Translated by Lester Somera
Tokyo's Ebisu Area - 10 Recommended Spots For The Laid-Back Traveler
Written by Mami Wakamatsu
Ebisu, located just south of Shibuya in Tokyo, is known for its chill vibe and its plethora of cool places to eat and drink. Here are some spots to visit if you're traveling at a slower pace.
What Kind of Place is Ebisu?
The Yebisu Beer Factory, the forerunner to the Sapporo Beer Brewing Company, was located in Ebisu, Tokyo. The JR Ebisu Station was originally a freight-only railway station used to transport beer. The area’s name and the name of the station are drawn from this association.
The Ebisu statue in front of the station
Ebisu is also the name of the god related to prosperity in business. Known as Ebisu-sama, he is one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Ebisu-sama is even illustrated on the packaging for Ebisu beer. While Ebisu is next to the bustling Shibuya Station, it has a more relaxed vibe than Shibuya, with plenty of cool places to eat and drink. Japanese people have a strong association with Ebisu as a place to enjoy excellent food. In addition to the JR Line, it is also serviced by the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
There are also museums, art museums and shopping spots in the area. Rather than being a place to walk around and do a lot of shopping, many people see it as a place to relax while enjoying a meal and some art, so stop by after you’ve gone sightseeing in Shibuya. Let’s take a look at some recommended spots to visit in Ebisu.
1. Enjoy Art and Food at Ebisu Garden Place
Located five minutes from Ebisu Station, Yebisu Garden Place, the symbol of the area, is a commercial complex built on the former site of the Yebisu Beer Factory. It is home to restaurants, a movie theater, an art museum, the Museum of Yebisu Beer and many places to go shopping, among others.
The Beer Station Yebisu is a restaurant with seven kinds of Yebisu beer to sample, so drop by if you want to taste the beer that Yebisu created. The building has a free observatory on the 38th floor, where you can get an unbroken view of the city of Tokyo. In the winter, the complex is fully lit up, and it is also popular as a date spot.
2. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum - Enjoy Three Exhibits at the Same Time!
There is also an art installation inside Yebisu Garden Place. The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum was the first art museum in Japan for photography and videography, and it displays a broad range of pieces, regardless of country or era, ranging from artistic photos to news photographs.
The exhibition floors are B1F, 2F and 3F. Each exhibition will have its own unique displays when open, and you can buy a ticket for all three, so you can experience something completely different on each floor. It also has a cafe and museum shop.
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Address: Tokyo, Meguro, Mita 1-13-3 Yebisu Garden PlaceGoogle Maps
Access: Seven minutes on foot from the east exit of JR Ebisu Station, 10 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
Homepage: TOP Museum
3. Learn about Japanese Beer at the Museum of Yebisu Beer
Located inside Yebisu Garden Place, this free museum celebrates the century-old history of Yebisu Beer. Through exhibits that feature photos, documents and promotional materials that were really used, you can learn about the path Yebisu Beer has taken from its creation up to the present.
The gallery also has English explanations. In addition, you can also try various Yebisu beer varieties in the tasting salon for 400 yen a cup. You should definitely stop by if you’re interested in Japanese beer.
4. Enjoy Japanese Bar Culture to the Fullest in Ebisu Yokocho
Photos courtesy of: Hamakura Style
Ebisu Yokocho, three minutes away from the east exit of JR Ebisu Station, is where you’ll find plenty of Japanese izakaya establishments. Formerly the site of Yamashita Shopping Center, a thriving public market, Ebisu Yokocho brought 20 izakayas together and opened in 2011 to liven up the area. Yakitori, oden, kushiage, teppanyaki and other staples are all available, as well as restaurants specializing in meat sushi and mushroom-based dishes,].
There are even snack bars where you can enjoy karaoke, and plenty of restaurants from other genres. Ebisu Yokocho is a place where you can enjoy Japanese cuisine and drinking culture to your heart’s content.
While there are other places like Nonbei Yokocho in Shibuya and Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku where you can go drinking, Ebisu Yokocho is notable for being one open structure, making it easy to use and easy to hop from place to place.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisu 1-7-4 Google Maps
Access: Two minutes from the east exit of JR Ebisu Station, two minutes from Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
Homepage: Ebisu Yokocho
5. Try Refreshing Yuzu-Scented Ramen at Afuri
Ramen comes in many flavors, like soy sauce, miso, tonkotsu and more. Afuri, which has 11 branches in Japan, serves up a different kind of ramen from the many strongly flavored varieties that use pork or chicken broth.
