Oktoberfest in Tokyo

23 May

Do you know what 「オクトーバーフェスト」 (“Oktoberfest“) is?
Have you ever been to one? What city did you go to Oktoberfest in?

Oktoberfest is a German festival that involves a lot of German music, German sausage, and German beer.
The festival began in ミュンヘン (Munich), Germany in 1810.

I’m not German and I’ve never been to Germany, so I don’t know if the festival is the same in Germany as it is in other cities around the world.
But I love drinking beer and eating meat…so I think Oktoberfest is a great festival! I’ve attended Oktoberfest festivals in Japan a few times and once in America.

As I wrote above, the first Oktoberfest was held in ミュンヘン (Munich), Germany in 1810…so this year is the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest.

Well, right now, the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) is going on.
It started last Friday (2010 May 21) and will continue until Sunday, 2010 May 30 at 日比谷公園 (Hibiya Park) in Tokyo.

As the name implies, “Oktoberfest” is usually held in October (10月)…so I don’t know why this festival is being held in May–but it is.

I have been to the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト」 (Hibiya Oktoberfest) before. And I’ve been to the 「日比谷ワインフェスト」 (Hibiya Wine Fest) at the same park before, too.

Admission to the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) is free and they have many German beers available with alcohol content ranging from 4.8% to 7.2% depending on the beer.

(Click here if you want to see the beer list on the official 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) website.)

I have also been to the 「横浜オクトーバーフェスト」 (“Yokohama Oktoberfest“) before at the 横浜赤レンガ倉庫 (Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse). That Oktoberfest is held in October every year.

Ad for last year's Oktoberfest in Yokohama

Also, for people in the 仙台 (Sendai) area of Japan, there will be two German beer festivals in that area this year…the 「仙台ジャーマンフェスト2010」 (“Sendai German Fest 2010“) from 2010 June 11 – 20, and the 「仙台オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Sendai Oktoberfest 2010“) from 2010 September 17 – 26.

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56 Responses to “Oktoberfest in Tokyo”

  1. Anonymous February 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    During a number of years of backpacking in the seventies I spent March through September in 1975 working as bartender at Bei Rudi in Roppongi, Tokyo. One of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Don’t remeber any speis, but we used to get professional wrestlers in there as I understand Rudi had been wrestling himself. Met a lot of wonderful people,
    too young and ignorent to appreciate the situation. My best Japanese friend killed himself in the late 80-is. Haven’t been back since. To all of you I might have met, Thank You, Jimi.

    Like

    • tokyo5 February 11, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      So, you lived in Tokyo for six months in 1975 ?
      You should re-visit! Tokyo has changed in many ways – – and is the same in many others!

      Like

      • Earnest Mercer February 12, 2014 at 9:02 am #

        South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet: tropics in Natal, mountains in the Transkei, Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world, some say, the animals of Kruger Park, and the great Kalahari desert. Of course, the USA is my favorite place, but my heart is in Japan–what can I say: I love the topography, the people, the food and the culture of that great country (can’t include the weather, however) My wife and I will take a long vacation in Japan in a couple of years (if I’m still alive–I’m 81 years old) We lived in a -small village – Wakabayashi–and loved it. We ate in small village restaurants, shopped in small shops and made many friends among the villagers. My wife learned only a little Japanese, but the villagers loved her for trying and, I think, because she is of small stature and is very sociable.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 12, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        > my heart is in Japan…(can’t include the weather, however)

        Japan is a narrow country…but kinda long. The weather here has as much variety depending on location as America.
        I like Tokyo’s weather better than Florida’s…the seasons in Tokyo aren’t too extreme (for the most part) and each season is an even quarter of the year long.

        It certainly isn’t perfect though. Japan has earthquakes, very hot, humid summers and frigid winters.

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer February 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

        Lots of rain, too. And when it rains, in many places the volcanic soil turns to Indio ink. I weathered numerous earthquakes and didn’t mind the snow–after all, I spent time in Chitose Hokkaido. Still, I loved my time in Japan.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

        >I weathered numerous earthquakes

        Me, too. And I’ll be happy if I never experience another one!

        Like

    • John Sollen (Canada John) December 28, 2015 at 8:25 am #

      Are you Jimmy Schawander (and Kelly)

      Like

      • tokyo5 December 28, 2015 at 8:35 am #

        Me? No.

        Like

  2. walter schmidt December 9, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    My last time in Tokyo was 1978. I had been a “steady” at bei Rudi. (Rapongi.
    Are they still in business? What would they charge for a meal and beer? What are the rates for medium priced hotels now? (?like The new Tokyo) Please let me know
    walter Schmidtr

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 10, 2010 at 12:05 am #

      Yes, that restaurant is still there. Prices in Tokyo have gone up considerably since 1978…and a restaurant in the Roppongi will be more expensive than in other areas of the city, generally speaking.

      I’m not sure exactly how much the food costs at “Bei Rudi” though.

