The land of the rising sun has blessed us with a plethora of gastronomical delights and we cannot be more thankful. It offers everything from sweet to crispy, sour to soft foods. Ask anyone about sushi or ramen and there is no doubt that you will receive an enthusiastic response. However, many foodies seem to skip the traditional beverages that the cuisine has to offer. Japan has some of the most exotic traditional drinks brimming with exquisite flavours that are hard to resist. Let's take a look at some of the most popular and unique Japanese drinks that are just as interesting as the food. 

1. Genmaicha

Starting with the most iconic tea, genmaicha is a quintessential drink of Japan. The flavours of the tea are so popular that it can be used in any form from desserts to soap! It has truly mesmerized people with its peculiar taste. The tea consists of sencha leaves mixed with roasted brown rice. The addition of rice makes the tea less bitter, and gives it a more earthy flavor. This humble concoction truly represents the harmony of flavours.

2. Sakura Tea

The tea is inspired from the national flower of Japan. Sakura tea is a cherry blossom infused tea which is made with these edible flowers. It is a perfect blend of floral sweetness. This drink is prepared with the tender flowers pickled in Ume plum vinegar. Usually, this traditional drink is served at weddings as a symbol of longevity and harmony.

3. Royal Milk Tea

Royal milk tea is a year-round favorite drink which is enjoyed by everyone in Japan. This beverage is a blend of ‘English’ tea which is brewed with the combination of Darjeeling and Assam tea leaves. The preparation of the tea makes it different from the other teas. This hearty tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water, then removing the leaves and adding milk to the hot tea. Lastly, this royal milk tea is sweetened with honey.

 4. Amazake

In Japanese cuisine rice plays a very significant role, and this drink is also one of the fine examples. Amazake is a traditional drink which is made with fermented rice, this drink can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic according to the preferences. This sweet drink is sometimes also made with the leftover brew of sake kasu, which gives it a tangy hint as well. Amazake has existed in the culture since the Edo era, and is mostly offered at temples and shrines during hatsumode.

 Instagram image by @noren_muro

5. Nihonshu

Also known as ‘Sake’, is one of the most legendary Japanese alcoholic drinks. Nihonshu dates back to the 3rd century. This drink can be found everywhere around Japan and is often considered as the national beverage. This alcohol is brewed using fermented rice, yeast, koji mold and water. Nihonsu is a golden mean between sweet and sour which makes it a perfect drink to enjoy anytime. It is often served according to the weather- cold in summer and hot in winter. Sake has a huge number of different varieties and regional specialties that you surely would like to try.

Let us know if you have tried any of these drinks.