Ramune   ラムネ

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The traditional ramune bottle is part of the Japanese childhood

Some ramune candy

It's an unusual but fun method for opening a bottle of ramune!

Nostalgic Japanese soda

Ramune (pronounced "la-moo-nay") is THE refreshing summer drink in Japan. But more than just a drink, it's a taste of childhood for many Japanese.

Ramune is a distortion of the English lemonade. It's also a distortion of the original recipe, introduced in 1876. Today's ramune is very sweet and has a taste closer to a lemon candy.

100% traditional

But it's not just the taste that makes ramune so popular (there are dozens of different flavors): it's the bottle. Ramune bottles are glass, sealed with a marble - a system called Codd Neck. When filled, the pressure of the gas from the drink's carbonization forces the marble against the washer, sealing the bottle.

The bottle is opened by pushing the marble with a small instrument. Consuming ramune is literally child's play: the marble drops into a chamber in the bottle neck, and you can drink. It is a familiar gesture for many Japanese.

Most of the time the bottles are returnable, and should be given back to the vendor. There are however increasingly more plastic ramune bottles or cans, without the marble, much to the displeasure of traditionalists.

Nostalgic pleasure

Ramune also comes in dozens of different sweet forms: fizzing ramune powders, chewy candies... children's sweets, made for fun - some have a hole in the centre that you can whistle through until the candy melts! Rest assured, adults enjoy them too (nostalgically!).

It's now also found flavoring popsicles, kit-kats, cookies, chewing gum and more...

Try it!

You'll find ramune everywhere, and in all kinds of flavors. Each prefecture or city has its own flavor, always marketed by the company Sangaria. Some bottles are made as souvenirs, and we suspect that some flavors exist only to shock unsuspecting tourists: teriyaki sauce, octopus, wasabi, curry... even champagne ramune!

Finally, ramune is a typical matsuri drink. It features on our essential list of summer drinks, but it can really be enjoyed in any season.

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