Kampai to Craft Beer in Japan

interpreting historic beer styles with unique twists

11 Aug · Craig ·

Kampai to Craft Beer in Japan

In the short space of twenty years, craft beer around the world has shifted from being brewed in garages, basements, workshops, and kitchens, into factories supporting small workforces of locals. And Japan isn’t being left out, albeit  just at a slower rate.

Unfortunately for brewers here, the beverage market is still controlled by a very small number of the larger companies in the alcoholic market, but times are changing. Thanks to support from local bars and beer enthusiasts, small breweries are building support networks to keep them producing high quality craft beers.

Craft beer

Some Background. — In 1994 the law around beer production changed for the first time in a long time. This lead to many smaller breweries opening up around the nation, however many were unable to be sustainable due to the unfamiliarity of craft beers. In addition, struggled to match them on the price point, which influenced a lot of consumers. Although now, many of the younger generation here and abroad don’t have the same ties with the larger companies that was once there, which is even influencing how those big companies think. Having said that, there are a few craft breweries that have been around since the beginning, therefore this encourages the newer ones to hold firm and have faith in the market.  

Baird Beer in Japan Arigato Food Tours

Hot Spots.

While you are here, there are some must taste local craft beers. Here are a few in no particular order.

  • Abashiri Beer Brewery out of Hokkido is producing some great favored beers in in the north of Japan.
  • Baird Brewing Company out of Shizuoka prefecture started selling at a local fish market.
  • Yo-Ho Brewery now gets some support from one of the larger breweries, however it was first established in 1996 in Nagano after the founder Mr Hoshino returned from the USA inspired and ready to make his mark.
  • Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki began making sake way back in 1823, then in 1996 started brewing beer. Its line Hitachino Nest is distributed throughout 15 countries world wide.
  • Okhotsk Beer Factory is another beer factory brewing in Hokkido. Hokkido is known in Japan for its high quality water, which of course used in their beers to produce an amazing brew.
  • Minoh out of Osaka is an award winning brewery that is truly experimenting with what is and isn’t possible with beer.

To help these breweries there are small bars that are focused on offering craft beers to the public. One place in Tokyo is, Tokyo- Hop-Scotch Craft beer and Whiskey bar in Iidabashi. Here they have an every changing beer menu from across Japan and abroad.

In Shibuya, Tokyo, you can find a bar called, Good Beer Faucet. This place has over forty craft beers on tap from all over the globe. This bar also rotates some of the craft beers, and that seems to be the way things are going.

Goodbeer Faucets, Shibuya
Goodbeer Faucets, Shibuya

With so many breweries opening up, many venues are running an open beer menu, therefore they can support many small breweries as possible, along with introducing beer enthusiasts to some of the latest tastes out there. This helps keep the venue fresh, the breweries in business and the consumers up to date.

Girl with craft beer
Girl with craft beer

Japanese craftsmen and women are well known for having an eye for detail, passion, and a taste for high quality ingredients, therefore their involvement suits the craft brewing scene. A scene that is only growing stronger week after week, with no sight of plateauing. This is a win win situation for consumers.

The range of craft beer both here and abroad offers a flavor combination to match any tastes. Even though craft beer isn’t as readily available on the shelves like it is in some countries, Arigato Japan offers fantastic food tours that will introduce you to some of the local bars and breweries within a memorable evening. With their help, you will get the locals view and knowledge of this maze of a metropolis that is Tokyo.

Pupuru Wifi banner

Category: Beverages, BLOG


Twitter @


Ichihomochi from #tsukiji love the juicy strawberries, chewy-gooey mochi (pounded rice) powdered sugar and sweet red bean paste. It’s a great flavor and texture combination! #mochi #ichigomochi ...

33 0

Aburi-sushi a technique where a kitchen torch is used for a quick “grill” on various types of sushi, especially with rather fatty fish, is a must try when visiting Japan. Sushi masters are artists combing technique and fresh seasonal ingredients so that every bite is perfect! #sushi #sushichef #shinjuku #foodtour ...

35 1

Looking for something fun to do this Memorial Day weekend? Why not take a virtual trip to Japan? You can learn how to make a Japanese inspired craft cocktail, or learn the secrets of brewing perfect green tea, or perhaps take a trip through to exciting neighborhoods with a local guide on zoom! Why not all three! Link to our online experiences in bio. Offered schedule not possible? Need a custom time? Send us an email and we can arrange for you! #memorialdayweekend #virtualtours #arigatojapan❤️ #traveltokyo ...

23 1

Harajuku is known for cute fashion. Guess what this trendy neighborhood in Tokyo also has some of the cutest food in the world! We have a super fun, family friendly, delicious tour all around this colorful and Kawaii (cute in Japanese) area! Have a dream trip planned to Japan after #Covid19? Be sure to add our Crazy Kawaii Food Tour to your trip plan! #plannowtravellater (thanks to our local guide @npezadilla for this photo of a happy guest!) #harajuku #foodtour #kawaiistyle ...

52 1

Senbei (or sembei) the humble rice cracker 🍘 is a beloved snack in Japan. There are probably thousands of styles and flavor combinations. Sweet salty savory! Be sure to try a few when you visit. Did you know that traditionally senbei in the Tokyo region are harder and crunchier than in the Kansai area including Kyoto and Osaka? This photo is from a 100 year old shop we visit on our “Old Town Tokyo Tour” #senbei #japanesesnacks ...

49 0

© 2020 by Arigato Japan Food Tours