Japan Jun 03, 2016

Oktoberfest season opens in Japan in May – Events mark “500 Years of Bavarian beer purity law”

It doesn't always have to be autumn; after all, Japan celebrates Oktoberfests year-round. And the enthusiasm is unabated.

This was once again documented during the opening ceremonies of the popular Oktoberfest held at Hibiya Park on May 20. Real “Wiesn” feeling ranging from “Ein Prosit” (cheers) to the “Ententanz” (Chicken Dance) to “Smoke on the Water” was created by “Die Kirchdorfer” (the official Munich Oktoberfest band), which performs every year at the Munich Oktoberfest in the Hacker-Pschorr tent.

Oktoberfests such as the one at Hibiya Park are becoming increasingly popular in Japan. The number of Oktoberfests and venues is rising every year: 16 Oktoberfests took place in Tokyo alone in 2015; 59 Oktoberfests took place in all of Japan. From Okinawa to Hiroshima and Osaka and Sendai to Sapporo – there is an Oktoberfest in nearly every larger Japanese city.

And it's no surprise really: beer garden atmosphere including beer garden benches and tables and Bavarian specialities such as Weisswurst sausages, Leberkäse (beef and pork loaf) and Neuschwanstein scenery; and not to forget live music and, of course, plenty of beer provide a pleasant contrast to the backdrop of office towers. Along with the beers brewed by Munich's major breweries, a selection of local speciality beers such as Schneider Weisse, Erdinger, Ayinger, Weltenburger Klosterbier, Plank, Spalter, Koenig Ludwig or Bamberger Schlenkerla are also served. Selected beers from other German states are also available. This truly unique diversity is the trademark of “Oktoberfests Made in Japan”.

The Bavarian representative office in Tokyo is always a popular sponsor and partner of the opening ceremonies. But the “opening bell” is not (yet) marked by the traditional tapping of a beer keg, but rather features short speeches and an initial “Ein Prosit” round of beer.  The anniversary year of the Bavarian beer purity law of 1516 provides the perfect occasion for inspiring an even greater number of Japanese to enjoy Bavarian beer culture.

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