7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!

More and more people worldwide have come to know about Nihonshu (the unique alcoholic beverages of Japan), sake and shochu. Even our green tea is already famed for its subtle flavour and health benefits. Yet there are many other interesting drinks for the visitors to try in Japan; here is just a few of the more popular ones likely to appeal to the non-Japanese palate.



 

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!

 

1. Amazake

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_amazake

Made from fermented rice and served warm, this sweet, thick-textured low alcohol beverage is often offered at temples and shrines at new year. It is also commonly found at tourist spots in winter. Amazake is probably the most robust and warming Japanese drink.

 

2. Umeshu, Japanese Plum Wine

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_umeshu

Actually, ume is not a plum, it is more closely related to prune. This delicious, sweet and sour Japanese drink is typically made by steeping whole, unripened ume, including the stone, in shochu and sugar. Brands such as Choya and Takara Shuzo make ideal souvenir gifts.

 

3. Awamori

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_awamori

Similar to shochu, this distilled liquor from Okinawa is made with Thai rice. Awamori has an ABV of between 25% and 43% and is matured for between 3 and 25 years.

 

4. Matcha

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_matcha

As you might expect, green tea is everywhere in Japan. However, the specially grown and harvested and powdered matcha is the ultimate green tea experience. The best way to enjoy the rich, deep flavour of matcha, whilst partaking in an essential element of Japanese culture, is through the tea ceremony. If you have the opportunity to experience a tea ceremony, I suggest you take it.

 

5. Other Green Teas

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_ryokucha

Ryoku-cha is the generic name for a variety of steamed, green leaf teas that are widely served in Japanese restaurants. Visitors may also encounter hoji-cha, which is roasted green tea with a brownish hue and delicately nutty flavour.Genmai-cha is green tea combined with roasted brown rice. With its pale yellow colour and mild flavour, genmai-cha combines the subtle, grassy tones of green tea with the delicious aroma of roasted rice. Totally delicious!

 

6. Grain Teas

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_grain tea

Soba-cha is a tea made from roasted buckwheat kernels, as used to make soba noodles. Often served at soba restaurants, its malty and nutty flavour makes this a popular Japanese drink.Chilled mugi-cha is the essential refreshment during Japan’s hot and humid summers. Brewed from barley kernels, it is both caffeine and calorie free and has a wheaty flavour.

 

7. Energy Drinks

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!_energy drink

Perhaps not exactly traditional, these Japanese drinks have become very much a part of the salaryman culture. Typically sold in small brown bottles at supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies, energy drinks may contain a high concentration of caffeine and/or other natural stimulants and vitamins. Manufacturers claim they give an energy boost to busy company workers; whether this is true or not is, of course, debatable.

 

Conclusion

Many Japanese drinks have been adopted to some degree in the West, such as Yakult, Calpis and the sports drinks like Pocari Sweat. Soya milk too has become an important requisite of the health foods boom in many countries. However, not all Japanese drinks will appeal to a western palate. Perhaps the most challenging is aojiru, which literally means green soup. Its health benefits are many, but its flavour is… indescribable! If you can drink a glass of aojiru, you will gain the respect and admiration of your Japanese hosts.

 

7 Japanese Traditional Drinks You Should Try!

1. Amazake
2. Umeshu, Japanese Plum Wine
3. Awamori
4. Matcha
5. Other Green Teas
6. Grain Teas
7. Energy Drinks