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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Japan Tours and Life Style

Say Cheers with these 18 Popular Japanese Drinks

If you believe sake and matcha green tea are the only two beverages available in Japan, you’re in for a treat! Japan boasts every type of flavour you might imagine, including sweet, sour, acidic, and even salty. Do you appreciate alcoholic beverages such as plum wine or chuhai? Perhaps a nice cup of sakura tea washes down your midday snack? There are so many great drinks in Japan, each with its own distinct flavour. There’s too much to sample with new products arriving weekly in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores! It’s possible that it’ll be gone from the stores before you get a chance to taste it.

The culinary sector in Japan is well-known, with a superb restaurant scene boasting the most Michelin-starred restaurants per capita, as well as the pride and attention that each chef puts into their job. People all around the world have been enamoured with the greatest Japanese foods, such as sushi and ramen, which have subsequently become some of the world’s most popular dishes. But it’s not just the food that’s celebrated in Japan; the country’s drinking culture is also noteworthy. Japan has everything you could possibly desire to drink, from a blend of finely prepared matcha to convenience store coffees.

Bubble Tea

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Bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink that has just recently made its way onto menus in Japan’s major cities, has become a huge hit, particularly among the younger generations. This tea was originally a milk tea (similar to Royal Milk Tea) brewed with black, oolong, or jasmine tea leaves with tapioca balls. In most cases, the tea is served sweetened with sugar.

Flavored Soy Milk

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Soy milk, a natural byproduct of grinding soybeans to make tofu, has long been used in Japan as a dairy milk substitute. It’s a beverage that, once again, maintains a special position in Japanese cuisine, and it’s used to make yuba, or boiling soy milk skin. It’s also the basis for tonyu nabe, a traditional winter stew (soy milk hotpot). However, the popularity of soy milk as a stand-alone beverage has soared in recent years, with several flavoured variants including banana, sakura, and, of course, matcha! Limited-edition flavours, such as pudding-flavored soy milk, are available.

Yakult

 

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Yakult is commonly referred to as the “World’s Most Conquered Japanese Drink.” Yakult is a probiotic yoghurt drink that was first created in 1935 and is not only delicious but also incredibly healthy. Dr. Minoru Shirota, a well-known Japanese chemist, devised this drink in 1935. This small yet powerful drink has been scientifically proven to aid in the maintenance of a healthy stomach and the increase of good bacteria in your system. The drink is so popular in Japan that it is not only available in a variety of tastes, but it is also delivered door-to-door and to offices every day, and it even has its own baseball club (the Yakult Swallows).

The advent of the Yakult Lady, a commercial approach in which nice and happy ladies would go door to door selling Yakult products, helped Yakult become a household name in the 1980s. Yakult is now enjoyed in 40 nations and regions around the world, with 35 million Yakult products consumed every day.

Aloe Drinks

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Okinawa is well-known for its abundance of tropical fruits and vegetables. One of the most well-known is its aloe vera plant, which is grown all year. The plant has over 200 active chemicals and vitamins, and the Okinawans consider it to be one of their secrets to living a long life! Aloe vera juice and aloe yoghurt drinks are currently widely accessible in Japan and are among the most popular drinks.

Amazake

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Amazake is possibly the most unusual drink on this list, and it has a rich history. It is a traditional Japanese fermented rice drink. It has a creamy, thick consistency with a sweet flavour and can be served chilled or warm/hot. Amazake literally means “sweet” “sake.” Amazake is a low-alcohol or non-alcohol sake that is usually referred to as sweet sake. It’s sometimes created with the leftover sake kasu from the Japanese sake brewing process, which gives it a delightful tang. It can be served hot or cold, although it’s more commonly served hot in the winter to keep winter revellers warm on colder evenings.

The Nihon Shoki or The Chronicles of Japan – the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history – mentions amazake from the Kofun period (250 to 538 AD).

Amazake comes in two varieties. Non-alcoholic amazake created with rice koji and alcoholic amazake made with sake lee If you’re familiar with the complimentary Korean sweet rice drink (sikhye) provided at the conclusion of a dinner at a Korean restaurant, you might mistake amazake for it. It isn’t the case. Sikhye is produced with malted barley flour, rice, sugar, and water, while amazake is created with rice, water, and sake lees or rice koji.

