Folate consumption is inversely associated with the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) and potentially interacts with alcohol drinking in the risk of OPC. Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) gene polymorphism is known to interact with alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate potential interaction between folate, alcohol drinking, and ALDH2 polymorphism in the risk of OPC in a Japanese population. The study group comprised 409 head and neck cancer cases and 1227 age-matched and sex-matched noncancer controls; of these, 251 cases and 759 controls were evaluated for ALDH rs671 polymorphism. Associations were assessed by odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals in multiple logistic regression models. We observed an inverse association between folate consumption and OPC risk. The odds ratio for high folate intake was 0.53 (95% confidence interval: 0.36–0.77) relative to low intake (P trend=0.003). This association was consistent across strata of sex, age, smoking, and ALDH2 genotypes. Interaction between folate consumption, drinking, and ALDH2 genotype was remarkable (three-way interaction, P<0.001). We observed significant interaction among folate, drinking, and ALDH2 genotype in the Japanese population.