Buying beer online in Japan

Tired of going to bottle shops or liquor discount stores only to find nothing but standard beers from the big brewers and a whole lotta happoshu?

You know the scene. Big bottles of sake from every part of Japan. Enough varieties of whisky to make a Scot seep salt water. Wines from places you cannot pronounce. But ... only one or two dusty bottles of overpriced Belgian or German beer, and not a single Japanese microbrew to be found.

Well, don't fret - there are plenty of great imported beers and Japanese microbrews out there, and they're available for home delivery. Here are dozens of online sources for beer shopping, including several good ones in English. Orders can generally be handled online, with payment by credit card, bank or postal transfer or COD.

[Note that web pages may shift and links expire, so if a link doesn't work we suggest you try the top page of the site, or a Google search.]

English-language Shopping

Here is one importer that offers online shopping pages in English.

Good selection of popular US craft beers.

General-purpose Beer Shopping Sites

This site lists thousands of beer offers (cases, gift sets, and individual bottles). You can browse by clicking on the beer categories. Searches are also possible but must be typed in katakana -- which can be a problem with Belgian and German names. On the Rakuten site, you need to register once with your credit card information; thereafter, you simply need to log in and do not need to re-enter information.
Similar to Rakuten Ichiba, the Yahoo! Japan Shopping site offers a smaller selection of beers. Searches may be typed in and sorted according to price.
A good selection of Japanese and world brews
A good range of Belgian, German, and U.S. brews
Six Japanese microbrews delivered to your door each month for 3,000 yen.
Wide variety of Belgian styles & others (German, UK, Irish, Dutch, Canadian, US, and various Asian beers)
Belgian beers and a limited number from other countries
Several great Japanese microbrews
Good selection from several well-known Japanese breweries
Online retailer specializing in Japanese and imported microbrews
Japanese craft beer, categorized by prefecture
Many Belgian and German beers
A wide selection of beers from Belgium and other countries (Japan, Germany, USA, Ireland, England, and Australia)
Japanese, European, and American beers
A variety of deals on several Japanese micros
Nearly 1,000 beers from over 40 countries
Japanese and world beers
Stocks many hard-to-find beers from several countries
Bargain hunting. Good luck!
Online liquor shop with a great variety of world beers

Japanese Microbreweries

Many Japanese craft breweries have their own retail web sites. Some work through Rakuten or Livedoor. Below are links to online shopping sites for 1) twenty-five great Japanese microbreweries and 2) dozens of other Japanese microbreweries. (Note: All sites, except Brimmer Brewing, are in Japanese.)

Twenty-five Great Japanese Micros

Other Japanese Microbreweries

Here are links to more than one hundred other Japanese microbreweries. Can't find your favorite? Try a search on Google, RateBeer.com, or beeradvocate.com.

[Thanks to Mark Meli for help in compiling these links.]

by Nevitt Reagan, updated December 2014.

Nevitt Reagan is also the author of the beer blog Beering in Mind.