Japanese Drinks



Japanese Drinks

Japanese drinks are essential to the culture and history of Japan, from Sake and Shochu in the warmer months to Yakult and Calpis in the cooler months. These drinks have been staples of Japanese life for centuries, but they’ve also been around almost as long as the country has existed!

Types of Japanese Drinks

  • Sake is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. It is the national spirit of Japan, and has been enjoyed by people in the country since ancient times. It is commonly served hot, but can also be enjoyed cold or at room temperature. Sake has a mild flavor and low-alcohol content, so it’s perfect for sipping slowly over a meal.
  • Shochu is a type of distilled spirit, similar to vodka. It is typically made from either sweet potatoes, rice, or barley, but can also be made from other grains such as wheat, buckwheat, and millet. Shochu is stronger than sake and has a higher alcohol content, but it’s still light enough to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
  • Matcha - Matcha tea is a type of Japanese green tea, with a unique aroma and flavour. Matcha is used in powder form, and served as a traditional hot beverage in Japan. The powder is whisked with hot water until it is frothy. Matcha tea can be enjoyed either hot or cold.
  • Umeshu is a sweet alcoholic beverage made from plums steeped in sugar and alcohol. It has a tart flavor with hints of sweetness and can be served either chilled or on the rocks. Umeshu is a great way to end a meal and can also be used to make cocktails. 

These are just some of the many types of Japanese alcohol available. Each one has its own unique flavour profile and cultural significance, so it’s worth trying them all to get a true taste of Japan!

How to drink in Japan

Drinking is a social pastime in Japan and can be enjoyed year-round. But, when it comes to the best times to drink, there are certain occasions that are traditionally celebrated with specific drinks. 

For example, sake is often served at weddings, in religious ceremonies, and other formal gatherings. The reason being that it has a special meaning behind it; the word sake is thought to bring good fortune and a blessing of health and happiness.. 

During the summer, many people enjoy cold beer or highballs (Japanese whisky and soda). But when it comes to winter, hot sake is a popular choice. Hot sake is believed to help keep you warm during the cold winter months and make those cold days feel more cozy. 

Shochu is typically enjoyed during the colder months of the year. It has a higher alcohol content than sake and is a great option for those looking for something stronger.

Matcha makes a great alternative to your morning coffee. 

Tips for drinking in Japan

  • First, always pour for others before pouring your own drink. This is a sign of respect in Japan, and will help you make friends quickly. When receiving drinks from someone else, try to hold the glass with both hands and bow your head as a sign of thanks.
  • Don’t fill your glass all the way up. Leave a little bit of room at the top of your glass, as this is considered a sign of respect. Doing this allows others to pour drinks for you, and shows them that you are open to socializing.
  • Another important thing to know is that it’s polite to pour drinks for others before drinking yourself. Doing this will show your hosts that you are interested in their company and eager to have fun.