America’s identity is growing around the craft brewery industry. 4 years ago in the Virginia Peninsula there were less than 10 small breweries. Now, there are over 50! And Virginia is not alone in this monstrous growth. Almost every month a new craft brewery opens, following Starbuck’s lead where there are two on every corner! So natural first instinct when visiting a new country is to visit their version of Budweiser! We ended up going to Suntory in the morning of our last day and damn… what a great way to end the trip.

Pricing and Reservations

Front of Suntory!

Admission is free and you have to book in advance either by phone or by internet. Note

for non-native speakers. Japanese is the only language they take reservations in – so if you

don’t speak the language, you’ll need a native speaker to do it for you. Alternatively, wehad success using Google Chrome’s translation feature to do it on their website: http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/musashino/

My gut feeling tells me if you show up without a reservation, you could get regardless, but I wouldn’t risk it unless you’re close by. We had an early morning reservation, showed up late, and with little hassle they plopped us in on the following tour.

Getting There

Use Google Maps and Hyperdia to navigate your way over there. It’s out of the way from Central Tokyo and will take you an hour or so by train. We ended up dumped off in some small village and had to walk our way towards the brewery. But it was a quiet little town and only added you our experience. That said, you can take a JR to the station closest to the brewery, if you have the JR Pass – take advantage of this.

Suntory vs Yebisu

Free snacks and beer!

While on our trip we visited Suntory and the Museum of Yebisu Beer in Shibuya. Yebisu

was OK, and the museum with their old marketing materials and history time line was a

nice visit. But, if your time is limited or brewery hopping isn’t your passion, go to Suntory! Objectively, it’s a nicer, more memorable experience.

What makes Suntory special?

The beers of Suntory
Oh yeah…

The whole experience is… cool. It’s clean and state-of-the-art brewery sits in a massive campus. Tours are in Japanese, but you’ll get an electronic English Audio guide to take along with you (looks like a cordless phone). It’s a system that works well and enabled you to learn neat things. The tour is your typical brewery show casing their product birth from grain to can. Not without boasting how awesome their beer is in comparison, but despite the generic gimmicks there is something oddly nice about the environment. The brewery is huge, clean, and impressive. Their product even more so – and the icing on the cake is you get to drink their lineup of beers after the tour. Not sample, not a tasting, a whole damn glass of their beer. In a 15 minute period you’re allowed unlimited full glasses of all their beer including their flagship product. They even teach you their method of proper pouring. It’s awesome. You walk away feeling that this company is proud of their product with a genuine desire for you to enjoy it. A nice little buzz and we’re on our way back to Tokyo.

Suntory Facts

  • Suntory i the only brewery in Japan that uses a 100% natural water source.
  • They use a special grain called Diamond Grains that come from the Czech Republic.
  • I’ve not seen their unique hopping and brewing method done before in other Macro breweries.
  • They have a micro brewery in the macro brewery where they experiment with different beer recipes. 10 years to perfect their current beers.
  • It was great thorough tour! And with a tasting was beyond a sampling! They have you full glasses of their product.

Tips

Book online a couple days ahead using Google Chrome’s translate feature, or have a native speaker call for you. Suntory reservations are only in Japanese. http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/musashino/

 

Pricing: Free
Address: 3 Chome Yazakicho, Fuchu, Tokyo
Access: Bubaigawara Station
Web: http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/musashino/
 Link in Japanese
Phone: 042-360-9591
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Saturday, Sunday, and Japanese public holidays 10:00 am-11:30 am

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