Formerly the factory site of Japan’s premier beer brewer Yebisu, Ebisu is a district in the Shibuya special ward. Unlike other towns or neighborhoods, Ebisu’s became famous when a community started to develop along the area of brewery factory. In fact, the name Ebisu was derived from famous Yebisu Beer.
Ebisu is a popular residential area commonly frequented by older crowds and expats, who wish to spend a meal or a drink or just explore the Yebisu Garden Place.
This laid-back area has a thriving dining and bar scene. Let’s explore the eats that Ebisu has to offer with the Ebisu food guide.
It is best to begin the Ebisu food exploration at the Yebisu Garden. Built at the former beer factory’s site, it is a host to the Museum Yebisu Beer, where one can have a taste of the iconic and authentic Japanese beer (and more) in the Beer Station for ¥500 for two, which includes two tastings.
After a historical (and beer filled) tour, relieve your hunger and continue your Ebisu exploration at the Ebisu Yokocho. Rising from the old Yamashita shopping center, this food alley has a retro feel to it with rows of small restaurants offering affordable food options. Some choices include deep fried kebabs (kushikatsu), yakiniku, Japanese pancakes (okonomiyaki) and Uomaru, an izakaya devoted to serving seafood. Most orders here are served in small portions but big in taste.
For those with sudden ramen craving, head on to Afuri, with broths seasoned and boiled to perfection using well water from Mount Afuri. While the ramen house offers shio (salt) and shoyu (soya) based ramen, it is best to sink your teeth to their bestseller variant, yuzu broth based ramen. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus traditionally used in Japan for health baths. Each order of this heart (and tummy) warming goodness comes with a slice of grilled pork barbecue, bamboo shoots, mizuna leaves and seaweeds.
Saiki, a 40-year-old izakaya that fits probably 8 to 9 people, serves small plate meals with appetizers ranging from sashimi, soup, and salad. Best to try the aji-furai (fried fish), sashimi plate, raw veggies with red miso dip, gyu miso (stew of elephant yam), tempura set which includes deep fried ginger root, and dashimakitamago. Also, to cap the delectable meal is Saiki’s frozen sake—sake which is frozen and served like shaved ice. A meal in Saiki could cost around ¥1,300.
Are you willing to take the innards challenge? Several izakayas in Ebisu is known for serving cow or chicken innards. Head on to Momotarou yakitori, wherein one can order a la carte or as skewer meal sets of anything that is chicken including edible chicken innards such as gizzard, heart, neck, entrails, and chicken skin. Meanwhile, the yakiniku Buchi is famed for offering beef offal seasoned with mix egg and sauce. Try the offal sashimi sampler at ¥750 for a truly beefy experience.
Serving from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., Buri is a famed tachinomiya (standing bar) in Ebisu, which houses almost 40 varieties of sake served semifrozen, like a slush, starting at ¥770. Buri also offers tapas and different yakitori snacks to complete the experience.
Beyond the fame of the brewer that once dominated in the area, Ebisu has already paved its way to being a favorite food and bar hub to be included in the must-visit places in Japan. Until our next foodventure!
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.