TOKYO — Beer drinkers and people who just want to see and experience one of the most spectacular attractions in any country should not miss the World Beer Museum, located on the seventh floor of the Tokyo Salamachi commercial building, attached to Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward.
The World Beer Museum is far more than just a museum of world beers. It is also one of Japan’s most spectacular beer pubs — actually it is several pubs in one, including a German pub, a Belgian pub and a UK pub.
Operated by World Liquor Importers, these pubs sell more than 500 varieties of beer from around the world along with a wide variety of ethnic foods from Germany, Belgium and elsewhere. An attached store sells some 40 varieties of limited-edition beers, including a Skytree label.
The décor and overall atmosphere of the “beer museum” is worth a visit, even if you don’t drink beer. But not trying at least one of the famous German varieties would be a great mistake. Employees of the pubs are dressed and trained to add to the ambiance of this extraordinary place.
And if you have not yet experienced Tokyo’s one-of-a-kind Skytree you can have two extraordinary experiences on the same outing. Skytree is a combination broadcasting, restaurant and observation tower that opened in 2012. At 2,080 feet it is the tallest tower in the world, and has architectural features and visitor attractions that are also literally out of this world.
Tokyo Skytree was constructed by Tobu Railway Company and six broadcasters headed by NHK, Japan’s premiere broadcasting company, replacing Tokyo Tower as the most iconic image in the city.
The Skytree has a series of decks at increasingly higher altitudes, the highest one at 450 meters, with fifteen feet high glass walls that provide a 360 degree view of Tokyo and the surrounding areas — including Japan’s most famous view icon, the peak of Mt. Fuji some 70 miles away. Access to this view deck is by a glass tube.
Each of the view decks features distinctive attractions that offer one-of-a-kind experiences. In a number of areas the novel use of glass gives the impression that you are walking on air.
For those who may be afraid of heights, the Skytree is based on the most advanced and sophisticated “seismic proofing” in the world, with “dampers” designed to absorb fifty percent of any earthquake.
In fact, Japan was apparently the first country in the world to develop anti-earthquake technology…with buildings constructed as far back as the Nara era (710-784), when Nara was the capital of Japan, that have withstood hundreds of severe quakes. One of these buildings, the huge Todai-ji Temple built in 743, houses the world’s largest gilded bronze image of Buddha...which stands as high as a 5-story building.
Oshiage Station, the “official station” for Skytree, adjoins the complex on the west side. It is accessible from several major station hubs in Tokyo, including Tokyo Central Station. At Tokyo Station, take the JR Sobu Rapid Line and transfer at Kinshicho to the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Subway Line. Total time: 16 minutes.
For more about the Skytree go to www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en, the official website. It includes additional ticket information and a guide to the view decks.
Editor's note: Boyé Lafayette De Mente (1928-2017) first came to Japan in 1949 as a member of the occupation forces. He held a degree in economics and Japanese from Tokyo's Sophia University, and a BFT from the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona.
He was best known as the author of a highly successful series of books on social and business customs in Japan, China, Korea and Mexico. As a journalist with the Japan Times, and later on as editor of 'The Importer Magazine,' he witnessed at close hand the rapid growth of Asia's 'tiger' economies. His guidelines to westerners wishing to do business in the new post-war Japan were widely recognized as ground-breaking.
I am indebted to Mr. De Mente for sending the above article to republish here in Japan Perspectives.