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Japanese Seasonal Drinks: A Taste of Tradition

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Ready to explore the vibrant world of Japanese beverages? Did you know that Japan offers an exceptional variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, fitting every season? In this article, we'll take a fascinating journey through traditional and modern Japanese drinks, allowing you to indulge in its rich culinary culture one sip at a time.

Let's dive into the taste of tradition!

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional Japanese drinks like green tea, sake, craft beer, and whisky offer a taste of Japan's rich culinary culture and history.

  • Non - alcoholic Japanese drinks include royal milk tea, bubble tea, flavored soy milk, Yakult, aloe drinks, melon soda, Calpis, Pocari Sweat, and Ramune.

  • Alcoholic Japanese drinks such as sake (Nihonshu), craft beer, whisky, umeshu (plum wine), shochu (distilled spirit), and chuhai are popular choices for those looking to experience the flavors of Japan.

  • Seasonal Japanese drinks like sweet red bean broth and yaki imo flavored juice showcase the unique tastes of each season.

Exploring Traditional Japanese Drinks

The richness of Japanese culture unfolds in the variety of their traditional drinks. Ranging from refreshing non-alcoholic beverages to sophisticated adult libations, each drink tells a different story about Japan's history and customs.

For tea lovers, there's no missing out on the famous Green Tea, existing in 20 distinct variations for an array of taste experiences. Among these is Matcha tea, an integral part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony known as 'chado'.

On your trip around Japan, indulge yourself in Nihonshu - more commonly known abroad as Sake. This rice wine boasts regional specialties and has been meticulously crafted over centuries to perfect its flavor and brewing technique.

Beyond sake though, be sure not to miss out on the recent boom in Japanese Craft Beer culture offering unique flavors that cater to everyone's palate. Lastly but certainly not least is the internationally recognized pride of Japan – its Whisky! Visit local distilleries and participate in tastings sessions for an unforgettable encounter with this world-class spirit.

Non-Alcoholic Japanese Drinks

Non-Alcoholic Japanese Drinks offer a wide range of flavors, including green tea, royal milk tea, bubble tea, flavored soy milk, yakult, aloe drinks, melon soda, calpis, pocari sweat, and ramune.

Green Tea

green tea

Green tea, a true symbol of Japanese culture, offers a taste journey unlike any other. Originating from China in the 9th century and brought to Japan by Buddhist monks, it's deeply embedded in the country's traditions.

You'll find around 20 different variations of green tea available throughout Japan.

One fascinating variety is matcha tea; vibrant green powder used in traditional chado or tea ceremonies often hosted at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Another popular choice among locals and tourists alike is sencha, known for its balanced flavor profile that ranges from sweet to bitter.

Be sure not to miss out on genmaicha either! It's an intriguing blend of green tea with puffed brown rice for added depth - all are must-try experiences while exploring Japanese drinks.

Royal Milk Tea

royal milk tea

Stepping into a Japanese convenience store or café, you are likely to encounter Royal Milk Tea among the drink choices. Rich in flavor and velvety smooth, this popular non-alcoholic beverage combines black tea with milk, creating an indulgent treat enjoyed hot or cold.

The preparation method involves boiling the two main ingredients together, which enhances both their flavors for a truly unique taste experience exclusive to Japan. During certain seasons like springtime, specialty varieties such as Strawberry Chocolat Royal Milk Tea gain popularity among locals and travelers alike for their innovative mix of traditional and modern elements.

Sampling this quintessential Japanese drink should be on every foreign traveler's must-do list when exploring Japan's rich food and beverage culture.

Bubble Tea

bubble tea

Bubble tea, originating from Taiwan, has become a popular beverage in Japan, particularly among younger generations. It is considered one of the many Japanese seasonal drinks enjoyed by locals and foreign travelers alike.

Bubble tea is known for its unique combination of tea flavors, topped with tapioca balls that add a delightful chewy texture to each sip. With options like green tea, royal milk tea, flavored soy milk, Yakult, and Calpis also available, there is no shortage of refreshing non-alcoholic Japanese drinks to try during your visit.

Flavored Soy Milk

soy milk tea

Flavored soy milk is a popular non-alcoholic Japanese drink with a variety of flavors to choose from. It has gained popularity as a stand-alone beverage and is often enjoyed by locals and foreign travelers alike.

Flavored soy milk is also associated with Japanese seasonal drinks, adding a unique twist to traditional flavors.



Yakult is a popular probiotic drink in Japan that was invented by a Japanese scientist. It is considered part of the country's traditional and seasonal drinks. Known for its health benefits, Yakult has a unique taste that many locals enjoy.

