Why Is Ramune Soda So Popular in Japan (We Have the Answer)

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Ramune soda is one of Japan’s favorite beverages.

But what has kept Ramune a popular beverage for over 100 years?

Ramune soda popular in Japan
Popular Japanese soft drink – Ramune soda

In this article, we answer why Ramune soda is so popular in Japan!

Why is Ramune soda so popular in Japan

This classic Japanese soft drink has all the ingredients to be extremely popular with the Japanese.

Firstly it is one of the oldest soft drinks in Japan, it still holds some lingering health connotations, and lastly, the unique bottle and fizz just keep folks coming back to it again and again!

8 Variety Pack
5 Flavors
Variety 8-Pack
$32.95 ($2.06 / Ounce)
$19.88 ($0.60 / Fl Oz)
$38.98 ($0.72 / Fl Oz)
8 Variety Pack
5 Flavors
Variety 8-Pack
03/27/2024 11:08 am GMT Lasso Brag

The history of Ramune (ラムネ)  soda

A remarkable fact about Ramune, one of Japan’s most popular soft drinks, is that it was invented by a Scotsman, with an Englishman designing the iconic bottle!

Ramune soda bottle basic flavor
Ramune soda bottle

Like Coca-Cola and other classic beverages, Ramune actually started out as a health drink. 

Origins of Ramune soda

Ramune soda was originally created by Scotsman Alexander Cameron Sim in the early 1880s. Sim was a pharmacist and importer of medical equipment.

He lived and worked in Kobe, after being posted to Nagasaki in 1869 by the British Royal Navy. 

Sim formulated Ramune soda as a health beverage to prevent cholera, using a recipe that was based on lemonade. The classic Coddd-neck bottle and marble seal that the drink is known for was designed by the English engineer and inventor Hiram Codd. 

Sim procured an unusual bottle for his carbonated beverage which was originally called Marbu-Soda after the marble in the bottle.

The name ‘Ramune’, derived from the phonetic spelling of lemonade in Japanese was adopted because of the lemonade tast of the original beverage. 

Popularity in Japan

Sim found success with his health drink in 1884 when he started to sell the beverage to residents of the Kobe foreign settlement. Soon, it started to be drunk by the local Japanese communities, who enjoyed its distinctive flavor and bottle design. 

5 Flavors
Ramune Japanese Soda Variety Pack
$19.88 ($0.60 / Fl Oz)

The SHIRAKIKU BRAND offers a Ramune Japanese Soda Variety Pack, containing 5 distinct flavors, packaged in glass bottles.

  • Prestigious brand: SHIRAKIKU.
  • Curated selection of flavors: Melon soda, Blueberry, Strawberry, Original, and Orange.
  • Elegantly packaged in pristine glass bottles.
  • Presented in liquid form.
  • Makes a refined gift choice for lovers of Japanese beverages.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Thanks!
03/27/2024 11:00 am GMT

An advertisement in the Tokyo Mainichi Newspaper extolling its cholera-preventative benefits caused the drink to take off across Japan. Soon this sweet fizzy beverage transitioned from being a health drink to a refreshing summer beverage. 

Unique features of Ramune soda

Ramune soda is a very cool and quirky drink that has become a cult classic.

Here are three things that make Ramune soda so popular in Japan.

1. Bottle design

The Codd bottle that is still in use to the present day is a distinctive feature of Ramune soda.

It was invented in 1872 as a novel bottle closure that would reduce the need for corks. The Codd bottle was filled under gas pressure forcing a glass marble to close the neck. 

When Marbu-Soda was first released, Sim had to pay for a license to use the patented bottle, and purchase his marbles, sealing rings, and groove tools. Later, dedicated manufacturing facilities were set up in Japan.

The marble in Ramune bottles has fascinated Japanese kids for generations. Often glass bottles were smashed to get at the marbles, potentially causing injuries.

Now that Ramune is sold in plastic bottles, procuring marbles is a little safer.

Here’s how to get at the classic Ramune marble: 

2. Carbonation

Ramune soda features unique carbonation that separates the carbon dioxide gas from the beverage while the bottle is sealed. The marble separates the gas from the drink and is held in place by gas pressure. 

To enjoy a bottle of Ramune, you have to displace the marble. This is done by pushing the ball into the neck of the bottle when you open it.

You can read about how to open a Ramune bottle in our article: “How to Open a Ramune Bottle”

Once the marble is displaced, the soda will fizz right up. While you drink a Ramune soda , the marble will rattle around!

3. Flavors 

Ramune soda is also known for its numerous flavors.

Every flavor is similarly super sweet and fizzy, and the range includes some strange flavors like Wasabi and Curry.

Refreshing Ramune soda
Refreshing Ramune soda

Here is a list of some of  the Ramune soda flavors that are currently available:

  • Kimura Yuzu Citrus
  • Kimura Original
  • Hatakosen Watermelon
  • Sangaria Orange
  • Strawberry Genki
  • Blueberry Genki
  • Matcha
  • Tumeric
  • Multivitamin
  • Pineapple
  • Curry
  • Hatakosen Litchi
  • Takoyaki
  • Kimura Watermelon
  • Hatakosen Melon
  • Hatakosen Strawberry
  • Wasabi
  • Collagen
  • Sangaria Melon
  • Sangaria Peach

The Ramune soda production process

Ramune Soda is owned and distributed by the Asian food conglomerate Nishimoto Wismettac Group which was founded in Kobe in 1912.

Nizona Corporation in Kobe manufactures the drink which is exported around the world.

The most basic ingredients of Ramune soda are:

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sugar
  • Flavor 
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Citrate

A variety of additives including flavorings and food colorings are added to great the diverse flavors available. 

Here is a video of the Ramune soda manufacturing process: 

The cultural significance of Ramune soda

It’s undeniable that Remune soda is now a cultural icon in Japan.

This is because so many Japanese and Japanese ex-pats grow up drinking it.

There are just so many nuances to enjoying this drink including:

  • Unwrapping the soda’s special opener
  • Pushing down the opener to release the marble
  • The clink of the marble when the bottle is opened
  • The fizz!

And Ramune soda is going global as the drink increasingly penetrates new markets in America and Europe.

Folks are going crazy for this strange marble soda:

Where can I try a Ramune soda?

Ramune sodas are gradually going mainstream so you may come across them in Walmart and other grocery stores. Another place where you will definitely find a bottle or two of Ramune is your local Asian grocery store.

And, of course, you can get your hands on bottles of Ramune soda by ordering it from Amazon.

Why not sample the very best of Ramune with an 8-flavor variety pack, boxed and shipped to your door:

8 Variety Pack
Ramune Japanese Soda Drinks
$32.95 ($2.06 / Ounce)

The iMoZai brand offers a sophisticated Ramune Japanese Soda Drinks Gift Set, featuring 8 unique soda flavors in distinct glass bottles, complemented by an additional 3-pack of either ginger honey crystals or lemon flavor.

  • Flavorful Assortment: Includes Lychee, Melon, Strawberry, Grape, Orange, Peach, Original, and Blueberry.
  • Bonus Treat: Select between a 3-pack of ginger honey crystals or a zesty lemon flavor.
  • Iconic Packaging: Bottles designed with a unique shape and sealed with a playful marble.
  • Experience: Dive into the fizzy, refreshing essence of traditional Japanese soda.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Thanks!
03/27/2024 11:08 am GMT

Rounding up

After sake and green tea, Ramune soda is one of the most Japanese drinks going. It is a fun and fizzy beverage that doesn’t take itself too seriously and anyone can enjoy it.

Trying a bottle is well worth it for experiencing the fizz and trying to get that dang marble out of the bottle!

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