      And hotels in Tokyo can be as cheap as ¥2,500 (about US$30) per person / night…and go up to hundreds of dollars per night. Depends on the hotel and the area.

      Are you planning a trip here?
      If you are actually trying to plan a trip here and you want help, use my Contact Page and let me know more details…such as number of adults / children in your group, dates you’ll be here, the area you’d like to stay, your budget for hotel, restaurants, etc. and I’ll try to help you more.

      Like

  3. biber hapı May 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Other than the prices, would you say the Oktoberfest in Japan is just as good as in Germany?

    Like

  4. David May 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    I went to the Oktoberfest in Yokohama a couple of years ago. It’s nothing like the real Oktoberfest in Munich.

    Anyone who’s thinking about going to the Oktoberfest in Munich can find lots of information here.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

      >It’s nothing like the real Oktoberfest in Munich.

      I looked at your post. You said that the beer and sausages were more expensive in Japan than in Germany.
      But that’s because in Germany, German beer is domestic…here in Japan it’s imported and therefore more expensive.
      I’m sure Japanese beer is more expensive in Europe than in Japan too.

      I agree that the prices at Oktoberfest in Japan are high…that’s why I don’t go often. But, just as with any festival in Japan, I felt that it was excellent.

      Other than the prices, would you say the Oktoberfest in Japan is just as good as in Germany?

      Like

      • David May 26, 2010 at 11:05 am #

        >I’m sure Japanese beer is more expensive in Europe than in Japan too.

        Strange as it sounds, I found Japanese beer in Munich and it was cheaper than in Japan.

        > Other than the prices, would you say the Oktoberfest in Japan is just as good as in Germany?

        It’s not really fair to compare them because the one here is not like the Oktoberfest at all. It’s more like a Biergarten.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

        >Strange as it sounds, I found Japanese beer in Munich and it was cheaper than in Japan.

        Probably was brewed in Germany then and not actually imported, I bet.
        The German beer in Japan is imported from Germany so it’s pricey.

        >the one here (Oktoberfest in Japan) is not like the Oktoberfest (in Germany) at all.

        How are they different?

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer January 1, 2013 at 4:29 am #

        When Japan began producing beer for the post WWII market, it was hot good. They imported German brewmeisters and the result is , well really good. Japan is not the only country to import the German experts, Philippines and Indonesia did also.

        Like

      • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 9:41 am #

        Everything in Japan is quality.
        🙂

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer February 11, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

        I’ve been to the Oktoberfest in Munich–very exciting. Some very good Oktoberfest occur every year in the “Pennsylvania Dutch” country–really settled by Germans; not Dutch.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 12, 2014 at 12:43 am #

        You’ve been to many countries, haven’t you?

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer February 12, 2014 at 5:59 am #

        I served in Japan during the closing days of the military occupation. I was based in Yokohama, Chitose and Kamiseya. During the two years there, traveled extensively and learned “machi-no kotoba”. I returned with family in 1975-1977. Then I moved to Hong Kong for two years, during which I travel all over Asia, except China which was closed to foreigners at that time except for government supervised tourist trips. I returned to the U. S. in 1979, then spent three years in South Africa. After retirement from IBM, I did consulting work for American companies in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing for two years. On return to the U. S., wrote several books, one of which chronicled my life-long experiences and I wrote a nostalgic novel of history and love between an American Sailor and a Japanese Skivvy Girl, set in post WWII Japan, using my own experiences for the plot. These days, my wife and I travel. We just returned from a river cruise on the Rhine, Main and the Danube. We have booked a motoring trip in SW Germany visiting the wonderful little towns and villages.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 12, 2014 at 8:20 am #

        Japan, Asia, Africa, Europe!!

        Which do you like best?

        Like

  5. Earnest Mercer May 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    In 1975, years after my first tour in Japan, my wife and I loved to visit a German Pub named Bei Rudi’s, in the basement of one of the KOWA buildings near the Russian Embassy, particularly during Oktoberfest. There was an “Om Pa Pa” band; members dressed in German attire, and the patrons enjoyed the riotous German songs and beer. Wonder if it’s still ther?

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

      >Wonder if it’s still there?

      According to a website I found that lists German restaurants around Japan (or at least in Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka), the 「バイ・ルーディ」 (“Bei Rudi”) is still in the B1F of the 3rd Kowa Bldg.

      Like

    • Cherie MacDonald December 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      I remember it well. We always thought it was where the spies go. It was beside the American embassy. Great German food and music, and – oddly – an accordion player who got us all singing along to “Que Viva Espana”. I was there from ’74 – ’78.

      Like

      • tokyo5 December 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

        Were you in Tokyo for four years in the ’70s?
        Japan was very different back then!

        I have never been to that restaurant. What would make you think that there were spies there?

