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These Are The Most Popular Japanese Drinks!

Japan is a powerhouse for flavorful food, known for using seasonal and local ingredients that offer a distinct flavor from other cuisines. These flavors extend to Japanese drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Continue reading as we answer the question, "What are some traditional drinks in Japan?". This article includes some fun Japanese drink recipes so that you can become a Japanese mocktail expert!

Popular Drinks in Japan

The drinks list below includes various tea options, Japanese soft drinks, and more. These Japanese drinks have withstood the test of time, unlike many new drinks that only last in Japan for a few months or years.

Calpico (Calpis)

Calpicois first on our list and is one of the most unique Japanese drink offerings. Also known as Calpis, this Japanese soft drink is non-carbonated, sweet, milky, and has a slight tang. There is a version of Calpico (Calpis Soda) that does contain carbonation. However, the original version does not have a bubbly consistency.

Asahi Calpico: Original

What Is Calpico?

The drink airag inspired Calpico after the inventor of Calpis visited Mongolia. Airag is a fermented drink made from horse milk. While its inspiration is alcoholic, Calpico remains a non-alcoholic drink that is fit for all ages.

Summery Calpico Drink Recipe

Sugi Bee Garden Fruit Juice Infused Honey: Yuzu

Surasang Yujacha Citron Tea with Honey & Ginger

Surasang Yujacha Citron Tea with Honey & Ginger

Calpico is a great drink for mixing with fruity flavors, especially in the summertime. This Calpico drink recipe mixes Calpis’ creamy flavor with the sweet citrusy taste of Sugi Bee Garden Fruit Juice Infused Honey: Yuzu. Mix 1 tablespoon of Sugi Bee Garden yuzu honey or Surasang Yujacha Citron Tea with Honey & Ginger with a bottle of Asahi Calpico: White Peach for a yummy warm weather mocktail. Don’t forget to garnish your drink with fresh slices of peach!

Genmaicha

Genmaicha is a delicious variety of green tea that offers a nutty, grassy flavor that's perfect for breakfast. This drink combines green tea with brown rice grains that have been toasted. Hence, why its name translates to "brown rice tea."

Genmaicha

What Is Genmaicha Tea?

This type of tea has an unclear history, with some noting its origin in the 15th century and others stating it was invented in the 1900s. This tea is typically made from sencha green tea. It's also common for some varieties to include popped rice kernels, leading to its nickname “popcorn tea.”

Ramune

You may recognize Ramune as the Japanese soda (with marble) that features a unique way of opening the bottle (by popping the marble into the container). Ramune comes in many flavors and is found at many restaurants and shops throughout Japan. There are typical flavors like strawberry and more unusual options like chili oil.

Sangaria Ramune Soda: Original

What Is Ramune?

While Ramune is closely associated with Japan, it was initially brought to the country by a Scottish Pharmacist. This drink is commonly consumed at festivals throughout the year. Though, it’s not associated with a particular holiday.

Ramune Mocktail Recipes

These fun mocktail recipes will help you beat the heat during summertime! Try them at home, and don't be afraid to get creative with garnishes.

Fruity Ramune Mixer

Junzosen Hakuto White Peach Juice

There’s nothing that screams summer like a peach-flavored drink! Combine half a bottle of Ramune (any fruity flavor) with half a bottle of Junzosen Hakuto White Peach Juice for a sweet, refreshing drink. This mixture is also a great drink to serve at parties!

Sweet Strawberry Sparkler

Junzosen Hakuto White Peach Juice

If strawberries are more your cup of tea, you’ll love this recipe! Use original Ramune (1 bottle) in a 2:1 ratio with Kuze Fuku Strawberry Mixer. This mocktail is an excellent choice for anyone who typically enjoys sweeter cocktails.

Kombu-cha (Kelp Tea)

You’re likely familiar with kombucha, a Western drink made from fermented tea, bacteria, and sugar. Japanese kombu-cha is quite a different drink. It’s made from kombu (kelp) powder and hot water. The powder helps create a delicious umami-rich flavor for a more savory drink.

Kelp Tea

What Is Kelp Tea?

Western and Japanese-style kombucha is inspired by the original version, which was created in China in 220 B.C. Though Japan made the drink its own, it did create the name kombucha, which translates to "seaweed tea."

CC Lemon

CC Lemon is a popular drink well-known for its lemony flavor and yellow color. It's a fizzy, refreshing soft drink made by the brand Suntory. It's commonly associated with The Simpsons due to the CC Lemon commercials, which included characters from the show.

CC Lemon

What Is CC Lemon?

This Japanese soda is a newer drink in Japan that has been around since the mid-1990s. It’s the third most popular soft drink in Japan! It's packed with vitamin C, so many people drink it to boost energy.

Refreshing CC Lemon Drink Recipe

T. Grand Assam Lemon Black Tea

Perhaps you prefer drinks with a slight hint of sweetness in the summer. If that's the case, we've got you covered with this recipe! Combine a non-alcoholic Japanese beer (like Sapporo Premium Alcohol-Free) with CC Lemon or a lemon black tea like T. Grand Assam Lemon Black Tea (6-pack) for a sweet, but not too sweet, drink. Mix the two drinks in equal parts (like an Arnold Palmer).

Sakura Tea (Cherry Blossom Tea)

Sakura tea, also known as cherry blossom tea, holds a special meaning in Japanese culture. This tea is often served for very special occasions, such as weddings, ceremonies, and during the annual Sakura Festival. Cherry blossom flowers are pickled in salt and plum vinegar to create sakura tea. Then, the mixture is combined with hot water for a flavorful drink.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Tea

What Is Sakura?

This drink is ideal for people who want to skip the alcoholic beverages typically served during the Sakura Festival. It's a special drink that can only be made seasonally after the flowers bloom. You can enjoy this tea as a sweet or savory salted version.

Pocari Sweat

In America, many people drink Gatorade to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes. In Japan, they drink Pocari Sweat! This sports drink is non-carbonated that’s filled with minerals and nutrients. It has a sweet, mild flavor with a hint of grapefruit.

Pocari Sweat

What Is Pocari Sweat?

This drink was invented in Japan in 1980 and has been a top sports drink in Japan ever since! While many people use this drink as a way to replenish hydration, some people also claim that it helps you recover from the flu.

Matcha

Matchais another very popular drink in Japan with a long history. It's a green tea powder used in everything from lattes to simple tea drinks. You'll find matcha as a mixable powder or a prepared tea at Japanese grocery stores.

Maeda-en Matcha Green Tea Powder: Culinary Quality

What Is Matcha?

Green tea has been a popular drink in Japan since the 8th century. It wasn't until the 12th century that matcha powder became a popular version of preserving tea. When drinking matcha, expect a slightly bitter flavor and a bright green distinct color.

Where to Buy Japanese Specialty Drinks?

The unique flavors of Japanese drinks are enough to make anyone run to the nearest store to purchase a few options. Instead of hunting for Japanese specialty drinks that might not be available near you, consider ordering a few options from Bokksu Market. An online Asian grocery market, we offer a variety of items from dry goods to snacks and drinks.

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