Whenever I’m in Japan (or anywhere for that matter) I try to drink craft brews when I get the opportunity. Here’s one of my consistent favorites, Ginga Kougen Beer from Iwate Prefecture.
The deep blue bottle stands out. The beer is tasty and refreshing. You can find it outside of Iwate frequently. I recently found it in Osaka. Quality stuff. Highly recommended. Run, do not walk, to a big super market in Japan and grab it.
Ginga Kougen Beer has an English website where you can read up on some of the history. There, you’ll see that this beer was established in 1996, which was also the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kenji Miyazawa, a famous Japanese author. One of Kenji Miyazawa’s most famous works is called 銀河鉄道の夜 (Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru, Night on the Galactic Railroad), which is where this beer takes part of its name. According to the Ginga Kougen Beer official website, the actual name of the beer means means Galaxy (ginga) and Plateau (kougen). Galaxy indicates “dream and roman” (I think they mean romance) and plateau indicates “famous natural water.”
It’s not often that one gets the chance to visit Iwate if you do not live or work there. Iwate is far from Tokyo, and isn’t on the way to much. I have been lucky enough to visit a few times and always enjoyed myself. The most famous cultural site must be Hiraizumi and Chusonji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The capital, Morioka, has famous noodle dishes such as wanko soba, jajamen, and morioka ramen (a cold noodle dish). If you find yourself in northern Japan, please try to fit in a visit to Iwate! Might be fun!
What’s your favorite Japanese Craft beer? Let me know in the comments!