One of my favorite fruits is muskmelon. Chilled, cubed, and lightly salted is the way I like it. In the United States (US), I had this special treat a few times a year. It’s best on a hot summer day after working outdoors or playing ball with kids. This refreshing treat is not something you enjoy every day in the US.
You can have this treat every day in Japan because they bottle it in a can or carton. When I first arrived in Japan, I had no idea that melon drink was a favorite drink of the Japanese and would soon be my favorite drink. Drinks in Japan are undoubtedly different. I fell in love with this green nectar from the first sip. Of course, it’s not real nectar, but after drinking some, you’ll wonder if this is how hummingbirds feel after drinking some sweet flower juices.
Here is a list of my favorite melon drinks in Japan and where I find them. It’s not hard to find them because almost every vending machine has one or two brands. You can double the treat when you eat melon bread and wash it down with a melon drink.
Let’s get into the list.
Felice Melon Cream Soda
This melon cream soda is at the local Kobe Bussan grocery store close to the Kameari station in Adachi, Tokyo. It has a light melon taste with a cream soda twist. It’s also low in calories (80), so it won’t impact your waistline as much as a can of Coke.
It’s not in the refrigeration section, so a glass full of ice is needed or a few moments in the freezer.
This product is available from Amazon here.
Suntory POP Melon Soda
Suntory POP melon soda is the first drink I bought at a vending machine in Japan. It’s a soda filled with lots of carbon dioxide (CO2) and has you burping after only one gulp. Drinks with extra CO2 are popular with young people when grown-ups aren’t looking.
The soda has a light, almost nonexistent melon flavor but is delicious. I’ve only seen this soda in vending machines across Japan, and sometimes it’s challenging to find. Look for large groups of vending machines instead of singles. Doing this will give you a better chance of seeing this drink.
Order the syrup to make several here.
Fanta Melon Soda
Visit the closest 7-Eleven to find this drink. Since 7-Elevens are everywhere in Japan, you’ll be drinking some Fanta melon soda before you know it. The soda is also stocked at local grocery stores, especially ones that carry 7-Eleven products.
Recently Fanta switched the drink from cans to bottles. It’s better in a can because it’s colder. Get it in a can here.
The drink has a crisp taste of melon without the large amount of CO2 that Suntory has. I often see Japanese buying this drink while returning home from work. It’s a treat for a job well done.
Tropicana Melon Juice
100% melon taste is printed on the carton. This product tastes like a muskmelon. It even has pulp, so shake the carton before you pour a glass. This drink is delicious and tastes as good as eating real fruit.
Tropicana melon juice is in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores in Japan.
GABUNOMI Cream Melon Soda
This popular drink comes in cans and bottles. I usually find the bottles in the store and the cans in the vending machines. It comes in 500ml and 1L bottles. Cans are 500ml.
Similar to Felice melon cream soda but with more of a cream soda punch. This drink, located in vending machines, grocery stores, and convenience stores, is popular with young and older people in Japan.
GABUNOMI cream melon soda is available on Amazon here. Make sure to drink it cold. Dry ice is available in several grocery stores in Japan, so I like to add some dry ice to a plastic bag to make sure the melon soda is frozen by the time I return home.
Star Bending Co. Melon Cream Soda
This drink is manufactured in Osaka by the Star Bending Co. It isn’t easy to find in the Tokyo area. I know of only one vending machine that has it, and it’s almost hidden.
When you first sip this drink, it has a strong cream soda flavor, and the after taste kicks in melon flavor. Several drinks in Japan have this effect, but most westerners may not like tasting two flavors in one. It becomes bitter in the transition.
Kobe Kyoryuchi Melon Cream Soda
This soda, by far, the best-tasting melon drink I have tasted since living in Japan. Each sip is like putting a cold cube of muskmelon in your mouth. I can’t say enough about the taste or how smooth the soda is with the light helping of CO2. You can guzzle the drink in moments.
Unfortunately, the only place I have found this melon drink is in Sagae, Yamagata. It’s located in a single vending machine near the city hall. If I see another location, I’ll update this page with the site.
For now, all I can do is take the bullet train from Tokyo to Yamagata and empty the machine. Good thing I can still buy a Japan rail pass.
Drink in Moderation
While a melon drink is a fantastic treat, the Japanese government reminds everyone that too much of anything is bad for your health. I drink mostly green tea and have a melon drink as a treat a couple of times a month. If I drank it every day, it wouldn’t be the special treat it is.
If you visit or move to Japan, I urge you to try different melon drinks and melon bread. You’ll be glad you did.
I’ll update and add more melon drinks as I find them, so check back often. You never know what special treat I’ll discover next.
What is your favorite melon drink in Japan? How many different kinds of melon drinks have you tasted? Please leave a message in the comment section below.
Have questions about melon drinks in Japan? Leave your question below, and I’ll do my best to answer.