Afuri has citrus yuzu ramen, vegan ramen and more. The yuzu ramen has salt and soy sauce flavors, and both are masterpieces where you can enjoy the refreshing aroma of yuzu and delicate broth.
6. Compare Specially Baked Goods at Ore no Bakery and Cafe
At the Ore no Bakery and Cafe in Yebisu Garden Place, you can enjoy carefully-prepared bread and sandwiches. The cafe has three kinds of bread: the regular variety made with Hokkaido wheat, a semi-hard variety made with specially selected wheat, and a variety with mascarpone cheese and honey kneaded into the dough.
We recommend the tasting set, which contains all three varieties and comes with butter, honey, and olive oil, as well as the tamagoyaki sandwich. There are also terrace seats, making for a comfortable atmosphere.
Ore no Bakery and Cafe Ebisu
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisu 4-20-6 Yebisu Garden Place Clock PlazaGoogle Maps
Access: Five minutes from the east exit of JR Ebisu Station, seven minutes from Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
Homepage: Ore no Bakery and Cafe
7. Take a Cafe Break at Sarutahiko Coffee
Photos courtesy of: Sarutahiko Coffee
The Sarutahiko Coffee chain, which has 10 locations in the city, uses original blends and carefully-selected single origin coffee beans, which they roast on-location. Not limited to hand drip, you can also select beans from the espresso menu.
The main location in Ebisu, two minutes from the west exit of JR Ebisu Station, is a cozy spot with a relaxed atmosphere. It also has sweets and light meals available, and of course, you can get your order to go. There is also a Sarutahiko location on the first floor of the Atre Ebisu west building.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisu 1-6-6 Saito Bldg 1FGoogle Maps
Access: Two minutes on foot from the east exit of JR Ebisu Station, three minutes from Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
8. Japanese-Style Ice Cream Flavors at Ouca
Ouca has a variety of Japanese ice cream flavors available for you to try. In addition to staples like green tea, roasted green tea and milk, Ouca also has limited-edition ice cream flavors that use in-season ingredients. There are four sizes of ice cream: small (400 yen) and regular (460 yen), which allow you to choose three flavors, and large (720 yen) and extra-large (1280 yen), which allow you to choose four flavors.
It’s perfect for sharing with other people. From spring to autumn, you can try mitarashi dango ice cream, a combination of ice cream and dumplings covered in a sweet soy sauce glaze, as well as other seasonal treats like shaved ice and green tea shakes.
9. Shop at Leisure in Atre Ebisu
Photos courtesy of Atre Ebisu
Compared to major shopping areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku, there may be fewer stores at Atre Ebisu, but you can have a comparatively comfortable shopping experience without worrying about the crowds. There is a main building and a western annex, and the main building connects to JR Ebisu Station.
Many brand-name stores for women’s fashion are located in Atre, with a more restrained selection of items than those found in Shibuya or Harajuku. There are also accessory stores, cosmetics stores and sweets shops. There is also a Mujirushi location and a supermarket, which are helpful if you’re looking for souvenirs.
Atre Ebisu Western Annex
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisu Minami 1-6-1 Google Map
Access: One minute from JR Ebisu Station, four minutes from Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
Homepage: Atre Ebisu
10. Experience Japanese Art at the Yamatane Museum
Photos courtesy of Yamatane Museum
Ten minutes away from the Ebisu Station west exit, the Yamatane Museum specializes in Japanese art. The museum has more than 1800 pieces on display, primarily work from the Meiji period up to the present day.
There are also ancient paintings, ukiyo-e and oil paintings. Drop by if you’re interested in Japanese art.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Hiroo 3-12-36 Google Maps
Access: 10 minutes from the JR Ebisu Station west exit, or from exit 2 of the Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line)
Homepage: Yamatane Museum
Ebisu - A Tokyo Area Where You Can Relax
Ebisu has plenty of cafes and izakayas, so after you’ve visited the museums and art museums, how about taking a break as you enjoy a drink or some sweet treats?