This week we visit the islands of Japan, the land of the rising Sun. Japan has given us Sake, Karaoke, Pokémon, Sushi, Tsunami, Bullet Trains, Datsun’s and Kamikaze Pilots plus lots, lots more; your house is full of items from Japan, just like everybody else’s.
126 Million Japanese live on islands, of which there are 6582, give or take a few.
The Top Ten raters in Japan are:
The Top Ten raters of Japanese ‘stuff’ are:
@KyotoLefty has been to the GBBF and is known by a few on here I believe.
130 rates would get you onto Japan’s leader board and the country has been split into 47 Regions for people to try and find a drink from.
443 Breweries, 57 closed; no Meaderies, 28 Cideries and 631 Sake Producers!
OK, what are you waiting for?
«For God´s sake» A Japanese saying?
Japan. I spent 4-5 days in Tokyo in 2013, absolutely loved it. Great food, reliable public transport, a very interesting city. Especially loved the Elvis’es performing in the park one Sunday.
From a beer perspective, a measly 12 rates from seven breweries from five regions.
I’d love to go back in the future.
Not a lot to report here. I’ve never been to Japan. It does sound a very interesting country, but if I can ever get my wife to overcome her terror of flying there are places much higher on my bucket list, so I sadly suspect that I’ll never make it there.
I’ve had 5 beers and one sake so far, representing 3 Japanese regions between them. Here they are:
Oops, don’t know what hapened with that last beer name
I was quite intrigued by the one sake I had and would be very interested to try some of the other sake styles (and get more regions as a result, obviously!). However, having looked at the prices of sake in the UK, I’ll have to hold off on this as I don’t fancy remortgaging my house at the moment…
Japan is arguably the best country in the world. I’ve visited 8 times so far. My wife is Japanese and we usually go over every couple of years or so. The food is fantastic and I really mean that, you can go in any restaurant and the meals will all be delicious, that certainly doesn’t apply to the UK or USA. The service is impeccable everywhere and Japanese people are a delight. The railways are simply amazing, everything runs on time and trains are super clean. The convenience stores are open 24/7 and are one of my favourite things over there, you can get almost everything. The country is also incredibly safe. I also love onsens and visit as many as possible each time.
I don’t really want to mention negative things about Japan but everywhere is small, hotels, buildings etc… I would certainly not want to work there, people are complete slaves to their jobs. Summer temperatures in Japan are horrific.
As for beer, I’ve rated 60 Japanese beers, my favourite brewery is probably Kiuchi. Hitachino Nest XH is my go to beer over there, I’ve been to the old and new Kiuchi brewery many times, it is 20 minutes from my wifes hometown.
I’m not a huge fan of Japanese beer if I’m honest and on recent trips I have been drinking more Shochu than beer. Shochu is distilled from rice, barley, sweet potatoes, buckwheat and brown sugar.
I would certainly recommend a trip to Japan, you will love the place.
Japan is my 19th most rated country with 326 beers/sakés and a very high average of 3.10.
I have visited twice, one short trip to Tokyo for work (did manage to pop in to Popeye though, despite Japanese working hours…), and once as a tourist traveliing around by rail and doing the Ratebeer Japan Summer Gathering in 2009. Needless to say that was a total blast.
There are tons of well made beers in Japan, so plenty of high scores given by me:
Still missing 16 regions
Some of my highest rated breweries anywhere are from Japan:
|Miyoshi Becken Beer
|Fujizakura Heights Beer
|Tamamura-Honten (Shiga Kogen Beer)
|Minamishinshu Beer Company
|Kiuchi Brewery (Hitachino)
|Echigo Beer Company
|Baird Brewing Co.
Have 80 ratings from Japan, which are mainly sakes, my highest rated from Japan on 3.8 are 2 sakes Akashi-tai Shiraume Ginjo Umeshu Sake and Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo Sake
Have only been there on stopovers flying back to Australia, only managed to get out of the airport once after being put up in a hotel between flights on the outskirts of Osaka on New Years Eve.
In terms of Ciders there are 28 active cideries, with Tamura Farm having then most entries on 6. I’ve only had the 1 cider from Japan, a macro one Kirin Hard Cidre Dry Apple Brew which rated pretty low. The interest in cider in Japan has been going up and there’s a good web site https://www.inciderjapan.com/ from the main importer/retailer, hopefully may get to try more Japan ciders at some point.
The top 5 raters of Japan ciders and cideries are:
Never been to Japan, have a friend who is married to a Japanese young lady, they live in Singapore but had a party at his parents farm this afternoon, not seen them since 2019 until today. I know people who love Japan and others that can’t manage the crowds and lack of ‘space’ in the cities. I would like to see for myself.
46 Rates from 18 of the regions, some of which might be Sake rather than Beer rates. Trying to enjoy Sake, but I struggle to be honest and with the price so high normally I don’t push buying them unless they are in small bottles and ‘on offer’!
No plans to go, but you never know, one day maybe.
PS. Southern California has been a fertile hunting ground for me in regards to Japanese rates, both Beer and Sake.
Woohoo after last few countries having terrible stats finally a place I excel. Japan is a place I really want to visit and possibly if I could go anywhere what’s I’d choose. Japanese food is my 2nd favorite behind Italian, at my apartment in New York I could walk to a lot of Japanese spots all that specialized in different types of cuisine so could eat Japanese several times a week without feeling like your repeating yourself. Anyways it’s my 3rd most rated country with 191 rates, most being sake but a few brews in there. I’ve had more sake than that but some American sake is there you can see I’m 4th highest rater of sake on site.
