Japan’s Beer Gardens

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Wimbledon, World Cup, British Grand Prix…summer must finally be here. But in Japan they have another sign; the arrival of the rooftop beer ‘gardens’. The inverted commas reflect the fact that these so called gardens often consist of 90% concrete, 5% plastic tables, 4% all-you-drink beer and perhaps 1% greenery.


Despite the decidedly urban nature of these gardens, they certainly tick the box for a relaxing way to wind down after work and start you out on the road to not making it into work on time the next morning. Drinks choices are simple – beer. Food is a little more complex; generally a choice of grilled meat, edamame soy beans and perhaps a bowl of wasabi peanuts or the ever-popular kaki-pea (peanut and rice cracker combo). With food and drink in hand all that is left to do is to sit back, wipe the sweat from your hardworking (?) brow and enjoy the view – generally of other tall buildings and a few neon signs. But whatever you do, get there soon. No sooner do the beer gardens open up, they close down again, usually infuriatingly well before the end of summer, leaving you with no rooftop refreshment for another 11 months. Ah, the changing of the seasons

“Ah, sukkiri!”

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