When rainy season finally ends and the nights are hot and steamy, there is nothing better to do on a summer’s night than to sit outside. If you combine this with the great company of your friends, good food and drinks aplenty, you are guaranteed to make some wonderful summer memories.
Luckily, Hiroshima has all of the above in one convenient location. Where am I talking about? Beer gardens!
Yes, beer gardens are perhaps one of the key symbols of summer and can be found in every major city in Japan. Hiroshima is no exception, with each one advertising their beer of choice and food and drink deals to ensure you have a great night out.
Most of them are located downtown or around Hiroshima Station and have rooftop locations for a fantastic view over the city. Some are more upmarket than others, but prices are fairly similar no matter what. It’s standard to have plastic chairs and tables so don’t expect anything too fancy. Remember, it’s a beer garden!
Unfortunately, no matter where you go, the price for women is always cheaper than men. Ladies, that’s great news for you, but a little unfair for all the men out there. School-age children are about half the price of adults and under elementary age kids are free.
Hotel Granvia right in front of Hiroshima Station on the north side is very popular and has a fantastic view over the city. The all-you-can-eat and drink is buffet style and features predominately Italian and other Mediterranean-style food. Open from 5.30pm-10pm, it can get mighty busy and reservations are recommended. Men are 3600 yen and women 3400 with Sapporo and Ebisu the two beers on tap.
Also located near Hiroshima Station is the Fukuya Ekimae Panorama Beer Garden. It’s not as fancy as Hotel Granvia and the food definitely has more emphasis on the easy-to-cook-and-serve (I’m talking the fried variety here), but the view is a definite winner and it’s more open.
If it does rain, there’s also a lot more seating available (500 in fact) than Hotel Granvia where my friends and I spent the night huddled into a very cramped and hot space with the rest of the people sheltering from the rain. Asahi is the beer on tap and prices are much cheaper with men at 3000 yen and 2700 for women. Ladies, if you go on a Tuesday it’s only 2300 yen and for everyone on a Carp game day you can get 200 yen off. Best of all, it’s open from 5pm-10pm giving you that whole extra half hour to drink… I mean, eat.
Fukuya Hacchobori located in downtown Hiroshima also serves Asahi beer and prices and hours are the same as the Fukuya at Hiroshima Station. If ‘Viking’ style buffet courses aren’t your thing, why not pay a little extra (3300 yen for men and 3000 yen for women) and enjoy a BBQ course instead. Oh, and women also get a 200 yen discount on both Monday AND Tuesday each week. The rooftop is large and open and the sunset from the top here is worth the money alone.
The nearby Mitsukoshi Beer Garden is also extremely popular due to its Ebisu and Sapporo Beer on tap and the combination of both Mediterranean food and Japanese teppan dishes. Men are 3100 yen and women 2900 and opening hours are between 5.30pm-10pm.
Last of all, if you’re looking for something a little different, why not head to the SOGO Beer Garden where every night they have 100 Kirin Frozen drafts on offer. If you miss out on them, don’t worry, as there’s still plenty of Kirin to down. Men are 3000 yen and women 2800, but if you arrive before 6pm during the week, women only pay 2500.
This list is by no means exclusive; there are a number more, but these are the most popular ones. Check out one or all of them and make up your own mind which is your favourite.
Keep c(k)ool and kampai!