I’ve had 43/47 regions. The one left are tough since not major sake producers since their climate better for shochu than sake.
Another wrinkle is I’ve tried sake from many different brewers
Not bad for an American whose never been to Asia.
Also I have at least 10 rates of every style of sake which is very hard and expensive to do. Only @KyotoLefty and I have achieved that.
Every year end of September in San Francisco True Sake through a huge sake tasting event called Sake Day where you can meet brewers and distributors etc. like a beer festival. Some day I will attend been on my to do list a long time.
More than 550 breweries here in Japan now. A few of these are good, though many are pretty amateurish. I’ve pretty much stopped tracking down the new ones, since I’m tired of drinking mediocre beer, and now just wait until I hear something is good. Festivals are finally getting started up again, and there are a couple coming up that will be outside so should be able to try some new stuff there.
The country is going to be a madhouse for incoming tourism once it opens up completely. Kyoto in particular is heavily indepted, as the city spent tons of money counting on taxes from tourist income, and it went to near zero for two years. All the new and empty hotels will be waiting for you with open arms if you wish to visit. The craft beer industry is struggling, like everywhere, but something like 125 new breweries opened since Covid began. Less than 10 closed. I suppose lots survived on various government subsidies.
Me, I can’t wait to travel abroad. 2.5 years stuck here has got be thoroughly sick of Japan!
Another poor showing for me, a mere 22 beers, around half were on my one visit and the rest mostly in UK. Not had anything outstanding.
My visit to japan is one of my more tenuous country ticks, being little more than a plane transfer (i dont count a country if i don’t leave the airport) - we went to Korea one xmas, and the cheapest (well, least extortionate) flights were all back via Tokyo, landing 11pm at one airport and leaving 11am from the other (both are miles from the city, on opposite sides). I managed to force an earlier connection from Seoul landing c1600 so we’d have the evening in Tokyo. it was new year’s eve, we ended up in an ‘English’ pub (normally I’d avoid like the plague!) which at least had a couple of craft beers and decent japanese whiskies, along with traditional english food like, erm, deep fried quail eggs.
A proper trip is on the to-do list, but may be a while
This international tour is proving that I hardly travel! I got as far as China but not Japan. And the better of the two beers I have tasted was certainly bought here:
Hitachino Nest White Ale bought in Birmingham solely because it was Japanese.
My second is very odd Al Arz - Le Cedre which is now listed as Japanese but I drank in Italy under the assumption that it would give me a Lebanese tick! @BlackHaddock seems to have had the same belief.
Given the American influence in Japan, I am not surprised that the craft scene is healthy and that the discerning tourist can find some good stuff. Friends who have visited have been bewildered by the Japanese obsession with wrapping products up, even fruit. But if it applies to beer, then a shipment might arrive safely.
I have 27 ratings from Japan. Top 5:
Japan’s one of those countries I almost visited, in that a work trip was on the cards, but it never happened unfortunately. I’ve worked for / toured with a couple of Japanese bands around Europe which was fun. Incredibly polite and respectful guys and girls until the beer arrived and they completely lost their senses within a short space of time.
A good source of Japanese beer - and interesting cider - has been the National Brewery Centre in Burton on Trent. I still have close to 30 bottles in my stash. Son of the Smith cidery was a great find from there (had to add to the site) and the two ciders I’ve tried so far have been excellent, including my highest rated Japanese entry which was an impeccable barrel-aged cider. Still have a couple more from them to try.
Beer wise, from the few I’ve tried there seems a lot of Belgian-influenced styles doing the rounds, in addition to the IPAs and lagers, but encouragingly I’ve noticed a few here and there using Japanese fruit or some other indigenous ingredient or barrel-aging influence, even if it’s not that apparent to taste.
Never been a big fan of sake, just hard to see the appeal of something so harsh and strong, let alone know what to say in a rating.
It’s just 3 Japanese rates for me but covering 3 regions - and one of those rates was a sake, my one and only, wasn’t really sure what to make of it nor if it will remain my one and only for ever! I would love to go to Japan, have wanted to ride the bullet train since I was a wee boy and every time I see pictures of Tokyo I’m tempted to make plans - but also nervous about how I’d cope with the massive culture shock and language barrier. Also would have to persuade the wife to go, and it’s certainly not top of her list!
forgot to mention sake. Didn’t try any while I was there, sadly, but have never liked it when I’ve tried it elsewhere. I haven’t recorded them as I don’t regard them as beers, though they’re much more legitimate for a site such as this than cider or mead (much as I like mead) in that they are at least grain based. Couldn’t pinpoint what I didn’t like about them or I’m sure someone could point me at some that I would. Not that I need to get into another beverage, already got huge stocks of beer, whisky, rum, port, etc…
Just the 10. Plus one sake that turned out to be unratable.
20 rates for me, ironically placing Japan outside my top 20 countries though (23rd if I can count properly). That’s from 18 beers and 2 crap supermarket sake, covering a total of 6 prefectures, with Ibariki prefecture winning out due to my 12 Hitachino rates there. Loved their espresso stout and XH Belgian ale in particular.
Would love to visit the country one day as I’m rather fond of it.
Japan is another country on my wish & one we’ve talked about visiting pre Covid, may need a year or two for things to settle down.
All of 7 beers from 3 beers & 2 regions
Hitachino Nest White Ale 4 3.38 1/3/2021
Hitachino Nest DAiDAi Ale IPA 3.5 3.29 10/28/2021
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale 3.4 3.19 2/28/2021
Asahi Black (Kuronama) 3.4 3.03 3/14/2021