Beer in Japan: An Ever-Changing Landscape

If you spend any time in Japan you will soon become aware of the fact that things are always changing. Well, at least with regards to products such as food and drinks.
Japanese people love seasonal foods and beverages. There are special types of snacks, both modern and traditional that you can only get your hands on a certain times of the year.
In the spring there is sakura (cherry blossom) themed foods and drinks and in the fall you find lots of sweet potato flavors on the go.
Beer is another one of those things that are always changing. Major brewers, as well as smaller ones, are constantly playing with flavors. New beers come out and very quickly disappear. Sometimes they simply repackage brews that have been around for some time in a fancy new label.
These new beers are always fun to try and often hit or miss.
During my winter holiday in Japan, I tried several types of beers I had never had before. I had only been away from Japan for 5 months but was surprised at all of the new types of beer. Since I was on holiday with little responsibility, I thought it was a good time to explore these new brews!
I was pleasantly surprised by this one! Pretty good. 
A cheaper happoshu (low-malt beer). Not much flavor. 
Not all craft beers are good in my opinion. This one is proof of that. 
A hoppy little macro. Not too bad!
This one isn’t a new one, but seasonal nontheless. 
I liked this one!
Not a seasonal one, but one of my all-time favorites in Japan! 
A dark brew. Not too bad. 

Here is another article I wrote about beer in Japan. Big Beer in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Suntory, and Sapporo

Another article: Sakura Beer in Japan

Just Japan Podcast episode with Beer Tengoku: Just Japan Podcast 141: Beer Tengoku – Craft Beer in Japan



The writer:

Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Beijing, China with his family. Kevin called Kobe, Japan home for 10 years. 

Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev

Instagram: @jlandkev





  1. I did find Japan’s change of products interesting…until something I really liked disappeared without warning.
    When I lived there, the beer did not change often and Happoshu did not exist. A few cheaper beers came on the market just as I was leaving, but nothing like it is today.


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