Ebisu, located within Shibuya-ku in Tokyo, is one of Tokyo’s most popular neighborhoods. The area got its name from one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japan. Ebisu is the god of fishery and luck, and his easily recognizable appearance is seen in the form of a statue when you exit the West Exit at Ebisu station. The area is relatively new, it began development in the late 19th century when Japan Beer Brewery Company began producing Yebisu beer there. When the production of Yebisu beer moved to Chiba in 1988 the area went under extensive construction, and in 1994 Yebisu Garden Place opened, a shopping and cultural center. The popularity of Yebisu Garden Place resulted in various cafes, restaurants and bars popping up in the area, making Ebisu one of the best places to go when you’re in the mood for something to drink or eat.
Yebisu Garden Place
Yebisu Garden Place has been described as a ‘city within a city’ due to the large size of the complex. Inside you’ll find restaurants, like the famous Michelin 3-star Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon, shops, offices, hotels and residential spaces. It also hosts the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, one of the first Photography Museums in Japan which did not solely focus on one photographer. The museum changes exhibitions frequently and besides showing a large collection of photographs, it also often features video games and anime. If you’re visiting Yebisu Garden Place in the winter, make sure to check out the annual winter illuminations which have been one of Tokyo’s most popular events for over 20 years.
Museum of Yebisu Beer
Although the brewery moved to Chiba over 30 years ago, Yebisu beer still holds significance in the Ebisu area. The brewery named both the region and station, and the long history of the brewery has helped shape this part of the city. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Ebisu, try some Yebisu beer and familiarize yourself with Japanese beer culture, we recommend you visit the Museum of Yebisu Beer. It is free to enter, but if you wish to get more in-depth knowledge there are also 40 minute tours where you’ll be guided around the museum and finish it off by enjoying a beer-tasting.
If you’re in the mood to check out the nightlife in Tokyo, don’t miss out on Ebisu Yokocho, a small alleyway where dozens of small eateries and bars cram together. Here you’ll find plenty of beer and sake, accompanied with Japanese izakaya staples like chicken skewers (yakitori), Japanese hot-pot (oden) and fried skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables (kushiage). Ebisu yokocho is the perfect place for anyone looking for a proper Japanese night out, and the high-concentration of restaurants and bars makes it perfect for bar-hopping or talking to a local or two. If you want to ensure a spot when you arrive, try coming around 5 pm when most places open. As the night goes by, you’ll notice visitors increasing as well, making it somewhat hard to find a seat at times.
For those who’d rather spend time in a more high-end setting, don’t miss out on Bar TRENCH, a local favorite thanks to their deliciously prepared cocktails. Bar TRENCH has made a name for itself outside and inside of Japan thanks to their dedication to serve tasty, unique cocktails. On their menu, you’ll find a mixture of house specials, seasonal drinks and old classics, making it the perfect stop for anyone who enjoys a well-made cocktail. Additionally, the menu includes historical facts about cocktails, making this delicious experience informative as well. If you want a truly customized drink, let the bartender know your taste and current mood, and they’ll create something unique for you to enjoy.
Whether you’re visiting Ebisu to enjoy some photography, beer or night-time sake, the lively atmosphere and modernity of the area makes it a must-visit on your next stay in Tokyo!