Coffee

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While many people think of Japan as the land of green tea, make no mistake: it is also a coffee lover’s dream. Coffee, the world’s most popular drink after water, can be found almost anywhere in Japan, from convenience stores and vending machines to tiny shops owned by coffee purists selling some of the world’s most costly and rare coffees. Visitors to Japan should not pass up the chance to drink a cup of drip coffee, which is the preferred way of brewing throughout the country.

Fortunately, Japanese vending machines have the unique capability of producing both hot and cold versions of the same drink, ensuring that a hot cup of coffee is never far away! Vending machine coffee in Japan is frequently sold in a small can, allowing you to gulp it down in a few sips before boarding the train. You name it: mocha, latte, decaf, espresso. You’ll almost surely find it in a Japanese vending machine if you can order it at a Starbucks in Japan.

Japanese Sake (Nihonshu)

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In Japan, the term “sake” refers to all alcoholic beverages. Japanese sake is referred to as Nihonshu in Japan. It’s a fermented beverage produced with rice, the country’s major food grain, and plenty of soft water. Since ancient times, when nihonshu was only served to the ruling classes, the procedure of manufacturing sake has been perfected. Nihonshu began to be enjoyed by ordinary citizens as early as the Kamakura period, around the 13th century. It had continued to develop in popularity, if slowly, by the Momoyama period or the end of the 16th century. Sake-making skills were transmitted across Japan during the 15th and 16th centuries, when regional warlord rivalry were at their peak, resulting in the numerous unique kinds of jizake, or locally brewed sake.

Sake is thought to be Japan’s oldest alcoholic beverage, with evidence of sake drinking dating back to the third century. This is a drink that can be served cold in the summer or hot in the winter, and it is a must-try for any visitor to Japan. Sake comes in a wide range of flavours and regional specialties. You may also locate a large number of specialist sake bars where you can sample a wide range of sakes.

Japanese Craft Beer

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Craft beer in Japan has exploded in popularity in recent years, similar to the expansion of Japanese whisky. Many different craft beer venues are now peppered over the country, offering some wonderful Japanese interpretations of beers like IPAs and stouts, as well as some truly distinctive Japanese flavours like beers made with sakura or yuzu!

However, the craft beer market has been steadily increasing since 1994, and it has undergone a number of changes since the government eased the regulations for brewing beer. Breweries used to need to produce at least 2 million litres of beer each year to get a licence, which was far beyond the capabilities of all small breweries. In 1994, the government reduced this limit to 60,000 litres per year for a beer licence, which allows only water, malt, hops, and yeast, or 6,000 litres for a happoshu licence, which requires a specified number of non-beer components, such as tea, fruit, or in certain cases salmon.

Green Tea

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Green tea originated in China, and tradition has it that two Buddhist monks, Saicho and Kukai, introduced the first green tea seeds to Japan in the early 9th century. These seeds were subsequently planted in Uji, near Kyoto, which became known as the birthplace of Japanese green tea (particularly, Uji matcha).

Matcha is a frothy brew made from green tea powder that has a perfectly balanced sweet and bitter flavour characteristic. While matcha tea is the conventional method, matcha powder is frequently used to flavour delicacies like cookies, cakes, and lattes. Aside from being wonderful, matcha green tea has a long history and culture that can elevate your love of the beverage to new heights.

Green tea is available in around 20 different varieties in Japan nowadays. Green tea flavour has also become a national icon, appearing in everything from Kit Kats to soap! Nothing, however, better exemplifies the significance of green tea in Japanese society than the traditional tea ceremony, often known as chado or “the method of tea”. This Zen Buddhist ritual, which uses the matcha tea kind of green tea, has come to represent Japanese culture to the outside world and revolves around the presentation and pleasure of the modest beverage.

Royal Milk Tea

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In line with Japan’s various teas, Royal Milk Tea is a unique drink that is quite popular among Japanese people. After brewing this blend of “English” tea (a combination of Assam and Darjeeling leaves), a generous amount of milk is added. This can then be sweetened to taste with milk or honey. This is a drink that may be sipped hot or cold and is popular all year.

Lipton introduced Royal milk tea to Japan in 1965, and it has since evolved to become one of the most popular beverages in the country. Unlike ordinary milk tea, which is produced with black tea and milk, royal milk tea has a foundation brewed from high-quality Darjeeling or Assam tea leaves, giving it a touch of royalty. Royal milk tea has a silky texture and can be served hot or cold to give a touch of richness to your meal.

