Ebisu is a sweet little area of Tokyo. It’s quite different from other parts of the city in that it is really laid back, and so proves a refreshing break from the chaos. It is more of a residential area, even though it’s near bustling spots such as Shibuya. Ebisu is known for its cozy and small restaurants, pubs and those famous tachinomiya standing bars. It’s a well-known spot with the older crowd of Tokyo and foreign expats make a recurrent appearance here.
What to eat and drink in Ebisu
Ramen it is. Afuri brings in customers from all over, so expect a mixed crowd of noodle lovers at more or less any time of the day. The go-to choice here is the shio ramen and can be eaten with the simple tanrei soup or the maro choice, which comes with added chicken fat—juicy! There is a funky ramen option called the yuzu shio ramen (980 yen), a perfectly golden chicken- and dashi-based broth with yuzu (Japanese citrus).
Buri is one of those well-known tachinomiya standing bars of Tokyo. It is famous for its extensive sake menu and serves tasty and reasonably priced nibbles. Open everyday from 5pm-3am, it’s a good little shout for some Tokyo food and drinks for the area.
Jollys Liquor Shop has a great selection of craft beer in cans and bottles that you can grab from the fridge and enjoy in the store with friends until late in the evening. Other boozy options in the area are Ebisu Yokocho, with a range of eating and drinking options, as well as live music British pub What the Dickens.
What to do in Ebisu
The main highlight of Ebisu is the Yebisu Garden Place. It is an interesting spot and is commonly described as ‘a city within a city’. It’s a melange of office space, entertainment, dining and shopping all in one big complex. You could literally be here at any time of the day and have something to do to keep you entertained. It boasts unique Western-style buildings and also gorgeous Christmas illuminations, so you are in for something quite extraordinary here, no matter what time of year you go here. Yebisu Garden Place is also built on the former site of a beer brewery. The Yebisu Beer brand is still going strong and had been brewed there since 1890. It was the beer that gave the later developing town of Ebisu its name, not the reverse way around funnily enough.
The other top thing to do in the area therefore has to be the Museum of Yebisu Beer (link in Japanese)—what else?! This place takes you through the history and science of Japanese beer brewing and even offers a cheeky beer tasting while you’re there. After visiting the museum, head to the beer restaurant: Beer Station—no need for a creative name there! It’s 500 yen for the tour (includes 2 tastings) per adult.
For all you budding photographers and photo lovers, Ebisu gives you the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. This place was founded by the Tokyo government and it also features a movie theater too. The space is in the Yebisu Garden Place and has been since 1995. It became well-known at that time as being one of the first photography galleries in Japan to not be dedicated to the works of just one sole photographer. The gallery now presents themes rather than pieces by one single artist. It’s not just for the arty folk either, if you have children don’t worry, all are welcome here—the museum holds exhibitions of video games and anime too.
Where to stay in Ebisu
Hotel Siesta ticks all the boxes. The price is its key highlight, proving a very reasonable option for budget travelers—capsules start at 3,500 yen/night. Being a typical capsule hotel in Tokyo, this place is full of travelers, so expect friendly crowds. Hotel Siesta is only one minute from Ebisu Station and it can’t get more convenient than that chaps.