Beer is a popular beverage enjoyed all over the world in many different ways. Beer varies widely, depending on where it is brewed and the brewing method used. Japanese craft beer is one of the many unique drinks you can try in Japan!

The country’s craft beer scene has exploded in recent years, with a growing number of craft beer breweries in Japan. This movement began in the 1990s when regulations on brewing licenses were relaxed, allowing smaller breweries to enter the market. Today, Japan boasts a diverse range of craft beers, from traditional styles like lagers and ales to innovative brews incorporating local ingredients such as yuzu and matcha.

Let’s take a look into Japanese craft beer and which craft beer breweries in Japan you should check out!

A Quick Guide to Japanese Craft Beer

Introduced in the Edo period (1603 – 1868), Japanese beer made its way onto the market, leading to the opening of some of the world’s major beer breweries throughout the Meiji era (1868 – 1912). Interestingly, Japan’s history of beer goes back hundreds of years when Western culture began importing products to Japan in the early Edo period. In fact, the first Japanese person recorded to have tasted beer was Tamamushi Sadayu, a samurai from the Sendai Clan.

The first beer brewery established in Japan was the Yokohama Brewery in 1869. From this point, more beer breweries began to pop up in Yokohama due to a strong Western influence. These breweries were mainly opened by foreign workers. However, in 1872, the very first fully Japanese beer brewery was opened in Osaka. Then in 1876, Sapporo Beer Brewery opened its first brewery, which was the predecessor of today’s well-known Sapporo Beer!

So, now that we have covered a brief history lesson on Japanese beer, let’s take a look at the important part: where to taste these beers at their freshest! The craft beer breweries in Japan offer an incredible range of flavours and styles that are sure to delight any beer enthusiast.

4 Must-Visit Craft Beer Breweries in Japan

Sapporo Breweries Ltd Hokkaido factory [Hokkaido]

Japanese Beer and Craft Beer Breweries Sapporo Breweries Ltd Hokkaido factory

The history of Sapporo Beer dates back to 1876 when the Kaitakushi Beer Brewery (later Sapporo Beer Brewery) was built in Sapporo. The beer was fermented and matured at low temperatures under the direction of Nakagawa Seibei, the first Japanese to learn beer brewing in Germany, and was marketed as ‘Cold Sapporo Beer’.

Visitors can observe the beer production process and sample freshly brewed draft beer in the tasting room. There is a restaurant, a par-golf course, and a botanical garden on site. There is also a 5 km long cross-country ski slope, although this is only available in winter.


542-1 Toiso, Eniwa City, Hokkaido

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Asahi Breweries Hokkaido factory [Hokkaido]

Asahi Breweries Hokkaido Factory is the only large-scale beer brewery in Sapporo, producing more than 50,000 kilolitres of beer annually. The factory is free to visit and allows visitors to sample up to three glasses of freshly brewed beer per person for 20 minutes, making it a true social studies spot for adults.

Another attraction is the Asahi Beer Garden Shiroishi, located on the premises, where fresh beer can be enjoyed at four restaurants. Taste freshly prepared ‘Asahi Super Dry’ and Genghis Khan at the Hamanasu Kan, which is adjacent to a 1,000-litre beer tank filled with beer direct from the factory.


Address 1-1 Minami, Nangodori 4-chome, Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido

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Kirin Brewery Company, Hokkaido Chitose Factory [Hokkaido]

Kirin Brewery has 11 factories across the country, with the Chitose factory operating in Hokkaido. The Chitose factory uses water from the Uchibetsu River, a tributary of the Chitose River, to produce beer and other products, almost 100% of which are consumed in Hokkaido.

Visitors can experience a brewery tour here, and the attached shop sells original products such as beer chocolates, beer glasses, and mugs. There is also a restaurant where you can enjoy Jingisukan and freshly brewed beer.


949-1, Kaminagato, Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan     

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Suntory Musashino Tokyo Brewery [Tokyo, Japan]

The Musashino Brewery reopened on Wednesday, 1 October 2008! It is the only factory in Tokyo where visitors can observe the beer production process. The Musashino Brewery has reopened for tours with a quality and realistic atmosphere befitting the birthplace of The Premium Malts, and a universal design that allows visitors to tour the brewery safely and securely. Why not come and visit the home of The Premium Malts?


3-1, Yazaki-cho, Fuchu, Tokyo

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Exploring Japan’s Beer Scene

Japanese Beer and Craft Beer Breweries Final Thoughts-1

Japan’s beer culture has grown significantly since the relaxation of brewing regulations in the 1990s, which allowed smaller breweries to enter the market. This has led to a boom in craft breweries, each with its own distinct style and flavour profile. The commitment to quality and innovation is evident in every pint, making Japan a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts.

No matter where you are in Japan, there is always the option of great beer. From historic breweries with centuries-old traditions to modern microbreweries pushing the boundaries of flavour, Japan’s beer offerings are diverse and delightful.

So, why not raise a glass and explore the rich tapestry of Japanese beer culture? Cheers!