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer December 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

        Re Bei Rudi’s: The restaurant was near both the U. S. and Russian embassies, hence the suspect that “spies” visited there. Plus there was a “Russian Tea Room” nearby that was very popular with different nationalities. The most popular food at Bei Rudi’s was/is? their “pig’s knuckle”. The patrons tended to dine on this delighful repast, sing and drink the great Japanese beer; often from a giant stein passed from one customer to another. I’ve been to Octoberfests in Munich, the Pennsylvania “Dutch” countryand even in Hong Kong. It’s always great fun.

        Like

      • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 12:26 am #

        Yeah, the Russian and the U.S. Embassies in Tokyo are pretty close to each other.

        I don’t go to the restaurants in the “foreign diplomats” areas … they’re usually expensive.

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer January 1, 2013 at 4:27 am #

        Yep, you’re right. All Japan is expensive by other Asian standards as are the diplomatic area restaurants. Worth it???

        Like

      • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        Japan has a reputation of being expensive but it’s not really if you shop / eat where locals do.

        Like

      • Charles June 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

        I was based in Tokyo from 1975 through 1980. Bei Rudi was a great place to go for a night out – a German resturant with a um pa band and a singer from Chile. I propably went once every two weeks. I sat in the far corner where mostly expats who were on their own would eat, drink, and play dice (does anyone remember hearing someone declare “five sixes all day?). By that time, Rudi had sold the place to a nice Japanese woman who worked as the cashier. I think the hard-working head waiter’s name was Ernst; he was German. After not being in Tokyo for many years, I wanted to go to Rudi’s but there was a new building and no sign of the resturant. I would love to go again if it has relocated.

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

        They’re are ALOT of excellent bars, restaurants and cafes in Tokyo … including German ones.
        There are even a few OktoberFests every year in Japan.

        But if you want to go to the Bei Rudi restaurant specifically, I’ve heard that it’s still in business… but I’m not absolutely certain because I very rarely go to the Roppongi area.

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer June 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

        I too was in Tokyo in 1975-1977 and frequented Bei Rudis. I have many fond memories of the um pa band, whose members were Japanese, but dressed in Bavarian garb, drinking from the oversized stein, sampling cold sake drunk from a wooden box and feasting on the pig’s knuckle. I’m sorry to hear that it’s gone. Wonder if you and I crossed paths in the 70s??

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

        Have you ever been to an OktoberFest in Japan?

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer June 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

        Yes, in Tokyo. “Oktoberfest” doesn’t mean the festival is held in October–often is not, no matter what part of the world including USA.

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 10, 2013 at 7:49 am #

        Yes, I know.
        But you’d think with a name like “Oktober-Fest” that it would be held in October.

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer June 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

        The accordion player was from Colombia.

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 10, 2013 at 7:47 am #

        You remember that after all those years?
        Great!

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer June 10, 2013 at 10:34 am #

        Old men remember activities of their youth; it’s yesterday that’s a problem. 🙂

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

        😉

        Like

      • Earnest Mercer February 11, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        I had forgotten the accordion player. Enjoyed the interjection of Spanish into the German/Japanese ambiance. The player was from Colombia.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 12, 2014 at 12:42 am #

        German, Japanese and Spanish!

        Like

  6. Eric May 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Actually strangely enough Oktoberfest runs mostly in September usually. It only runs into October for a couple days. For example this year it’s from Sep 18 – Oct 3.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

      Really?
      The one in Sendai (your area) will go from September 17 – 26.

      Will you go to it?

      Like

      • Eric May 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

        I might . I haven’t had the chance to go to it yet. Many people tell me it’s good.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

        Every festival I’ve been to in Japan has been quality.

        Like

  7. cuteandcurls May 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    My mother in law’s from Germany, a beautiful part of Germany. Having been there once I just love the beauty of the countryside there ..the food, the beer, the people and this summer Im going there to visit the relatives and I cant wait. Unfortunately Ive never experienced Oktoberfest as it always coincides with my husband’s work. But ive experienced a village festival that they call a kirmus (not sure if thats the correct spelling)

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

      I think you should attend an Oktoberfest if you get a chance. I have never heard of “Kirmus”…is it another German festival?

      Like

      • Eric May 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

        “Kirmes” is just the generic name for a German carnival or fair.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

        >“Kirmes” is just the generic name for a German carnival or fair.

        I see. Thanks. (BTW, how did you know that?)

        Like

      • cuteandcurls May 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

        Ahhhh thanks Eric, yes how did you know about that? I’d like to attend the Oktoberfest but it wont happen until we move back to the UK one day 🙂

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

        >I’d like to attend the Oktoberfest but it wont happen until we move back to the UK one day

        Are you originally from England?
        When will you move back there?

        Like

      • Eric May 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

        I know lots of useless knowledge. It’s my only skill! 😉

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 23, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

        >I know lots of useless knowledge. It’s my only skill!

        Can you speak German well? Or just a few words?

        Like

      • Eric May 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

        Oh, I only know a very few words. Kirmes just happened to be one of them.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

        Have you ever been to Germany?

        Like

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