Going to Japan


On this page we'll add some specific tips on good beer hunting when you're in Japan, but for general information on getting to Japan, getting around, and where to stay, we refer you to the Travel page of our Sussex Japan Society website.

Some of the links below lead you to pages in Japanese - don't be put off, you will often find the odd word of English to help you navigate to the right page.  A good tip is to hover over the obvious links and look at the status bar at the foot of the screen.  Page addresses appear in Western script and show you if you're on the right lines.  If you want to look at Japanese websites on a regular basis make sure you use Windows update to get the correct fonts for Internet Explorer, and also get the latest version of Acrobat Reader and accept its offer to download fonts for Japanese pages.

Moku Moku

The inspiration for many people starting international beerhunting has to be Michael Jackson, the original BeerHunter.  And so it was with us.  When he came to address our Sussex Japan Society back in October 1998 on the topic of Japanese Beers he signed one of his books for us, with the message "Try the Moku Moku".  It took us until April 2004 to obey the Master's instruction but we made it! 

From our favourite Japanese Inn in Nara we took a rural train service to Iga Ueno (town of the Ninjas!) and from there caught a bus service which took us on a journey into the depths of the countryside.  (Had we been in any other land, we would have worried about getting back from such a remote location, but being Japan, the return bus appeared right on time!)

The target of our journey was Moku Moku Farm - a kind of bucolic theme park.  The pigs can come to you to be fed as you sit at the outdoor bar, and do simple tricks in a circus show.  They obviously love their keeper and enjoy performing, and one of them also got into the Guinness Book of Records as achieving the highest recorded jump for a pig!  Visitors who feed and enjoy watching the pigs may be dismayed to find they also have a starring role in the farm restaurant!   But the restaurant is rather good, with DIY barbecue at your table and a splendid view over the surrounding countryside, and of course Moku Moku beer to accompany your meal.

The farm has its own brewery where Moku Moku beer is brewed  and you can get a glimpse of the brewery and try the beers there, as well as in the restaurant.  All in all, a very worthwhile day out.

Dogo Onsen

When you're on the island of Shikoku you are certain to visit the attractive castle town of Matsuyama, and it's quite likely that you might make a side trip to the spa town of Dogo Onsen.  It's now time for a decision - do you do the proper tourist thing and inspect the historic bath house?  Or do you cross the road to the pleasant bar opposite where you can taste the local Dogo Onsen beer and try some interesting local snacks?  For us there was no competition and our reward was to find a very friendly manager, who was pleased at our seeking out his local beer, and kindly gave us an incredibly useful book listing all the small breweries which have sprung up all over Japan in recent years.


Ebisu Garden Place is a very pleasant area developed by the makers of Sapporo and Ebisu beers, and is a good place to spend a day in Tokyo.  There is a beer museum with an excellent tasting area, and some good restaurants, especially the one in the aptly named Beer Station, where you can enjoy an Ebisu beer with your lunch. 


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