Melon Soda

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While most people are familiar with orange or grape soda, many Japanese people prefer the delicious fizz of melon soda. From convenience stores and restaurants to karaoke clubs and vending machines, emerald green melon soda may be found almost anywhere in Japan. The iridescent fizz is very sweet, with a hint of syrupy thickness, making it especially popular with children. For a delicious twist, make a melon soda float with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. This is how it will be served in many family restaurants and karaoke bars, providing a pleasant refresher to beat the heat throughout the blazing Japanese summer.

Calpis

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Calpis is a popular Japanese drink that is tangy, fruity, and refreshing. It originally made a sensation in Japan in 1919 when it became the country’s first drink to contain lactic acid, a component that gives it a smooth, creamy consistency despite its fruity flavour. Calpis is a non-carbonated soft drink that has a distinct flavour. It has a milky, somewhat sweet mouthfeel and a mild, slightly sour aftertaste, similar to Yakult. It’s a drink that appeals to people of all ages and can be found all around the country. It is based on the ancient Mongolian drink airag, which Kaiun Mishima, the originator of Calpis, tried during a trip to Mongolia.

Pocari Sweat

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Pocari Sweat is one of the best-selling Japanese drinks of all time and a favourite among athletes and those on the run, despite its unappealing name. It is critical to stay hydrated in Japan during the summer months, as the weather may be oppressively hot and humid. Pocari Sweat is a delicious and energetic Japanese sports drink with a sweet taste balanced by a hint of saltiness, similar to Gatorade. Many people opt to carry it when mountain climbing or indulging in other strenuous physical activity since it works to replace electrolytes.

Ramune

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This vintage beverage is primarily recognised for its unusual bottle form and old-fashioned opening procedure, which involves pushing a glass marble through a rubber stopper. Ramune comes in a variety of flavours and is known for being sweet and popular with kids. Ramune is culturally associated with Japanese summer festivities, and while it might be difficult to open, the pleasant payoff is always worth the effort!

Japanese Whisky

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In 2014, the world of whisky was shocked when a Scottish whisky was defeated and a Japanese whisky was crowned the greatest in the world for the first time in history. The broad and varied array of local brands offered demonstrates that Japan takes whisky extremely seriously. The main Japanese distilleries also provide guided tours and sampling for individuals who are really interested in the process!

Umeshu

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Umeshu is a significantly more acceptable option than other traditional Japanese alcohols for those who cannot tolerate harsh liquor. It is a sweet or sour plum wine with a sticky consistency. Despite having a 10% alcohol concentration, umeshu is relatively easy to consume when served chilled. One fascinating aspect about umeshu is that, while home brewing of sake, beer, and liquor is prohibited in Japan, there is an exception for umeshu, and many individuals produce their own. If you’re visiting someone’s house, don’t be shocked if they give you a glass of their personal or family umeshu recipe!

Shochu

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Shochu is a distilled alcohol comparable to vodka generally created from rice, barley, sweet potatoes, or sugar cane, and is similar to sake in the first fermentation process. It has a very pure and clear flavour that, depending on the brew, can have an earthy undertone. Sweet potato shochu is the most popular, and it is widely believed that because to the high levels of enzymes in shochu, it will induce less hangovers. Even though there is no real scientific proof to back this up, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable!

Chuhai

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Chuhai is an umbrella phrase that refers to “shochu-highball” and is available in cans at almost every convenience store in Japan. Any variety of tastes, including lemon, melon, grape, grapefruit, or orange, are added to shochu, along with carbonation for a little additional fizz. Among all the chuhai available, the ubiquitous 9 percent Strong Zero is known for tasting almost exactly like juice despite its high alcohol content. If you despise the taste of alcohol, this is good news. If you have work tomorrow, this is bad news.

 

Japan’s food is well-known around the world, but its drinks are just as popular. Hundreds of distinctive Japanese drinks are available, the majority of which can be found in convenience stores and izakayas.

You can’t go wrong when it comes to testing new drinks in Japan! There’s so much to discover and try, and don’t get us started on matching Japanese drinks with delectable cuisine! While we’ve narrowed it down to 18, there are plenty more that didn’t make the cut, so don’t stop there. Get out there and sample as many as you can to continue to discover Japan’s gastronomic delights!

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