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Mitsuya Cider: The Ultimate Guide

Devon Lord-MoncriefDevon Lord-Moncrief
Published Time
Posted on 
February 28, 2024
Modified Time
Updated last 
February 28, 2024
A bottle of Mitsuya Cider surrounded by fruit.

Soda comes in limitless flavors and varieties, with many countries offering unique and exclusive varieties. In Japan, popular Western brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi and many other styles of classic cola flavors are readily available. But if you’ve ever wanted to try a classically Japanese soft drink, Mitsuya Cider is the way to go.

When did Mitsuya Cider begin?

Mitsuya Cider’s origins date far back to 1884. Originally bottled and sold as plain carbonated water, the bottled water beverage Hirano-Sui became a great success. Later, in 1899, Mitsuya was finally registered as an official trademark. Then, in 1907, the flavor was added to Hirano-Sui, creating Mitsuya-Jirushi Hirano Shanpen Cider. 

Over the years, the drink has remained essentially unchanged. What started as simple carbonated water evolved into a carbonated flavored water drink. It’s incredible to think that a simple carbonated soda has such a long-running history in Japan, carrying decades of nostalgia and enjoyment with it.

Two bottles of soda.
The taste is similar to Sprite. Image via Gigazine

Why is it popular?

Mitsuya Cider is famous for a straightforward reason: it tastes excellent. A solid analogy to describe the flavor of the Japanese soda would be to liken it to a mix between Canda Dry Ginger Ale and Sprite. It’s a lemon-lime flavored soda, first and foremost, but it possesses a slight sharpness to its citrusy sweetness. 

The spicy notes of ginger make the drink incredibly refreshing. Mitsuya Cider was originally bottled and sold in decorative metal bottles, a fancy alternative to regular glass bottles of its era. Today, soda is sold in more common plastic bottles, but specific vending machines and stores sell the classic metal bottles. The soda is tasty and refreshing but also has a vital air of nostalgia.

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What are some notable Mitsuya Cider flavors?

Lemon-Lime

A bunch of lemon lime soda on a shelf.
“Lemola” is the classic flavor many people enjoy! Image via Super Center Plant

The classic. The original flavor of Mitsuya Cider and the most commonly sold variety is predominantly a tart lemon-lime. It has hints of ginger, giving it a slight sharpness that’s good for perking you back up. Unlike Sprite, it isn’t too sweet, emphasizing the tartness of the citrus and ginger rather than the sugar.

Peach

A bottle of Peach Mitsuya Cider.
Peach soda is most popular in the summer. Image via YouTube/無食はつらいよチャンネル

A familiar flavor variety is white peach. While it has the same amount of carbonation, the white peach flavor lends itself very well to the fizziness of the soda. Like the original flavor, the white peach flavor is sweet but not overly sweet. It doesn’t have its iconic gingery edge, but the white peach tastes like a non-alcoholic spritzer.

Grape Squash

A bottle of grape soda.
The grape flavor contains 100% grape juice! Image via Lemon 8

Don’t let the odd name fool you; the grape squash variety of soda is perfect. True to its name and the images of big purple grapes on the bottle, grape squash Mitsuya Cider tastes like chilled, tart grapes. It isn’t as thickly sweet as Western drinks like Grape Crush, allowing the fruit flavor to meld with the crispness of the carbonation. Like the peach flavor, the grape squash flavor resembles a non-alcoholic spritzer.

Why should I try Mitsuya Cider?

If you like Sprite or Ginger Ale, then trying Mitsuya Cider is an obvious choice. Walking into a Japanese convenience store and seeing the walls of drinks can be overwhelming. It can be tricky to figure out exactly what flavor each drink is, whether it’s alcoholic or not, or what the drink even is.

Sticking to the tried-and-true Coke flavors or green teas is an easy and safe choice, but passing up on it is a big mistake. It tastes familiar enough but also just different enough to warrant the try.  

A bunch of bottles of lemon lime soda
Which flavor of Mitsuya Cider is your favorite? Image via Twitter

Japan has many drinks and beverages available in its convenience stores. Hot drinks, cold drinks, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks: there’s something for everyone, any time of day. In endless competition from local and foreign flavors, Mitsuya Cider has offered the same quality taste for over a hundred years.

It’s a clean, crisp taste that gets the job done. It might not be as globally recognized as American companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Still, Mitsuya Cider is a soda brand worth checking out for those who want a cold drink on the go.

Have you ever had Mitsuya Cider before? What did you think of it? Did you like it more or less than Sprite? Have you tried any of the other flavors? Please tell us in the comments below! We would love to hear what kinds of drinks and snacks you had while in Japan!

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