In the heart of Tokyo, there’s a place known as “Ebisu.” Originally called “Shibuya-mura” or “Samoshibuya,” meaning below Shibuya, its name changed to Ebisu after the construction of the Ebisu Beer Station, a beer-exclusive freight station, and the subsequent creation of a station named Ebisu near Shibuya Station. This transformation resulted from the introduction of the Ebisu beer factory, showcasing an interesting case where a local name evolved due to a single beer facility.
“Ebisu Beer and the Legacy of Makoshi Kyohei”
Ebisu is a renowned Japanese beer brand and brewery associated with Makoshi Kyohei, known as the Beer King of Japan. He merged Sapporo Beer, Ebisu Beer, and Osaka Beer (Asahi) to form the Dai Nippon Beer Company. Thanks to these achievements, he earned the title of Beer King.
Currently, you can find a statue honoring him in Ebisu, specifically near the entrance to the Ebisu Beer Memorial Hall at Ebisu Garden Place.
“Ebisu Garden Place”
Ebisu Garden Place is particularly famous for its sophisticated atmosphere. Initially housing the Ebisu Beer Factory, this area has transformed into a modern, mixed-use commercial space. However, due to urbanization in the Shibuya area, the factory closed in 1988, relocating to Chiba Prefecture.
The remaining structure was repurposed into a complex commercial complex, including Sapporo Beer Headquarters, a shopping center, and residential facilities. This transformation resulted in what we now know as Ebisu Garden Place.
Ebisu Garden Place features the Ebisu Beer Memorial Hall, an admission-free beer museum. Unfortunately, the museum is closed on Mondays, and as fate would have it, my visit coincided with a Monday, leaving me unable to explore its exhibits.
“Mitsukoshi Department Store, Ebisu Garden Place Tower, French-Inspired Architecture”
Ebisu Garden Place boasts various buildings, showcasing a Western-style ambiance. To the east and west of Ebisu Square, you’ll find the Mitsukoshi Department Store and the Ebisu Garden Place Tower. Notably, the Ebisu Garden Place Tower’s 40th floor houses an observation deck. Additionally, to the south, there’s a French-inspired building housing a restaurant operated by one of the world’s top chefs, Joel Robuchon.
While the cost of a meal here is notably high, around ¥15,000 for lunch and over ¥36,000 for dinner (excluding a 12% service charge), the restaurant, managed by Joel Robuchon, is considered one of Tokyo’s finest.
Ebisu Garden Place was also a filming location for the popular drama “Hana Yori Dango” (Boys Over Flowers). Recalling this drama, you can understand why this location was chosen.
Although I couldn’t explore the Ebisu Beer Memorial Hall due to its closure, Ebisu Garden Place offered a unique atmosphere, making it a worthwhile stop for those traveling through Tokyo.
“Japan, Tokyo – Ebisu Garden Place”
- Ebisu Beer Memorial Hall Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Mondays)
- Ebisu Beer Memorial Hall Website: http://www.sapporobeer.jp/agegate/pc/index.html?reqUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sapporobeer.jp%2Fyebisu%2Fmuseum%2Findex.html