Known as the birthplace of Japanese beer, the northerly island of Hokkaido has plenty to offer traveling beer lovers. From Japan’s largest summertime beer garden to tap houses where you can enjoy locally brewed draft beers straight from the factory, and even a beer museum, here are some suggestions for a beer-themed visit to Hokkaido.
Sapporo Beer Museum
Its namesake beer, sold around the world, is one of the first associations visitors make to the city of Sapporo. The Sapporo Brewery was founded here in 1876, and its beer remains one of the most popular in the nation. Beer aficionados can reserve a tour of the factory, just outside the city, and also visit the Sapporo Beer Museum in the city center. The museum has an attached beer garden where you can sample the products.
Asahi Beer Factory
Sapporo shouldn’t be the only beer you drink in Hokkaido. The region’s beer brewing legacy means there are plenty of other beers to try, including Asahi. The Asahi Brewery offers guided tours that take you through the entire production process and culminate with tastings of up to three glasses of freshly brewed beer.
To get a taste of the wide variety of beers produced locally, visit during the summer, when numerous breweries from around Hokkaido set up shop at Japan’s biggest beer garden in Odori Park. In addition to domestic brews, you can sample beers from around the world while snacking on Hokkaido’s seasonal foods.
If you venture to the port city of Otaru (around one hour from Sapporo) to explore its canals, stop at Otaru Beer to tour the factory and taste its German-inspired beer.