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February 1, Harajuku
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One of the highlights of the annual beer-drinking calendar is arriving early this year. Normally held in the autumn, the Nippon Craft Beer Festival has been shunted to a cherry blossom season slot in the schedules, and moved to a new venue in Akihabara. Unlike the Great Japan Beer Festival (held in June), the focus here is on quality rather than quantity: the 50-odd brews on offer are selected by a committee in advance, meaning that while you won't find any bizarro novelty tipples on the menu, the general hit rate is far higher. The ¥3,800 advance ticket price includes a 120ml tasting glass and ten (100ml) drink tickets, though you could also opt for a ¥5,000 package that includes a not too shabby T-shirt. Tickets are available at beer bars throughout the city, and be warned that the event normally sells out in advance.