It has become a staple in Japanese culture, making it one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the country. Foreign travelers visiting Japan should definitely try Yakult to experience this iconic Japanese drink firsthand.

Aloe Drinks

aloe drinks

Aloe drinks are a popular choice among non-alcoholic Japanese beverages. Made from the aloe vera plant, these drinks are not only refreshing but also considered beneficial for health.

Aloe drinks fall under the category of Japanese seasonal drinks and are enjoyed by locals and foreign travelers alike. Whether you're looking to quench your thirst or seeking a healthy beverage option, trying out an aloe drink can be a delightful experience during your time in Japan.

Melon Soda

melon soda

Melon soda is a beloved drink in Japan, especially among high school students and at karaoke bars. It holds a special place in Japanese beverage culture as one of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks.

Alongside other favorites like green tea, royal milk tea, bubble tea, and flavored soy milk, melon soda enriches the diverse range of Japanese beverages. Its vibrant green color and refreshing taste make it a must-try for any foreign traveler exploring traditional Japanese drinks.



Calpis is a popular non-carbonated soft drink in Japan that is enjoyed by people of all ages. It is considered one of the traditional Japanese drinks and is associated with Japanese seasonal beverages as well.

Calpis has a unique taste that offers foreign travelers a glimpse into Japanese culture and tradition. With its refreshing flavor and wide availability, trying Calpis is a must for anyone looking to experience the authentic flavors of Japan.

Pocari Sweat

pocari sweat

Pocari Sweat is a popular non-carbonated isotonic sports drink in Japan. It is often chosen by athletes because it helps replenish fluids and minerals lost during physical activity.

As part of the Japanese seasonal drinks tradition, Pocari Sweat has gained popularity among locals and foreign travelers alike. This refreshing beverage is known for its ability to hydrate effectively, making it a go-to choice for those looking to quench their thirst after a workout or on a hot summer day.

Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Tokyo or hiking through scenic trails in Kyoto, don't miss the opportunity to try Pocari Sweat as part of your Japanese beverage experience.



Ramune is a popular carbonated soda in Japan that comes in various flavors. It is considered a taste of tradition and is often enjoyed during Japanese seasonal festivities. One distinctive feature of Ramune is its unique packaging, which includes a marble seal.

Foreign travelers in Japan will have the opportunity to try this iconic drink and experience the refreshing taste it offers. Whether it's enjoying Ramune on a hot summer day or celebrating with friends during a festival, this fizzy beverage provides a delightful way to quench your thirst and immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

Alcoholic Japanese Drinks

Japanese Sake (Nihonshu), Japanese Craft Beer, Japanese Whisky, Umeshu, Shochu, and Chuhai are popular alcoholic drinks in Japan.

Japanese Sake (Nihonshu)

japanese sake

Japanese Sake, also known as Nihonshu, is a traditional rice wine that holds a special place in Japanese culture. It is highly revered and considered the most famous drink in Japan.

With an alcohol content ranging from 15-20%, sake comes in various types and flavors to suit different tastes. Whether you're enjoying it at a formal event or casually sipping it at an izakaya, experiencing the complexity of sake is an essential part of immersing yourself in Japanese traditions.

So raise your glass and toast to the rich heritage of this beloved beverage!

Japanese Craft Beer

japanese craft beer

Japanese craft beer has become incredibly popular in recent years, experiencing a significant boom. This unique type of beer offers flavors and interpretations that you won't find anywhere else.

When visiting Japan, be sure to try some Japanese craft beer to get a taste of tradition and experience the country's rich brewing culture. Additionally, don't forget to explore other alcoholic Japanese drinks as well, as they are often associated with Japanese craft beer.

So raise your glass and savor the delicious flavors that Japanese craft beer has to offer during your trip to Japan!

Japanese Whisky

japanese whisky

Japanese whisky has gained international recognition and is highly regarded. It has caught the attention of whiskey enthusiasts around the world after winning numerous awards. Brands like Hibiki, Nikka, and Yamazaki are especially sought after.

When visiting Japan, don't miss the opportunity to try Japanese whisky alongside other traditional drinks like sake and umeshu. One of the things that sets Japanese whisky apart is its unique production methods, which include using malted barley and aging in oak barrels for a distinctive flavor profile.

Whether you're a seasoned whiskey connoisseur or just starting to explore this spirit, Japanese whisky is definitely worth experiencing during your trip to Japan.



Umeshu is a traditional Japanese drink that is made from the fruit ume, which closely resembles a plum. It has a sweet taste with a slightly sour aftertaste, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Umeshu is created through the process of fermenting Japanese plums in shochu or white liquor. This delightful beverage is known not only for its delicious flavor, but also for its health benefits and cultural significance in Japan.

