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Popular Japanese Drinks You Must Try in Japan

By jojo
June 21, 2022

Japan has so many amazing drinks with unique flavors. With new products being available in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores weekly there is too much to try! Before you have had a chance to try it, it might have already disappeared from the shelves. However there are a few drinks that have remained popular throughout the years and always available, let’s check out these 10 popular original Japanese drinks!

Ramune

Bottles of Ramune, a Japanese soft drink with a unique cap, lines a shelf in several different flavors and brands, like original, strawberry, and grape flavor.
Anyone who’s been to an East Asian or Japanese market may have seen this drink before and mastered its unique opening method. Image via Shutterstock

Ramune is probably one of the most famous Japanese drinks mainly due to the unique bottle and the unique flavors it comes in. Of course among the more popular flavors are fruity ones like strawberry, peach and grape but there are also some crazy flavors like wasabi, chili oil and kimchi! You can read about crazy flavors here or check out our YouTube video in which we tried them out! It often appeared in anime and manga as well which contributed to its popularity. It was invented in 1872 which makes it one of the oldest Japanese sodas. The marble inside the bottle is what makes it unique, pushing it down to open to bottle has proven to be a challenge to many people!

Pocari Sweat

Many different Pocari Sweat bottles, cans, and pouches lined up around each other from smallest to largest.
Don’t let the name fool you. this drink is a nice and refreshing option in the summer months.

Pocari Sweat is, as the name suggests, a drink that restores all electrolytes and nutrients that are lost when sweating. In short, it’s a sports drink from Japan, invented in 1980! Japanese people also swear by drinking Pocari Sweat when they’re down with the flu. The drink is available in pet bottles, cans, and even in powder form.

Calpis

A glass of Calpis sits next to a plastic bottle with the word Calpico on the bottle and Calpis written in Japanese under it, on a blue-white background
People living outside of Japan may recognize the name ‘Calpico’. It’s actually the same product, just with a new name for outside of Japan. Image via Shutterstock

Calpis was invented in 1919 and was inspired by Mongolian fermented horse milk drink. It was Japan’s first lactic acid drink. You can choose to mix it with anything you like which is what made it so popular! Some popular combinations are Calpis mixed with water, carbonated Calpis soda, or fruity lemonades, especially strawberry and melon.

Mitsuya cider

Many containers of Mitsuya Cider, one of the oldest carbonated Japanese drinks, stand side-by-side in different sizes but all with the same logo.
This iconic Japanese drink may be known for its signature flavor, but there are other flavors, like fruit punch, to enjoy as well.

Mitsuya cider is interestingly enough not an alcoholic beverage but it’s just a carbonated soft drink, first sold in 1884. People have described the flavor of Mitsuya cider as a mix of sprite and ginger ale but seasonal flavors are available as well.

Canned coffee

Many coffee cans line the cooler in a Japanese convenience store with a variety of brands and types including low-sugar, cafe au lait, and black coffees.
Canned coffee may not seem special, but with so many options in stores and vending machines, each person can find one they like.

Canned coffee is an original Japanese invention from the 1970’s. You can especially find these drinks in vending machines both hot and cold and black or sweet! Of course you can also find canned coffee at convenience stores.

Matcha

A bottle of a low-calorie clear matcha milk latte from Asahi.
There are plenty of matcha green tea products out there, from just straight up green tea to creamy latte versions. Image via Shutterstock

Matcha (green tea powder) is used in many different kind of drinks, unsweetened and sweet, tea or milky latte and super popular outside of Japan as well, you can even order a matcha latte at Starbucks! The bitter sweet drink is not only available in cafes but also in bottles in Japanese convenience stores.

Mugicha

A pot and two cups of Mugicha, a roasted tea drink from Japan that is a light, clear brown, on a bamboo placemat in front of a white background.
This tea has a very different taste to matcha with a roasted yet clean taste.

When people think of Japanese tea, green tea is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Actually mugicha, or roasted barley tea, is just as popular! At many restaurants you get a glass of water but sometimes mugicha is served instead, you can also get a bottle at the supermarket or convenience store. Since it’s an acquired taste, quite bitter and unusual it’s not always loved by tourists but you should give it a try anyway!

Melon Soda

A green and silver Fanta melon soda aluminum bottle sits on a bamboo placemat.
Yup, that Fanta makes a delicious melon soda. Meanwhile, other brands even have a melon cream soda flavor that is so good!

The green melon soda catches the eye of any tourist visiting Japan for the first time. Sweet and yet fresh it’s loved by many! It’s so popular that it’s available everywhere, even at chain stores like Burger King, Mc donald’s and karaoke!

Yakult

Five bottles of Yakult, Japanese drinks that act as probiotics, with red caps, clear bottles with orange prints, and white drink filling
Japan loves a good probiotic and have made drinking one an enjoyable and tasty experience.

Yakult is Japan’s most successful probiotic drink, invented 1930 is available in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores and even in supermarkets all over the world! In some countries, Japan India and Brazil it’s even being sold door to door!

Qoo

Three Qoo bottles, Japanese drinks with a fruit juice flavor, lined up side by side in front of a white background in three flavors with a cute mascot on the front smiling and drinking juice.
Minute Maid meets kawaii with a series of fruity Japanese drinks that are a go-to for many in the summer months.

Qoo was invited in 1999 and marketed towards children and teenagers. The brand is actually owned by Coca-Cola but the drinks are non-carbonated and have fruity flavors. It’s popular all over Asia but not so much in other countries, although it was available in Germany for a while!

What drink did have you tried? Which one would you like to try and which one are you scared of trying? Let us know in the comments below!

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Originally published September 30, 2018

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