I visited Asahi Brewery yesterday for the first time. I don’t know much about beer so I wasn’t sure how interesting or accessible I would find the tour, but it was actually really good. What’s more, it’s very easy for anyone to visit, regardless of how much Japanese you may or may not speak.
What are Asahi Breweries?
Asahi is Japan’s largest beer-making company.
They also produce whiskey under the brand ‘Nikka’, as well as producing soft drinks. Asahi Beer is sold around the world, and chances are you’d probably recognise the packaging of Asahi Beer if you saw it!
Asahi Beer was launched in 1892, and the company changed its name about half a century later to Asahi Breweries Ltd.
Asahi was the first company in Japan to introduce the concept of canned beer to their consumers.
Asahi also launched the world’s first ‘dry’ beer, which is called Asahi Super Dry. (I’m sure that many of my British readers will recognise that name… Did you ever wonder where the phrase ‘Super Dry’ came from?!)
There are 8 Asahi Breweries in Japan, but Fukushima’s Asahi Brewery is the only Asahi Brewery in Tohoku situated next to an Asahi Beer Hall – making it well worth a visit before or after lunch next door!
One things I didn’t know about Asahi before attending this tour is that they’re pretty good with being environmentally friendly. Asahi’s staff uniforms are made using recycled material, and waste from the production cycle is sorted into 50 different recyclable categories before it is disposed of.
Asahi also works to develop and protect local forests and natural water sources, as well as constantly researching to develop production methods that lead to further CO2 emission cuts.
For example, the lid of the Asahi Beer cans use 9% less aluminium than your average can, due to a development in design. This design allows the company to reduce their carbon emissions by approximately 9,000 tons!
Anyway, back to the tour!
Foreigner-Friendly Brewery Tour
During the Asahi Brewery Tour, not only will you learn about the history of Asahi Breweries, but you’ll also learn lots about the process of making beer, with interactive displays where you can touch, smell and even have a nibble on malt and other integral ingredients to making beer.
The explanations of the beer-brewing process are really easy to understand. Asahi Brewery makes good use of diagrams, explanatory videos and English-language signs.
The most impressive thing about the Asahi Brewery tour is that when you arrive at the brewery, visitors are provided with a multi-language audio-guide, which is preset to either English, Chinese or Korean.
This audio guide also comes with a easy-to-understand explanation sheet.
This audio guide is actually a smartphone with an audio guide app downloaded onto it. As you are guided around the brewery, there will be signs on the walls signalling which audio track you should select on the screen of your guide.
Not only are the English audio tracks clear, with a good preset volume, but the translations are easy to understand. At parts of the tour when Japanese visitors would watch an explanatory video, foreign-language visitors can watch these videos on the audio-guide in their own language.
The tour really makes great use of all your senses, even if you don’t understand Japanese! There are also Japanese staff who can conduct tours in English (if you book a tour in advance! See below.)
There are only 3 of these audio guide smartphones available at this Asahi Brewery in Motomiya City. However, you can use your mobile data to download the app and audio guide data on the day onto your own smartphone. You can also download the app in advance too by clicking here.
The tour is 75 minutes in length if you include the 20 minutes or so that visitors have to do a free beer tasting after the tour.
Yes, you read that right, free beer tasting.
If you’re drinking beer, you can choose 2 drinks after your initial first drink of Asahi Super Dry. There are, of course, soft drink options for those who can’t or don’t drink.
So how much does it cost to visit the brewery, you ask? It’s free!
Definitely make sure to visit Asahi Brewery Factory if you like beer, eating at beer halls, and actually understanding what’s going on when you go to museums in Japan.
Asahi Brewery Fukushima Basic Information
9:00-15:00. Open all year (Except for New Years Holidays)
Booking a tour:
- Tours last around 75 minutes.
- You can book an English-guided tour by calling the brewery at (+81)243 34 1170. Please call between 9:00 and 17:00!
- Tours run between 9:30 and 15:00.
- Please make sure to arrive at the brewery ahead of time to make sure you don’t miss the start!
- The brewery and tour is fully accessible for wheelchair users!
Asahi Beer Hall also stands next to Asahi Brewery. The Beer Hall serves food from11:00-21:00 (last order at 20:30).
Getting to Asahi Brewery Fukushima
By Public Transport:
- Take the Tohoku Line from Fukushima Station or Koriyama Station to Gohyakugawa Station. From there, Asahi Brewery is a 1km walk. For more detailed guidance on reaching Koriyama Station from Tokyo, please see here.
- 1 km (2 min) drive away from Motomiya IC Exit on the Tohoku Exressway.
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