Yay summer is here, long hot nights and beer gardens!!!
Unlike England Japan doesn’t have a lot of garden space or outdoor eating / drinking space. Izakayas tend to be tucked away on upper or lower floors of buildings.
However in summer department stores and the like turn their roof space into an all you can eat / all you can drink extravaganza.
Actually there is no garden to the beer garden, but what it lacks in shrubbery it makes up for in beer!
I recently visited the beer garden on top of the Takashimaya department store in Kyoto.
It opened at 5:30pm, and by 5:20pm when we arrived there was already a small crowd and queue forming, even though it was a Monday.
It cost ¥3000 each (usually ¥3200 women and ¥3500 men) for all you can eat and drink until 10pm (last order 9:30pm). We got tickets to exchange for plates and a glass at the respective counters.
The food was average but plentiful, a selection of yakitori, meatballs, fried rice, yakisoba, mini hot dogs, fries, bamboo shoots, tofu, vegetables and dumplings. The salad bar was by far the best with pasta, potato salad, millions of cherry tomatoes and curried lotus root. We watched a couple of salarymen devour a huge plate of fried chicken, and I mean it was huge.
There was a small tv and some music being played, it wasn’t noisy or windy up on the rooftop. In fact it didn’t even feel like you were on a rooftop!
After the sun set it got much busier with people arriving for their reserved tables, and the lights turned on.
Even though we were really tired from a long day, 3 hours went by pretty quickly!
Beer gardens in Kyoto http://www.kyotoguide.com/ver2/thismonth/beer12.html
Beer gardens in Osaka http://osaka.beer-garden.info