Unsurprisingly, for a neighborhood named after a brewery, Ebisu is famed for the sheer number of places to eat and drink in the area. Standing bars (tachinomiya) such as Buri, where you can choose from 70 different varieties of one-cup sake, are a m]ajor draw of Ebisu’s evening entertainment options, as are the depth and breadth of quality izakayas.
There are simple Japanese street favourites such as Afuri’s highly regarded ramen (which also serves up a vegan option) and international options such as Michelin-starred paella at Sal y Amor, top-rated tacos at El Rincon de Sam, Nepalese/Tibetan fare at Khumbila, lip-smacking lamb at TA-IM and Singapore street food in a cosy setting at Hainan Jeefan Shokudo 2. Particularly noteworthy are the two British pubs in the area that are popular with international residents. What the Dickens is the place to go for a hearty, authentic selection of grub such as cottage pie, baked beans and mashed potato accompanied by live music and sports broadcasts, whilst the sports bar Footnik features homemade sausages and an expanding vegan menu.
Another popular area to unwind after work is amongst the neon signs and glowing aka-chochin lanterns that adorn Ebisu Yokocho. Chock-full of yakitori restaurants, homely oden stalls, and even mushroom specialists and wine bars, the rustic, old-school atmosphere and melting pot of clientele provide a lively spot to wrap up the week.
The exit on the 3rd floor of the station is part of the Atre department store which is home to Seijo Ishii and The Garden Jiyugaoka, two well-known supermarkets dealing with high-quality produce and imported international fare for those craving a taste of home. Moving through the department store’s concourse leads you to a series of travelators that make the journey to Ebisu’s major landmark, Ebisu Garden Palace, that little bit easier.
Named after the Yebisu Beer brand (now known as Sapporo Breweries) which established its first brewery in the area in 1890, Ebisu is still home to the company’s headquarters. Visitors can learn about the history of the brewery and the beer-making process at the Yebisu Beer Museum, which is currently undergoing an expansion process to combine the museum and a new brewery, the first since 1988. In the meantime, there are other opportunities to sample and purchase its beers at two newly opened bars, Yebisu Bar Stand within Yebisu Garden Palace or the smaller standing bar Taps by Yebisu outside the station’s East exit.
Amongst the various shops, cafes and restaurants, the complex is also home to the Westin Tokyo hotel, Mitsukoshi department store, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (the city’s largest dedicated photo gallery featuring three floors of rotating exhibits from Japanese and international photographers) and Yebisu Garden Cinema for fans of Western indie film fare. However, one of the most impressive is Joel Robuchon’s 3-star Michelin rated Chateau restaurant which is housed in an authentic-looking replica of French monarch Louis XVI’s residence.
Despite the city-like atmosphere of Ebisu, there are still pockets of calm and quiet in the neighbourhood to connect with nature. Yebisu Shrine (which was originally established by the Japan Beer Company in 1894 before making way for the current shrine following the development of Ebisu Garden Palace 100 years later) provides a tranquil setting for escaping the crowds, whilst atop the Atre department store is Ebisu Green Garden. The free-to-enter rooftop garden is filled with flowerbeds, lawns and wooden benches and walkways, making it a great place for a peaceful lunch or picnic with friends and family amongst the lush greenery and surrounding cityscape. Ebisu Park and Ebisu Minami 2 Koen are two other family-friendly parks with climbing frames, slides etc for kids to enjoy.
Trains: Ebisu lies on the ultra-convenient Yamanote Line loop that connects many of Tokyo’s major stations such as Shinjuku and Shinagawa, while the Hibiya Line offers even more connections to places such as Hiroo, Roppongi and Ginza. Also within walking distance are the popular neighbourhoods of Daikanyama and Meguro.
Buses: Plenty of bus routes from the station leading directly to other areas of Tokyo, including but not limited to Nakameguro and Shibuya. Bus stops for nearby international schools can be found along Meiji-Dori, a short 5-minute walk from the Station.
Taxis: Taxis are particularly easy to hail at the station; the taxi line is one of the first things you will see coming out from the East Exit.