ビアガーデン bia gaaden: beer garden
Summer in Japan would not be complete with beer gardens. In Okinawa, there are a few around this time of year. They typically have nomihoudai 飲み放題 and tabehoudai 食べ放題 (all-you-can-drink/eat) plans. Some of these beer gardens are very popular, so it is important to get a reservation.
This year, my husband and I decided to go to the beer garden held by ANA Harborview Hotel in Naha for our wedding anniversary. The bonus to this beer garden: wear yukata or jinbei and receive a significant discount! We also booked a room for the night, so we could just crash after our 2.5 hours of drinking and eating.
So, of course, I dressed myself and my husband in summer yukata to save money and to make it a special experience. It was my husband’s first time wearing yukata in public; he received many high-5s and “kakkoii.” It is somewhat rare to see a foreign male wearing yukata unless he has a Japanese girlfriend or wife (so some people were surprised to learn that, yes, I dressed us both by myself). A few people even took our picture; we were the only ones dressed in yukata that evening as most the others were there for after-work gatherings.
Anyway, when we arrived at the outdoor beer garden at our allotted time, it was decorated with string lights. It was a little warm out, but as the sun was going down, the temperature was dropping a bit. The food was set up buffet style (it is themed for every month, this month was “Spanish”), and even the drinks were self-serve. They had 3 beers on tap: Asahi super dry, Asahi black, and Orion. Additionally wine and highballs were available. Probably awamori and whiskey, too, but I did not much notice.
The food and drinks were pretty good, and we had a really nice time. Part way through the evening, the staff came out with a special cake dessert and sparkling peach wine for us since I had mentioned it was our wedding anniversary in the reservation. The service was really above and beyond, so it was a great way to spend a special occasion. Since we got a discounted price, I thought it was a good value… if I paid full price, I may not have felt quite the same. Full price was 4500yen, discounted price for wearing yukata… 3000yen.