5 Best Bottled Mineral Water in Japan

What Are The Different Types of Mineral Water in Japan?

Water is one of the most important things that we need in our lives. Obviously, this can also be said as well when traveling or living in a new country.

If you are planning on traveling or living in Japan, then water safety is one of the concerns you might have.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Japan? Is the water taste and texture in Japan different from my home country? Where can I buy mineral water in Japan?

We will answer these questions as well as introduce to you 5 of the best mineral water brands that you can buy in Japan.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

Overview of Water in Japan

First things first, tap water in Japan is perfectly safe to drink. Japanese standards for tap water safety are high, even compared to other developed countries.

You might feel a different taste and texture compared to the water that you’re used to drinking. Japanese tap water (or Japanese water in general) is mostly soft, which makes it easier for the stomach.

Also, since tap water is disinfected by adding chlorine, you might feel a slight taste of it in the water. The amount of chlorine added to the water is just enough to kill pathogenic bacteria, but has no effect on the human body. Although, as I mentioned, some people might notice it in the smell and taste.

Water Taste and Texture

There are two main factors that make a difference in the texture and taste of drinking water. These two factors are “water hardness” and “water PH level”.

Water hardness refers to the number of minerals (especially calcium and magnesium) dissolved in the water. Water containing a high concentration of minerals is known as “hard water” while water containing a low concentration of minerals is known as “soft water”. Soft water is said to have a lighter texture which makes it easier to drink as opposed to hard water which is said to feel a little heavier to the stomach.

Next, we have the PH level of the water, which slightly affects the taste of the water. PH level determines whether the water is either alkaline or acidic. PH levels go from 0 to 14, 7 being neutral. PH levels over 7 are alkaline, while PH levels below 7 are acidic. Alkaline water is known to have a slightly bitter taste while acidic water tastes, of course, acid.

Most bottled mineral water sold in Japan is soft and slightly alkaline. The texture and taste might feel different for you since most countries have hard water.


Need Hard Water?

5 Best Hard Bottled Mineral Water in Japan


How many types of bottled water are there in Japan?

Aside from the water hardness and PH levels, there is another factor that makes a difference in the quality of the water, which is the “Type” of the water. Here are the types of water as they are classified in Japan.

  • Natural Mineral Water: Water extracted from a specified water source that contains an abundant amount of minerals. This water can be sterilized by heat or treated by filtration or precipitation in order to make the product safe for consumption. However, no other treatment can be done to it.
  • Natural Water: Mostly the same as Natural Mineral Water, but the only difference is that Natural Water contains a fewer amount of minerals.
  • Mineral Water: Also water extracted from a specified water source. But in this case, various different types of disinfection methods are allowed. Various water sources can be blended to adjust the mineral content as well.
  • Bottled Water: Any kind of drinkable water other than the previously mentioned.

The way these types of water are classified is slightly different depending on the country. The explanation above is how it is classified in Japan.

Other types of water that you can find at stores are sparkling water and flavored water. These are growing in popularity, and you will find quite the variety. If you want to drink regular water, pay close attention to the packaging. Many people may accidentally buy flavored or sparkling water from a vending machine or convenience store when they just wanted a plain bottle.

>>More detail about water situation in Japan

Our Five picks for Bottled Mineral Water in Japan

A problem that you might encounter at a convenience store is the “I wonder if this is water or some other drink” problem. The following five brands of bottled mineral water are some of the most popular ones in Japan. Hopefully, there will be at least one that will suit your preference.

Or at least, after checking this list, you will be able to identify which products at the store are mineral water.

1. Natural Mineral Water from the Minami Alps (Suntory)

Natural Mineral Water from the Minami Alps (南アルプスの天然水) from the beverage maker Suntory (サントリー) is the most well known and best-selling mineral water in Japan.

This natural mineral water is soft and has a PH level of 7 which means it is neither alkaline nor acidic. If you like soft water and don’t have any kind of special preference for water such as the number of minerals, this may be the safest bet for you.

You will find this water brand at pretty much any convenience store or supermarket. The sizes available are 280 ml, 550 ml, 1 L, and 2 L. You will also find it in all Suntory vending machines.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source Yamanashi Prefecture
Hardness 30mg/L (Soft Water)
PH level 7 (Neutral)

2. I LOHAS Mineral Water (Coca Cola)

I LOHAS Mineral Water (い・ろ・は・す) is Coca-Cola’s mineral water brand.

This water, although it has a variety of sources, is soft and has a PH level that is slightly alkaline.

This is another water brand that you will find almost anywhere. At convenience stores, supermarkets, and Coca-Cola vending machines (Coca-Cola vending machines can be found pretty much anywhere).

