Yokohama Oktoberfest

October 5, 2008

This week sees the return of Yokohama’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations. The German beer festival has already begun and will continue until October 13th near Minato Mirai station. It’s held in Aka Renga, the “red brick warehouse” which holds a peculiar fascination for the Japanese, but look like, well, an ordinary warehouse to me.

The Oktoberfest is always good fun, as only drinking prodigious quantities of beer can be. The organisers have even flown over a thigh-slapping German oom-pah band to entertain the boozers, resulting in the incongrous sight of men in lederhosen wandering around the futuristic streets of Minato Mirai.

You can buy German potatoes and sausages, and the selection of beers on sale is always terrific, (although, there is a confusing system whereby you have to pay a deposit for your glass, presumably to prevent drunk people from stealing the fancy tankards as souvenirs.)

The event gets more popular every year, and is heaving with revelers on weekends (many of whom tried to strike up conversations with me in German, but were disappointed to discover I’m English). This is fun, but the long lines for the portable toilets can put tremedous strain on a bladder bloated with pints of lager. I recommend going along on a week-night, when you can urinate with ease and, if you’re lucky, you might actually be able to sit down for a while.

Here’s the official website.