Kanpai! 102 Drinks Vocabulary in Japanese to Toast to Fluency
It’s time to spill the matcha—Japanese culture has some delectable drinks.
And when you’re ordering your favorite refreshment at the bar or the conbini, it’s useful to know how to ask for what you want in Japanese.
Take some time to learn all the Japanese drink words you’ll ever need to know to get through Japanese beverages, sip by delicious sip.
From soft drinks to popular cocktails, drink up these 102 useful drinks vocabulary and expressions in Japanese!
- Basic Beverages
- Japanese Drinks and Drink Brands
- Alcoholic Beverages and Cocktails
- Common Japanese Drink Phrases
|りんごジュース||Ringo Juusu||Apple juice|
|オレンジジュース||Orenji Juusu||Orange juice|
|グリーンティー||Guriin Tii||Green tea|
|ブラックティー||Burakku Tii||Black tea|
|ホットチョコレート||Hotto Chokoreeto||Hot chocolate|
|アイスティー||Aisu Tii||Iced tea|
|アイスコーヒー||Aisu Koohii||Iced coffee|
|チョコレートミルク||Chokoreeto Miruku||Chocolate milk|
|ハーブティー||Haabu Tii||Herbal tea|
|フルーツパンチ||Furuutsu Panchi||Fruit punch|
|エナジードリンク||Enajii Dorinku||Energy drink|
|モンスターエナジー||Monsutaa Enajii||Monster energy|
Japanese Drinks and Drink Brands
Teas and coffees
Tea, particularly green tea, holds a cherished place as a symbol of tranquility and ritual in Japanese culture. Matcha, a powdered green tea, is an integral part of traditional tea ceremonies.
On the other hand, coffee might not be native to Japan, but the drink has established itself as a popular beverage. Coffee shops, or 喫茶店 (きっさてん) “kissaten,” are common gathering places for socializing and relaxation. It’s not just about the beverage itself; it’s the experience of savoring a well-brewed cup of coffee in a serene environment.
Here are some essential Japanese vocabulary related to tea and coffee.
- Matcha ( 抹茶 ): A powdered green tea often used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
- Hojicha ( ほうじ茶 ): Roasted green tea with a toasty flavor.
- Sencha ( 煎茶 ): Steeped green tea, one of the most common types in Japan.
- Genmaicha ( 玄米茶 ): Green tea mixed with roasted brown rice.
- Oolong Tea ( ウーロン茶 ): Semi-fermented tea with a unique flavor.
- Mugicha ( 麦茶 ): Roasted barley tea, often served cold in summer.
- Sakurayu ( 桜湯 ): Cherry blossom tea made by infusing salted cherry blossoms.
- Kombucha ( 昆布茶 ): Seaweed tea.
- Yuzu Tea ( 柚子茶 ): A citrusy tea made from yuzu fruit.
- Umeboshi Tea ( 梅干し茶 ): Tea made with pickled plum.
- Kuwacha (桑茶): Mulberry leaf tea.
- Yomogi Tea ( よもぎ茶 ): Mugwort tea.
- Kocha ( 紅茶 ): Black tea.
- Bubble Tea ( タピオカティー ): A popular and trendy drink with chewy tapioca pearls, available in various flavors like milk tea and fruit tea.
- Mugicha ( 麦茶 ): A popular Japanese barley tea, enjoyed cold during hot summer months for its refreshing taste and natural caffeine-free qualities.
- Canned Coffee ( 缶コーヒー ): A convenient and widely available coffee served in cans, enjoyed hot or cold, and often sold in vending machines.
Soft drinks and juices
While green tea remains a staple of Japanese culture, people all over the country, especially the younger generation, have embraced soft drinks and juices. These are often served in vibrant, uniquely designed bottles. “Ramune,” for example, is a carbonated soda with a distinctive bottle sealed by a marble, which has become an iconic part of Japanese summer festivals. It’s not just refreshing—it’s fun!
- Aojiru ( 青汁 ): Green vegetable juice, often made with kale or barley grass.
- Calpis ( カルピス ): A popular Japanese yogurt-based drink.
- Aquarius ( アクエリアス ): A popular Japanese sports drink by Coca Cola.
- Ramune ( ラムネ ): A carbonated soft drink with a unique bottle.
- Amazake ( 甘酒 ): A sweet, non-alcoholic rice drink.
- Yakult ( ヤクルト ): A probiotic drink loved for its sweet and tangy taste, often consumed for its digestive health benefits.
- Aloe Drinks ( アロエドリンク ): Refreshing beverages infused with aloe vera gel, offering a soothing and slightly herbal flavor.
- Melon Soda ( メロンソーダ ): A vibrant green fizzy drink with a sweet melon flavor, often topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a “melon float.”
- Pocari Sweat ( ポカリスエット ): An isotonic drink similar to sports drinks, designed to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes, making it a popular choice for those needing to re-energize after physical activity.
