Long a favorite summertime event, Japanese beer gardens are held (usually) on the roofs of big hotels or department stores offering nice night views of the city. They are nomi tabe hodae (all you can eat and drink) and usually run about 2500¥-3500¥, well worth the price. Of course the quality and variety of food and drinks vary, as well as location and general mood of the place.
Both the lady and I have been beer garden starved since moving to Matsuyama, and when we had a relatively slow night we decided we better get one in before summer is over and it is too late to gorge ourselves on fried food and black beer. Luckily Matsuyama has tons of these beer gardens (well about 10) so we did our research and then choose one purely based on price; 2500¥ for females. It’s located on top of Takashimaya department store right next to Matsuyama-shi train station. Also on the roof of Takashimaya is a huge ferries wheel which starts on the 10th floor (which are just everywhere in Japan for some reason), which makes for nice scenery.
We ended up up going with one of our guests, a German girl who is doing a semester abroad and is hitchhiking her way across Japan.
The food was actually pretty good (because it was pretty cheap, we were skeptical about the quality) featuring a variety of fried food, some regional specialties and tons of salad stuff. But of course, the main attraction was the alcohol-which was damn good. Both Asahi super dry and Asahi black beer-which I religiously combine to make half-and-halves. They also had a pour your own drink bar with a pretty good selection. I managed to polish off 6 pints and left there very very satisfied!
Oh, almost forgot the foreigner card thingy. So, in this part of the world being a non-native has it’s advantages and disadvantages. You get stared at, people praise you for your chopstick skills incessantly and people don’t really wanna sit next to you on the train (which actually isn’t so bad I guess). The upside is people are always giving you discounts and if you make mistakes or are rude for any reason-they attribute it to the fact that you are a foreigner and don’t really know any better. On arriving to the beer garden, which costs 2500¥ for the ladies and 3150¥ for the men, we asked for 2 female tickets and I also asked for a female ticket with bad girly voice. She sort of gave us an awkward chuckle and asked, so…3 female tickets…oh yeah, the foreigner card was successfully pulled!