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21 Japanese Drinks You Should Try

Japan is an island nation that’s home to many unique and wonderful drinks. From alcoholic beverages to non-alcoholic beverages, this article is sure to make you thirsty for more.

There are many different types of drinks in Japan that you should try when visiting the country. Some are alcoholic, some are non-alcoholic, and there is a wide range to choose from depending on what you’re looking for. Whether it’s something sweet or sour, hot or cold, this article has something for everyone! Be sure to give these drinks a try if you find yourself in Japan.

1. Sake

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Sake is a wine-like alcoholic beverage brewed from rice and water.

The taste of Sake can range heavily based on the region where it was created but typically has sweet notes like honey or melon with more bitter tastes such as grapefruit peel present in some varieties.

It’s so light and refreshing when you’re hot out during summertime.

2. Matcha

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Matcha is the one of the most popular Japanese drinks, and it’s gaining popularity stateside. It’s a traditional Japanese green tea that has been used for centuries in ceremonies, rituals, and as an aid to meditation.

Matcha tea has been around for centuries in Japan but only recently made the jump to North America and Europe.

It’s a traditional Japanese green tea powder that you can mix with hot water or milk, froth it up like coffee, pour over ice cream, blend into smoothies, or just drink as an iced latte!

Matcha is typically best served with a little sugar and some hot water.

It’s important to use filtered or distilled water so that you don’t overboil the tea leaves, which can change its flavor profile significantly.

Matcha has an amino acid content unlike any other green tea because of how it was grown in Uji in Japan. They take special care to make sure there are no pesticides on the ground where matcha grows.

3. Amazake

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image source : onegreenplanet.org

On the third place of Japanese drinks, we have Amazake.

Amazake, it’s a Japanese fermented rice beverage, and many people find it to be one of their favorite drinks.

It tastes slightly sweet with nutty flavor notes from malted barley or brown sugar used in the brewing process as well! Amazake is not only delicious by itself, but it can also be used to make other drinks.

4. Mugicha

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image source: yabai.com

This Japanese drink is a roasted grain drink made from barley by the infusion method, and it’s perfect for when you want to keep your metabolism going strong during wintertime!

So you might be wondering, what is Mugicha?

Well, it’s one of the most popular drinks in Japan during summertime. It has a milder taste than other Japanese alcoholic beverages.

Mugicha is a great alternative to coffee because it has no caffeine. It can be drunk more and still offer the same benefits as your typical cup of Joe!

A Mugicha, which literally translates from Japanese into English as ‘roasted barley tea,’ is free from any jitters or crashes that come with drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee or soda.

5. Genmaicha

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image source: shortandstouttea.com

The next Japanese drink we have here is called Genmaicha, which translates to “brown-rice tea” in English.

The distinctive flavor comes from using roasted white rice instead of black or red varieties like with ordinary sencha (for those who are not familiar).

This means that this variety will usually take on much less color when brewed and brews up into a light yellow shade. Its health benefits come mainly because both its ingredients contain lots of dietary fiber.

6. Aojiru

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Aojiru in English is also known as green juice, although in modern Japanese, ao itself means blue. Aojiru is a traditional Japanese drink made from vegetables. It makes for the perfect detox!

Japanese people enjoy it because they believe they can feel the power of nature in there. As such, it has become popular not only among vegetarians but those who are looking to supplement their diet or just want something that tastes good!

7. Shochu

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Shochu is a Japanese distilled beverage with an alcohol content of less than 45%. It tastes like vodka, but it has no hangover, and you can drink as much as you want.

Shochu is a lesser-known liquor that’s only available in Japan, where people have been drinking it for over 700 years!

With the same flavor profile, minus the nasty aftertaste, Shochu also doesn’t come with any pesky side effects (hangovers) or limits on consumption amounts.

8. Yakult

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image source: news.yahoo

Yakult is a probiotic milk drink that has been popular in Japan for decades. The bacteria inside are responsible for the tangy, sour flavor and addictive taste!

The Yakult company started like any other business with an idea from its founder Dr. Minoru Shirota who had observed people’s unhealthy habits during his time as a medical student in Paris. His solution was to create healthy drinks full of gut-friendly bacteria, which he called “Yakult”.

9. Ramune

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image source: imperialkoigso.com

Ramune is a Japanese carbonated soft drink from Japan. The word “Ramune” was borrowed from the English term lemonade due to its similarities in taste.

You know, Ramune is a Japanese drink that has at least 55 different flavors. It’s popular during summer festivals, and it started as the lemon-lime flavor, but now there are all these other crazy flavors like Candy or Wasabi!

10. Coca-cola Clear

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image source: tokyotreat.com

Coca-Cola Clear was officially released for the first time in Japan, and it’s turning heads! One of Coca-Cola’s most iconic products has finally been introduced to Asia.

This new addition is a caffeine-free version that offers consumers an alternative option with fewer calories. Coca-Cola Clear is a new type of Coca-Cola that tastes the same as the original Coke. Although it has no color, its taste will not disappoint you.

11. Awamori

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image source: savvytokyo.com

Okinawa has a rich and diverse alcoholic culture, from apricot wine to mad honey. But none of them compare with the infamous Awamori!

