I Tried 7 Japanese Drinks and Here's What I Thought about Them

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aside from street food, one of the items in my to-do list is to try locally-sold bottled and canned drinks in Tokyo. From reading other blogs and watching YouTube videos, I’ve learned that Japan is known to have a wide range of ready-to-drink beverages, as well as limited-edition juice and carbonated drinks. In addition, they also have fruity, carbonated concoctions with low alcohol content (known as Chu-hai) which are popular with young adults.

japanese drinks

As you can see, I kept all the empty containers after trying them all so I can put my thoughts into them. The products I’m going to feature here do not cost more than ¥160. I believe they’re much cheaper at the grocery, but since I was always on the go, I bought these drinks at convenience stores near our hotel and vending machines at train stations.

So without further ado, here are 7 Japanese drinks you might see when you visit Tokyo.

1. Kirin Santorini Style

japanese fruity alcoholic beverage in can

Kirin Company is one of the biggest beverage-manufacturing companies in Japan. They have brewery operations and softdrinks manufacturing businesses. And when you visit the convenience store, you’ll find a wide array of Chu-hai from Kirin and other brands like Suntory and Asahi.

The first one I tried was Santorini Style. It has a peach, fruity soda taste and 0.3% alcohol content. The peach taste is actually very light and not the candy-peach flavor so it’s definitely refreshing. Because the alcohol content is very low, you won’t experience any bitter taste as you consume this.

2. Kirin Apple & Grape

Kirin Apple & Grape fruity alcoholic drink

As the name suggests, this Chu-hai is a combination of apple and grape flavors, though I felt like the grape flavor is too overpowering for my liking. It contains 1.6% alcohol content, which I think clashes with the apple-grape combination and in turn, makes this Chu-hai a bit bitter.

3. Yakult Big Bottle Drink

yakult probiotic drink

Yakult lovers, unite! Yakult is a highly popular probiotic dairy product. If my memory serves me right, Yakult almost has the same packaging ever since I was a kid. To find that there’s another Yakult beverage out there was truly a treat for me! I got this big bottle at a Yakult vending machine in Akasaka subway exit C6. You’ll find many of these Yakult-only vending machines in numerous subway transfers and stations. The color of the liquid is a bit lighter than the usual probiotic product that we know and the taste is lighter. Imagine the original Yakult formula being diluted, thus having a less striking taste. Still tastes like Yakult, but you can leisurely drink it like water or fruit juice.

4. Fanta Peach

fanta peach soda

Remember we used to have the colorful range of Fanta in the Philippines? Now we can only have Fanta in other parts of the world, as our counterpart here is Royal Tru-Orange. Fanta is known for its fruity, carbonated drinks and the ones I remembered from my childhood were green apple, grape, and strawberry flavors. Craving for soda, I reached out for Fanta over the usual Coke and Sprite (plus I haven’t tried the peach flavor before). The taste was as refreshing as I imagined it to be. The carbonated drink isn’t as acidic as Coke and I found myself finishing the bottle in just a short time.

5. Kirin Lemon Tea

lemon tea juice drink

I first saw this Kirin brand Lemon Tea drink from one passenger on board the N’EX train. I was reminded of the C2 lemon drink we have in the Philippines so I purchased this at the convenience store. The taste seemed to have less artificial flavors than C2. Plus, Kirin’s Lemon Tea drink has the same refreshing taste even when left at room temperature.

6. POM Orange Juice

orange juice

I got this bottle of POM orange juice in a vending machine at JR Shinkansen area. It’s made up of 100% blended juice (orange, satsuma, mandarin orange). At first, it tastes really sour, but after a while, I could taste the sweetness of this drink. The consistency is also thicker than a regular fruit juice.

7. DyDo Corn Soup

corn soup in metal bottle

DyDo Corn Soup is technically a soup in a drink bottle. Similar to POM orange juice, I got this one at a vending machine in JR Shinkansen (near the waiting area). It’s one of the products you can purchase hot, straight from the machine. Think of Japanese sweet corn made into a thick and creamy, hot soup, and then consumed on a cold, winter day. The bottle also contains plenty of corn kernels.

This particular product is packaged in a screw cap metal bottle and this one's pretty difficult to find in other vending machines around Tokyo metro. I only found this at JR Shinkansen. There are other corn soup products in many vending machines, but they are packaged in a plastic container. I didn’t try that one, but my aunt said the DyDo Corn Soup in the metal container tastes better. I believe a lot of people love this variant because when we arrived back to Tokyo from Gala Yuzawa at 6:30 PM, all four vending machines had sold out on DyDo Corn Soup.

So which of these drinks do I like best?

Japanese drinks in cans and bottles

My top 3 favorites (in order of preference) are DyDo Corn Soup, Kirin Santorini Style, and Yakult Big Bottle Drink. My least favorite is Kirin Apple & Grape chu-hai, but that’s because I’m not a fan of grape juice. Combining this juice with alcohol tastes like cough syrup to me.

japan vending machines
hot and cold drinks on vending machine
hot and cold drinks on vending machine

Have you tried any of these Japanese drinks? What’s your favorite?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The contents of this entry are purely my opinion and 100% honest based on my tasting experience.

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