It is often considered to be one of the quintessential seasonal drinks that represents the rich tradition and flavors of Japan.



Shochu is a popular Japanese alcohol with a higher alcohol content compared to sake. It is made through distillation and is associated with Japanese seasonal drinks, making it a taste of tradition.

Shochu can be made from various base ingredients like potatoes, barley, and rice. In Japan, it is common to mix shochu with another sweet drink called chuhai to create a refreshing mixed drink.

Foreign travelers in Japan should definitely try shochu if they want to experience the rich flavors and traditions of Japanese alcoholic beverages.



Chuhai is a popular mixed drink in Japan that combines shochu, a distilled beverage similar to vodka, with other sweet drinks like soda or tea. It has a higher alcohol content compared to sake, ranging from 35-40%.

This refreshing and customizable drink can be enjoyed in various flavors, making it a favorite among locals and foreign travelers alike. So whether you prefer it with soda or tea, chuhai offers a fun and delicious way to experience Japanese drinking culture.

Seasonal Japanese Drinks

Experience the unique flavors of Japan's changing seasons with delicious drinks like Sweet Red Bean Broth, Yaki Imo flavored Juice, Strawberry Chocolat Royal Milk Tea, and refreshing Coconut Milk.

Sweet Red Bean Broth (Winter)

sweet red bean broth

Dainagon Shiruko is a traditional Japanese drink that foreigners visiting Japan should definitely try during the winter months. This delightful beverage is made from azuki beans and has a unique flavor that combines sweetness with a hint of earthiness.

What sets Dainagon Shiruko apart is its narrow top part of the can, allowing for an even flow of beans as you sip on this warm and comforting broth. So, when in Japan during the winter season, make sure to savor the rich flavors of Dainagon Shiruko and experience a true taste of tradition.

Yaki Imo flavored Juice (Autumn)

yaki imo flavored juice

Yaki Imo flavored Juice (Autumn) is a unique seasonal drink made by House Wellness Foods. This delicious beverage aims to capture the taste of stone-roasted potatoes, a popular autumn treat in Japan.

Packed with 4.8 grams of fiber and 10 milligrams of Vitamin E, it's not just tasty but also provides some nutritional benefits. It's important to note that Yaki Imo flavored Juice is part of a constantly changing selection of specialty flavors and limited edition products in Japan, so it's only available for a limited time and while supplies last.

Don't miss out on this delightful taste of autumn during your visit!

Strawberry Chocolat Royal Milk Tea (Spring)

chocolate royal tea

The Strawberry Chocolat Royal Milk Tea is a seasonal treat that captures the essence of spring in Japan. With its delightful combination of chocolate and strawberry flavors, this drink is a must-try for anyone visiting during this time of year.

Made by the Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, it represents both tradition and innovation in Japanese beverages. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and taste sensations of Japan by indulging in this delectable drink during your travels.

Coconut Milk (Summer)

coconut milk

Coconut milk is a refreshing and popular choice for a summer drink in Japan. With its tropical flavor and creamy texture, it offers a delightful respite from the heat. Coconut milk can be enjoyed on its own or incorporated into various beverages, such as smoothies or iced coffees.

It provides a natural sweetness without being overly sugary, making it a healthier alternative to some other summer drinks. Whether you savor it at a beachside cafe or grab one from a convenience store, coconut milk is the perfect way to cool down during Japan's hot summer months.


In conclusion, exploring traditional Japanese drinks is an exciting way to immerse oneself in the rich culture and flavors of Japan. From refreshing green tea to unique and delicious seasonal beverages, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

So next time you visit Japan, be sure to try out these traditional Japanese drinks and experience a taste of tradition like never before! Cheers!


Some popular Japanese seasonal drinks include amazake, Japanese green tea, hojicha, and ginger tea.

Amazake is a traditional Japanese sweet and low-alcohol drink made from fermented rice.

Yes, Starbucks offers Japanese green tea as one of their beverage options in Japan.

You can find Japanese seasonal drinks in various places, including convenience stores, supermarkets, vending machines, and specialty stores across Japan.

Hojicha is a type of roasted Japanese green tea known for its unique aroma and flavor.

Mochi is not a drink, but a traditional Japanese rice cake made from sticky rice. It is often served with hot green tea.

Yes, there are Japanese energy drinks available in the market, offering a boost of energy for those in need.

Some popular Japanese drinks during summer include ramune, amazake, and mitsuya cider.

Yes, Starbucks has many stores across Japan, offering a range of beverages including Japanese seasonal drinks.

Yes, Japan is known for its limited-edition and exclusive drinks, often released during specific seasons or events.