Awamori is a traditional Japanese liquor that has been around for centuries. It’s made from Indica rice, mostly imported from Thailand, so it retains that distinctive long-grain shape and flavor!

The delicious taste of Hanazake Awamori is one that you will never forget. Hanazake Awamori usually contains 30-43% alcohol, although some contain 60% alcohol, especially when it’s a prized item with such high demand!

12. Japanese Whiskey

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image source: boutiquejapan.com

The Japanese have their own alcohol style, starting with this wonderful drink called “Japanese Whiskey.” Japanese Whiskey is a type of beverage that is developed and produced in Japan.

Japanese whiskey is a strong drink. It’s often served with ice cubes or on the rocks, and it goes great over some ginger ale. Japanese Whiskey is blended and single malt style, similar to Scotch whiskey. Japanese Whiskey can be consumed like scotch or shochu, depending on personal preference.

13. Umeshu

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One of the most interesting types of Japanese drinks is Umeshu. It’s a Japanese liquor made from steeping ume fruit or plums in Shochu liqueur and sugar while they are still raw and green, with 10-15% alcohol content.

Many people in Japan will mix ume fruits with sugar and shochu to create umeshu at home. The trick is to let these ingredients sit together for six months before drinking so that everything can fully infuse together!

14. Canned Coffee

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image source: napajapan.com

Have you ever tried canned coffee? It’s a Japanese specialty that can be found at any convenience store.

You can find these anywhere from convenience stores to high-end shops around town, and they’re perfect if your schedule doesn’t allow time for breakfast or lunchtime breaks yet still need an energy boost during the day without stopping work.

There are many types of Canned Coffee in Japan. Like those made by Suntory and Nescafe, for instance, they are typical to the company that makes them. Generally, they’re a type of coffee milk beverage. Sweet with its taste but low on sugar or unsweetened if you prefer it black! There are also flavored varieties like green tea latte iced coffees too.

15. Koso

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Koso or known in Japan as kōso dorinku is a traditional Japanese fermented drink made from raw materials such as vegetables and fruits. Koso itself means enzyme in Japanese, namely bacteria or microorganisms for fermentation.

Koso is a traditional enzyme drink created from vegetables, fruits, and plants. It provides abundant probiotics and prebiotics that are popular among young Japanese women, juice cleansers, or intermittent fasting enthusiasts!

16. Sakurayu

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image source: thetasteofjapan.com

Sakurayu or Sakura-cha literally means cherry blossom tea. “Sakurayu” has been the next big thing in Japan, and it’s making its way to America too. It’s known for being “the world’s most Instagrammable cocktail.”

Sakurayu can be translated as “cherry blossom water,” which makes sense because sakura flowers are used in this beverage. Sakurayu is a Japanese alcoholic beverage with 16% alcohol content that tastes like cherry juice.

The appetizing color of the drink makes it easy for people who are unfamiliar with drinking liquors in general or don’t want to get drunk quickly by accident to enjoy sakura’s taste as well!

17. Kombucha

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It’s got a light taste with plenty of carbonation to make it feel like you’re drinking soda again without those weird aftertaste from artificial sweeteners. Kombucha is a fermented, bubbly drink that comes in many different flavors.

It’s made from tea and sugar mixed together with various fruits or spices to give it even more flavor!

18. Soy Milk

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image source: matcha-jp.com

The next drink you should try in Japan is soy milk. It’s all the rage with young people these days!

If you’re trying to cut down on dairy or looking for a low-fat, plant-based alternative, then this will be your new favorite thing!

It’s a good idea to have an alternative drink for those who are vegetarian or lactose intolerant. A popular option is Soy Milk that has been proven to be tasty, thick, and smooth in texture, with the bonus of having a sweet vanilla-like aroma too!

19. Happoshu

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It’s perfect for you if you’re interested in getting a little buzzed and not spending too much money on alcohol or anyone of the other more heavy-duty drinks out there!

Have you heard of Happoshu? It’s a term in Japan that usually refers to beer-like drink with a malt content of less than 67%. Happoshu is popular among consumers for having lower tax rates compared to other drinks from the “beer” category.

20. Sencha

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image source: westholmetea.com

So what is the next Japanese drink? They’re Sencha. A tea that has been popular for centuries, it’s brewed in water at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit and then steeped with ground green tea leaves.

It produces a lighter flavor than other types of teas like oolong or black but still delivers plenty of antioxidants!

21. Tamaryokucha

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image source: Japanese Tea Sommelier

What’s your favorite Japanese drink?

If you’re looking for a Japanese drink that’s light, refreshing, and delicious, look no further than Tamaryokucha. The name sounds unfamiliar, but it tastes even better!

It has ingredients like green tea leaves and roasted brown rice to create this special blend of flavors in your cup. If you’re looking for something unique that is unlike traditional green tea, then this is the way to go!

*Wrap It Up

What are the most popular drinks in Japan? With so many to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of 21 drinks that cover alcoholic and non-alcoholic options alike! From kombucha to soy milk, these beverages will satisfy any taste bud or dietary restriction.

Which drink out of these list do you want to try first? comment below!

More article about Japan: What is Japan known for?

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