For those who enjoy beer, Oktoberfest is a celebration that you cannot miss. If you are not traveling to Germany any time soon, but if you are traveling to Japan, why don’t you visit Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse in October to attend one of the most celebrated beer festivals in Japan! In this article, I’ll also introduce you to similar events happening throughout the country in November as well!
Come to Yokohama Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest, the famous beer festival that takes its origins in Germany, has been growing in popularity internationally. It is also popular in Japan and is held in various cities across the country such as in Tokyo Odaiba, Tokyo Hibiya, Sendai, and Osaka. Of all the Oktoberfests in Japan, the one held annually in Yokohama is known to be one of the most exciting!
Even though it is called “Oktoberfest”, many of actual events do not happen in October, but throughout the year. However, the one held in Yokohama is actually held for two weeks in October at one of the city’s most popular buildings, the Red Brick Warehouse, located near the port of Yokohama. Because of its excellent location, it attracts many people, both domestic and foreign. They are all coming to enjoy those two weeks celebrating beer, some of them even come for a couple of days in a row!
Enjoy beer from Japan and Germany!
There are various types of beers that you can enjoy at Yokohama Oktoberfest. You can find beers produced in Yokohama, such as the “Yokohama Beer”, but there is also beer from the other parts of the world, of course, including Germany! For example, the “Weltenburger Kloster” here on the picture, which was introduced to the Yokohama Oktoberfest for the first time this year.
Whether you are willing to discover new brews, or that you are looking for your favorite beers, you will certainly find your happiness here. Since it is a major beer festival, many of the companies involved in the Oktoberfest bring the best beers you can possibly drink in Japan, and often includes “feature” beers designed for the Oktoberfest, only available in Yokohama!
A few tips before going to the Oktoberfest!
Something you should know about Oktoberfest is that the entrance fee is only 300 JPY (2.5 USD). Once you pay the entrance fee, you get a wristband, which allows you to access the event all day long. You can leave the event if you like and come back afterwards, as long as you keep the wristband on. Wearing it also unlocks special discounts at some of the stores in Red Brick Warehouse, so you definitely want to keep it on you at all time.
On top of the entrance fee, you pay your own drink and food. Let me tell you about the deposit system. When you get a drink, you also pay a deposit for your beer stein. The deposit differs by the size of the stein, but generally it is 1,000 JPY (8 USD). You want to make sure not to break the stein while you are drinking, singing, and dancing, because you won’t get your deposit back.
In addition, if you are not much of a drinker, you do not need to worry! There are plenty of food options as well, so even without drinking, you can still enjoy the festival by eating outdoors listening to fun music and dancing with your friends.
Music, dance, and more!
Yokohama Oktoberfest is held from 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm on weekdays and 11:00 am to 9:30 pm on weekends, with the last orders of beers at 9:00 pm. It is indeed an all-day event, and for those who enjoy beer, you can start drinking in the middle of the day! What makes things even more exciting is the live music played by a cool band from Germany 4 or 5 times a day in a large tent, where everyone is dancing and having fun.
If you have already traveled to Japan, you might have this image of the serious Japanese workers sitting in the metro and quietly commuting to work, but at Yokohama Oktoberfest, everyone is smiling and friendly! It is so much fun to see women and men of all ages grabbing each other’s shoulders to dance. The environment is very cheerful and friendly so you will easily make friends with whoever is sitting next to you. As a matter of fact, you might find your future wife or husband! This year there was a man who proposed to a woman whom he met at the 2014 Yokohama Oktoberfest! You never know who you will meet at this type of fun events.
Enjoy beer under the blue sky!
During those 2 weeks of Oktoberfest, you might be lucky enough to attend the event on a warm sunny autumn day. If you attend the event on such a lucky day, you can enjoy beer outside under the blue sky. As well as the seating found in the large tent in the middle of Oktoberfest, there is ample seating outside on the grass and on the wooden benches.
The seats are not reserved, so seat wherever you please. Although, there is this “women only” section, which, as the name indicates, only welcomes women visitors to sit.
The weather is changing and difficult to predict in this time of year, so I recommend you bring an extra layer of clothes just in case it gets cold. You might think that you will stay there only for a couple of hours, but from my experience, you will have so much fun that chances are you’ll stay until after sunset, when it starts getting colder.
Enjoy beer and good company at Yokohama Oktoberfest!
If you like beer and live performances and happen to visit Japan in the first two weeks of October, there is no reason not to attend the Yokohama Oktoberfest! Since it is located in an iconic part of town, I recommend that you visit the event at lunch to have a quick beer and some German sausages, and walk around the Red Brick Warehouse and maybe come back for more beer during the evening.
If you cannot wait till next year, don’t worry! Oktoberfest is currently happening in Umeda Osaka till November 3rd! Unlike what you’d imagine from the name of the festival, Oktoberfest in Japan start as early as April in some parts of the country, and it is organized in many different locations throughout Japan. Japanese people love beer so much that, in a way, Oktoberfest is happening all year round here!
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