Alcoholic Beverages and Cocktails
When it comes to alcoholic beverages in Japan, tradition and innovation coexist. Classics like sake and shochu have been revered for centuries and are deeply ingrained in social gatherings. Japanese whisky, with its global acclaim, is known for its exceptional craftsmanship.
On the contemporary side, Japan has become a hub for mixology, with bartenders creating exquisite cocktails that showcase a fusion of traditional Japanese ingredients and modern mixology techniques. Whether sipping a classic sake or a trendy matcha-infused cocktail, check out some common Japanese words for alcoholic beverages.
Traditional Japanese Alcoholic Beverages
- Japanese Sake ( 日本酒 ): A traditional Japanese rice wine and is often served at various temperatures. It can be enjoyed both warm and cold, depending on the type and personal preference.
- Shochu ( 焼酎 ): A distilled spirit made from various ingredients such as barley, sweet potatoes, and rice. It is typically stronger than sake and can be consumed straight or used as a base for cocktails.
- Umeshu ( 梅酒 ): A sweet plum wine made by steeping Japanese plums (ume) in alcohol and sugar. It has a fruity, sweet-tart flavor and can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or used in cocktails.
- Yuzu Sour ( 柚子サワー ): Yuzu is a citrus fruit native to Japan, and Yuzu Sour is a popular cocktail made with yuzu juice, shochu, or vodka, soda water, and sometimes a touch of honey or sweetener.
- Hoji-cha Highball ( ほうじ茶ハイボール ): A unique twist on the classic highball, this cocktail is made by mixing Japanese roasted green tea (hoji-cha) with whisky and soda water. It has a toasty, earthy flavor.
- Yokohama Lemonade ( 横浜レモネード ): This cocktail combines shochu or vodka with lemon juice, honey, and soda water. It’s a refreshing and slightly sweet drink.
- Sake Midori ( 日本酒と緑 ): A refreshing cocktail made with sake and Midori liqueur.
- Chuhai ( チューハイ ): A popular Japanese mixed drink made with shochu or vodka and flavored soda. It comes in various fruit flavors like lemon, lime, grapefruit, and peach.
- Awamori ( 泡盛 ): An alcoholic beverage indigenous to Okinawa, Japan. It’s made from Thai indica rice and has a unique, distinct taste. It’s typically consumed straight or on the rocks.
- Amazake ( 甘酒 ): A sweet, low-alcohol rice drink.
- Asahi Super Dry ( アサヒスーパードライ ): A well-known Japanese beer brand.
- Suntory Whisky ( サントリーウイスキー ): A famous Japanese whisky producer.
- Kirin ( キリン ): A major Japanese brewery known for its beer and other beverages.
|テキーラサンライズ||Tekiiraa Sanraizu||Tequila Sunrise|
|ブラッディメアリ||Buraddi Mearii||Bloody Mary|
|ブルーハワイ||Buruu Hawaii||Blue Hawaii|
|ホワイトラッシュ||Howaito Rasshu||White Russian|
Common Japanese Drink Phrases
Move beyond the names of drinks and brands with these common phrases associated with drinking. And when you’re done with this list, keep the learning going by observing native Japanese speakers using the vocab and terms in actual conversations. Don’t have a local Japanese-speaking bar? No problem—an immersion program like FluentU can do the trick.
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- Kanpai ( 乾杯 ): This is the equivalent of “Cheers!” in Japanese and is often used before taking a drink.
- Otsukaresama ( お疲れ様 ): Used after a meal or a drink with friends to express appreciation, similar to saying “Thanks for the meal” or “Well done.”
- Nomihoudai ( 飲み放題 ): This means “all you can drink” and is often used in the context of all-you-can-drink menus at restaurants or bars.
- Koori o iremasu ka? ( 氷を入れますか？ ): This phrase asks if you want ice in your drink.
- Oyuwari ( お湯割り ): Refers to hot water added to whiskey, shochu or other spirits.
- Rokku ( ロック ): Means “on the rocks,” indicating that you want your drink served over ice.
- Otsumami ( おつまみ ): These are the snacks or appetizers served alongside drinks, similar to “bar food” in other cultures.
- Reishu ( 冷酒 ): Refers to chilled sake, often enjoyed in a small cup.
- Ippai yarimashou ( 一杯やりましょう ): A friendly way to suggest having a drink together.
- Kampai no ondo ( 乾杯の音頭 ): This phrase is used when someone offers a toast, and it means “Let’s raise our glasses.”
- O-kawari ( お代わり ): When you want a refill or another drink, you can use this phrase to request another round.
- Osake o tanoshinde kudasai ( お酒を楽しんでください ): This means “Please enjoy your drink” and is a polite way to wish someone a good time while drinking.
- Osake ga hairimasu ( お酒が入ります ): This phrase is often used humorously to say that a drink is strong or has a kick to it.
- Shotto ( ショット ): Refers to a shot of a strong spirit, typically consumed quickly.
- Oishii ( 美味しい ): A simple expression to say that a drink or food is delicious.
Bottoms up! Say a toast to your newfound appreciation for Japanese drinks vocabulary and expressions.
And One More Thing...
If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.
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FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:
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All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.
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