receives an extra glass of beer in a signature Yebisu beer glass (that they are allowed to keep) and the runner up gets an additional glass of beer.
After the tour is officially finished, you can hang around the tap, paying discounted prices for premium Yebisu beer. They have a comfortable lounge, a ticket machine selling beer tickets, and a friendly atmosphere that encourages you to spend a bit of extra time. Don’t be fooled though, even though the beer is cheap, the gift shop next to the longue is expensive.
Yebisu beer factory inside of the Yebisu Garden Place is a great place to spend the afternoon. If you are cheap AND love the taste of a good beer, Yebisu beer factory is definitely the place for you. (Also, when you do the rock-paper-scissors tournament with the tour guide, he usually picks paper.)