The concept of I LOHAS is that it is not only delicious but also that it is conscious of the environment. The plastic bottles are made of plant-derived materials, and lately, they even started selling label-less bottles.

The first thing you will notice when grabbing a bottle of this brand is the softness of the bottle. It feels as if it will break in your hands. But don’t worry, it won’t.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source Various (Hokkaido, Iwate, Yamanashi, Miyazaki, etc)
Hardness 27.7~40.6mg/L (Soft Water)
PH level Slightly Alkaline (varies depending on the source)

3. Mt. Fuji Natural Mineral Water (Asahi)

Mt. Fuji Natural Mineral Water (おいしい水 天然水 富士山) is the mineral water made by the beverage company, Asahi.

This natural mineral water is soft with a PH level of 8. This mineral water is not as widely available as the previous 2 brands, but you will still be able to find it at many supermarkets. You will also find it in all Asahi vending machines.

You can find Mt. Fuji Natural Mineral Water in 600 ml and 2 L plastic bottles.

If you thought Asahi only makes beer, you might be surprised at the wide variety of drinks(both alcohol and non-alcohol) that they offer.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source Shizuoka Prefecture
Hardness 30mg/L (Soft Water)
PH level 8 (Slightly Alkaline)

4. Family Mart (Natural Mineral Water from Kirishima)

From here, I will introduce 2 different brands of hard water.

Natural Mineral Water from Kirishima (ファミマの天然水霧島) is Family Mart’s own brand of water.

This is one of the very few natural mineral water brands in Japan that provide hard water. It is known for having a relatively high concentration of silica, which is said to have various beneficial properties for your health and skincare.

One thing you need to be careful of is that Family Mart’s brand of water can come from 3 different sources(Kirishima(霧島), Azumino(安曇野), and Tsunan(津南)). The other 2 sources are soft water, so be sure to check that the bottle says “Kirishima” before buying it.

The hardness of this mineral water is 160mg/L which means it is slightly hard. If you don’t like hard water, but would like to start getting used to it for its benefits, then this is a good water brand to start.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source Miyazaki Prefecture
Hardness 160mg / L (Slightly hard)
PH level 6.6 ~ 7.2

5. Evian Natural Mineral Water

Lastly, we have Evian. One of the most renowned mineral water brands in the whole world.

If you’re traveling in a foreign country, to see a familiar product among the many unknown products is reassuring.

Although there are various foreign mineral water brands that you can find in Japan, Evian is the one you will see most frequently in convenience stores or other supermarkets. It is distributed by the beverage company “Ito-en”, so you can also find Evian water in Ito-en vending machines.

The reason why you can find this brand easily is because of its popularity in Japan. Although being heavier than the Family Mart water, it is still not as heavy compared to other foreign brands, which makes it relatively easy to drink while also benefiting from the minerals.

The only downside is that it is a little more expensive compared to Japanese water brands.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source France
Hardness 304mg/L (Hard)
PH level 7.2 (Slightly Alkaline)

What alternatives are there for Japanese bottled water?

If you’re traveling in Japan, tap water and bottled water should be enough for most people.

But if you are living in Japan or are planning on it, there are other alternatives that you can take into account. These alternatives include buying a water purifier or tower water dispenser for your home.

Water purifiers can be found in large electronic stores, and you can find a wide variety of these. Prices can largely vary depending on their features and quality.

Water dispensers are especially getting popular in Japan due to the latest trend of rental water dispensers with competitive pricing as opposed to having to buy the purifier or dispenser.

If you are living (or planning on living) in Japan and want to try out renting one of these water dispensers, there are various websites that you can check. The problem is that pretty much all of these websites are in Japanese, making it a big challenge for people who are not comfortable with the Japanese language.

However, there is a service with a website that is completely in English where you can rent a water dispenser. Water Delivery Near Me is a service specialized to provide for foreign citizens. If you have any kind of interest in renting a water dispenser, you should definitely check it out!

▶Check out Water Delivery Near Me

I hope this article was helpful for you!

Water is definitely one of the most important things in our lives, and it is important that you feel safe drinking it. Even better if you are able to find a brand that provides water that matches your taste.

Hopefully you were able to find a water brand that makes water that suits your preferences.

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Written by

Born and raised in Costa Rica, I started living in Tokyo from college. I love traveling within Japan & around the world. Since I wasn’t born in Japan, I know the cultural impact that you can get when visiting Japan for the first time and what you might be worried about before your trip. And I’ve lived long enough to somewhat understand the nuances of the Japanese culture that make this country such an attractive place to visit. Hopefully I can provide to you both the information you’re looking for and the information you didn’t know you needed to know.