Summer is fast approaching here in Japan! While the idea of a Japanese summer may invoke anime inspired images of hanging out at the beach with your friends, barbecues, and other fun-in-the-sun type activities – the reality is often a bit more…sweaty. Summertime in Japan is brutally hot and humid, so just getting around Tokyo can be exhausting! Luckily, there’s plenty of refreshing Japanese sodas and other divine drinks available to quench your thirst and keep you going!
Originally derived from the Japanese pronunciation of “lemonade”, this sweet summertime treat is a staple in Japan! It’s iconic design is often depicted across anime and manga, making it easily recognizable worldwide. It’s fun to drink, too! To open the bottle, you press down on a little glass marble until it pops into the neck with a satisfying click. Like a lot of popular Japanese candy, Ramune provides a fun experience beyond it’s delicious flavor!
Also known as “Calpico” across the western world, Calpis is a lactic Japanese drink inspired by the traditional Mongolian beverage Kumis (which is basically just fermented horse milk). Sounds weird in theory – but trust us, it’s delicious in practice! Calpis comes in tons of varieties, including sodas, and many Japanese candies are inspired by this tangy lactic drink as well!
Intrigued? You can read more about Calpis here!
3. Mitsuya Cider
Mitsuya Cider is another Japanese soda that’s been around since the 19th century! (Fun fact, Ramune and Mitsuya Cider were both created in 1884)!
While most westerners think of the alcoholic apple based drink when they hear cider, in Japan, cider refers to a particular kind of clear soda. The flavor can be best described as a cross between Sprite and Ginger Ale. Mitsuya Cider has been released in all sorts of flavors like grape, melon, and yes, even apple.
If you’re ever in the mood for something refreshing and crisp, Japan’s got you covered with it’s favorite soda, Mitsuya Cider!
4. Melon Soda
Japanese Fanta is probably most famous for its infamously neon-green Melon soda variety. As a quintessential soda flavor across Japan, you can find it all over the place, from convenience stores to vending machines to McDonald’s and Burger King menus nationwide.
We recommend plopping a scoop of vanilla ice cream into your favorite glass and topping it off with Melon Fanta to make a Melon Soda Float, a favorite summertime treat for Japanese kids and adults alike.
Probably Japan’s second favorite lactic drink, Yakult is an absolute classic!
Much like Calpis, Yakult is a fermented lactic drink that’s usually served in their adorable individual containers, perfect for a quick swig of a tangy-sweet treat!
Yakult is so iconic that the company employs their own door-to-door salespeople, known as “Yakult Ladies”, who ride bicycles through Japanese neighborhoods selling and promoting their product.
Especially perfect for the summertime, you can mix Yakult with coconut water, lemon water, or even milk to create a hydrating and satisfying beverage more than capable of quenching your thirst!
What are your favorite summer drinks? Have you had to chance to try any of these iconic Japanese options? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
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