Non-alcoholic drinks in Japan are classified as organic since most are concoctions of various edible shrubs, herbs, vegetables, root crops, grains and fruit juices. They are marketed in bottles, aluminum cans and plastic containers. Some drinks are for winter while others are for the warm months. A few of the most common drinks in Japan are listed below.
Aojiru (あおじる；青汁) means ‘green drink’ or ‘green juice’ and is a vegetable drink usually made from kale. Developed in 1943 by Dr. Niro Endo (えんどう・にろう；遠藤仁郎)developed the drink in 1943 and claimed the drink cured his wife from nephritis and his son’s pneumonia. The drink gained in popularity in the 1980s when it was turned into a power marketed as a dietary supplement. Despite its awful, the market for aojiru exceeded $500 million in 2005.
Sold in cans and plastic canisters, Boss (ボス) coffee is by made by Suntory.
Similar to vanilla yogurt, Calpis (カルピス)is non-alcoholic with a light milky and acidic flavor. The drink is sold both in cans and bottles, and in concentrate form with milk or water as additives. Many foreigners who come to Japan find it difficult drinking something that sounds so much like cow urine.
Cheerio (チェリオ) is a carbonated soft drink that comes in a variety of flavors, including grape, orange and many more.
The highest grossing coffee beverage in Japan, Georgia (ジョージ 缶コーヒー) is a brand of coffee based drinks developed and sold by the Coca-Cola Company.
Green tea, or ryokucha (りょくちゃ;緑茶), is a traditional tea extracted from Camellia sinenses that is treated to attain minimal oxidation during processing in order to maintain its health enhancing properties. Green tea is so popular in Japan it is often simply referred to as ‘tea’ (ocha;おちゃ；お茶) or even ‘Japanese tea’ (nihoncha;にほんちゃ；日本茶). Green teas are graded according to quality and by which part of the plant is used. The best Japanese green teas are those that come from the Uji (うじ；宇治) region in Kyoto (きょうと；京都), although some prefer those obtained from Shizuoka Prefecture (しずおかけん；静岡県).
Developed by Kokuha Beverage Company, Hoppy (ホッピー) is a non-alcoholic beer that become popular as a mixer for shochu in post-WWII Japan when beer was unavailable to the ordinary Japanese person.
This beverage is available in vending machines, supermarkets, and convenience stores, or kombini (コンビニ), throughout Japan.
The literal meaning of jurokucha (じゅうろくちゃ；十六茶) is 16 teas. The drink consists of a blend of leaves, grains and fruits and is considered a health drink due to its rich dietary fiber content.
Lipovitan (リポビタン), or ‘Lipita’ for short, is an energy drink that is supposed to improve performance and relieve physical and mental fatigue. The ingredients are similar to the ubiquitous Red Bull and is being marketed in English-speaking countries as Libogen. Vodka lipos have made their way onto some drink menus but remember that they are potent concoctions and having several may cause insomnia.
A carbonated soft drink with a fruity taste, Match (マッチ) is very popular among tourists.
Mitsuya Cider (ミツ矢サイダー) a is carbonated soft drink produced by Asahi Breweries. Sold in lavishly designed bottles, it comes in various fruity flavors.
Mugicha (むぎちゃ;麦茶) is an herbal tea made from roasted barley that can be brewed with both hot or cold water. In Japan, it is most commonly served cold during the summer. Canned and bottles mugicha is available in vending machines.
Oronamin C Drink
Carbonated Oronamin C Drink (オロナニンCドリンク), the number one health drink in Japan in terms of sales.
Despite its peculiar name, Pocari Sweat (ポカリスエット) is both a sports drink/soft drink that resembles Arctic Shatter flavored Powerade. The drink enjoys popularity outside of Japan, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Indonesia. Numerous foreigners in Japan are conducting thorough searches throughout the country but have not been to find any Pocaris. When one is finally found, the next step is to discern the sweat extraction process.
Ramune (ラムネ) is a carbonated lemon-lime soft drink sold in a unique Codd-neck bottles, whose design is names after its inventor Hiram Codd.
Sangaria (サナガリア) is a tea based soft drink infused with vitamins. It is widely known to promote health and is not to be confused with the similar sounding sangria, which is a type of fruit-based wine cooler.
A Japanese green tea mixed with berries, almond, citrus and edible grass, Tamaryokucha (たまりょくちゃ；玉緑茶) comes in two variants: the pan fried or steamed.
Invented by Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult (ヤクルト) is a probiotic drink with live Lactobacillus casei bacteria to correct intestinal problems. It is a yogurt-like drink that is a fermented mixture of skimmed milk and sugar. Sold in 27 countries, Yakult was developed in 1930 by Minoru Shirota. The parent company, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. own one of Japan’s major league baseball teams, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.