7 Strange but Awesome Soft Drinks You Should Definitely Try in Japan!

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  • Japan is famous for its weird and wacky things. Whether it be its unique food, cosmic gadgets, bizarre themed restaurants or crazy television shows, people tend to associate Japan with innovative and distinctive takes on all kinds of normal things!

    One thing Japan has taken to new levels is its soft drinks. There are so many different varieties of soft drinks in Japan, which you can see if you enter any convenience store here. Japanese people drink many soft drinks, and you can really find so many funky flavors here.

    Even western drinks manufacturers such as Pepsi have invented weird and wonderful new flavors just for Japan, so you won’t be able to find them anywhere else in the world! If you are visiting Japan and fancy trying something new and different, why not try some of these great tasting and well-loved soft drinks in Japan! This article will tell you about seven of them, although there are an endless amount of others!

    1. Calpis

    Calpis, the ubiquitous cultured milk drink in Japan, is a thin milky white drink that tastes like yoghurt. It is seen everywhere from cartons in convenience stores, cans in vending machines, and cocktail sours in local bars.

    Due to how the name sounds in English, it is marketed as Calpico in western countries. Calpis is also sold as a concentrate in supermarkets. The premixed version is called Calpis Water, and the sodas come in different flavors such as peach, banana and fruit punch, and even sparkly and jelly versions!

    Calpis drinks are not just a novelty in Japan but are incredibly popular for all ages. You can find them basically everywhere, and they are known for filling you up but also being a tasty and cheap snack or refreshing drink to enjoy anytime and anyplace.

    It has also spawned knock-offs which use the generic term “au lait オレ”. They are basically the same thing but from other brands. The Calpis flavor is so popular that it has been made into candy, ice cream, and even pastries!

    2. Melon Soda

    Melon Soda is a really popular drink in Japan! People in the west may never have tried it before, and may not like the look of it. Indeed, it is not fresh melon soda like you might find at nice juice bars or in tropical places.

    The color is a toxic neon green and clearly very artificial, but what it lacks in freshness it makes up in pure delicious taste! The taste is not particularly lie melon, but it could be compared to the taste of cream soda, being sweet and mild.

    In Japan, it usually comes served with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top of it. This makes it taste even better! You can choose from a few great varieties such as melon float soda, melon cream soda, and coke float soda.

    You can find melon soda in convenience stores from various brands. You might also enjoy it when you go karaoke. It seems to be a popular choice to have a melon soda with ice cream while singing along to some songs with friends! What’s more, you can put as much ice cream on as you want! It can get pretty messy!

    3. Fanta

    Fanta is another drink which is hugely popular around the world but which has taken on a world of its own here in Japan. The bottles often look really cool and enticing, and you can also choose to drink them from aluminium cans and glass bottles if you want!

    There are some amazing flavors available in Japan! I have seen ones such as lemon squash, white peach, melon, and ume (Japanese plum). There are also more usual flavors such as grape and orange. Fanta also releases limited and seasonal editions such as Okinawan Lime, Halloween Orange and Purple Grape, Pear, and Apricot!

    Again, you can find Fanta drinks everywhere from convenience stores to vending machines at train stations, although the flavors might vary and change throughout the year! Why not pick up a bottle next time you feel thirsty and give a new flavour a try?

    4. Weird Pepsi

    We all know Pepsi, and I’m sure all of us have tried it before. Pepsi is one of the most well-known soft drink manufacturers in the world, and is available everywhere. It was always famous for being a rival to Coke, and personally I always regarded it as Coke’s poor cousin.

    It seemed to be quite dull in most countries, not really inventing new flavors or experimenting with new ideas. However, all this changes when you discover the unique Pepsi flavors in Japan!

    Perhaps one of the most widely consumed Pepsi flavors in Japan is Pepsi Pink, which is a delicious strawberry milk flavor. You can also find Salty Watermelon, Lemon and Mint, Red Bean, Ice Cucumber, and Ginger!

    I would definitely recommend the amazing Pepsi Pink flavor! The others are good too, and will give you a brand new impression of the Pepsi brand!

    5. Pocari Sweat

    This drink has a bit of an odd name but is actually a popular sports electrolyte replenishing drink much like H2O or Aquarius!

    Besides the usual cans and PET bottles, Pocari Sweat is also available in powder form. The simple blue packaging and huge font are surprisingly memorable; you’d certainly be able to spot and make a dash for it on a hot summer day!

    6. Juice/Jelly Pouches – Minute Maid , Qoo

    These little packets of goodness are soo good! The ones from Minute Maid translate to a meal of “morning fruit”! How convenient is that.

    Another extremely kawaii (Japanese for “cute”) pouch is the Qoo jelly packs that come in flavors like peach and muscat (green grape) and grape (red grape). I’m such a sucker for packaging; that tubby blue munchkin is too cute to resist!

    7. Cider

    Any type of clear flavored soda in Japanese is called a cider. They are worlds apart from the alcoholic oak aged cider! Usually, house brands from convenience stores like 7/11 or Family Mart have their own line of sodas and they’re always labeled as ciders.

    Pineapple cider, acerola cider, ramune cider.. You name it, they’ve got it!

    So here are just seven of the most unique and tasty types of soft drinks you can find in Japan. You could spend years just trying a different one each day! If you feel like a tasty adventure, why not give some of these drinks a try and see what you think?

    *Featured Image: jp.fotolia.com/