Japanese Beer and Whisky Culture


Food travel today is not just about restaurants and markets but also the drinking culture.

Food pairing with wine, beer, or cocktails plays on the palate and further enhances flavors and the dining experience.

In every sip, local drinks and drinking tell stories of history, society, and culture.


Sapporo Beer Garden

Hokkaido is no exception.  The northern region in Japan is the country’s birthplace of beer.  The well-known Sapporo Beer is Japan’s oldest brand of beer since 1877 created by a Japanese who studied brewing techniques in Germany.

The best place to start is the Sapporo Beer Museum which curates the history of beer, the beer making process, and the industry.  Best of all, there are tastings and a biergarten.  The Sapporo Beer Garden has two restaurants – one of which offers all you can drink beers.

Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 1
The beauty of the Sapporo Beer Factory at night
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 2
Sapporo Premium Draft.  Light, crisp, and refreshing
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 3
Yebisu Black.  Euro dark lager.  Malt and coffee notes with that signature Japanese touch of refreshing
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 4
Sapporo Classic. Only in Hokkaido.  Creamy and slightly sweet – almost like drinking Hokkaido milk.  A soothing, refreshing experience. And, my new favorite beer

Click here for TripAdvisor reviews and photos of the Sapporo Beer Garden

Sapporo Beer Garden
9-2-10 Kita 7 Jo


Otaru Brewery

Light lagers dominate the Japanese beer scene.  In recent years, there has been a success of craft beer brewers coming in with Belgian, German, and American influences for maltier and hoppier flavors.

While in Hokkaido, Otaru Brewery provides a taste of Germany.  Genuine pilsners and ales having been brewing since 1995.  With Japanese ingredients and passion, the brews somehow taste even better than those in Germany.

Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 6
Otaru Canal
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 7
Otaru Brewery.  With classic German interiors
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 8
Otaru Pilsner.  Light drinkability
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 9
Otaru Dunkel.  Malty and nutty notes

Click here for TripAdvisor reviews and photos of the Otaru Brewery

Otaru Brewery
5-4 Minatomachi


Nikka Distillery

And for the recent rage and trend, Nikka Distillery in Yoichi brings in whisky fans from around the world.

From the father of Japanese whisky who studied the process in Scotland, this main distillery was established in 1934.  The location of the factory was purposefully chosen for its likeness to Scotland with the clear water, brisk air, and rich peat.

Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 10
Whisky tasting at Nikka Distillery in Yoichi.  A free tasting of 3 varieties
Foodicles Hokkaido Drinks 11
Even more whisky to taste in the Nikka Museum.  Pay to taste more before buying bottles at the shop

Click here for TripAdvisor reviews and photos of the Nikka Distillery

Nikka Distillery
7-6 Kurokawa-cho


Sign up to my newsletter on the sidebar for blog updates and my travel insider tips!