5 Best Soft Bottled Mineral Water in Japan

Soft Mineral Water Brands in Japan

If you are planning to travel to Japan, or even planing on living in Japan, one of the things that you might have heard is regarding the water quality.

You might have heard that water in Japan is “soft”… but what does that actually mean?

First and foremost, how safe is water in japan? Is it safe to drink tap water in Japan? And where can I buy safe mineral water in Japan?

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

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

Overview of Water in Japan

First of all, 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. This is because 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.

What is Soft Water?

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 known to be easier to swallow. It has less taste and texture compared to hard water and is lighter to the stomach, which makes it more recommended for small children.

Soft water has the quality of making flavors stand out, so it is said to be good for making tea, coffee, and Japanese cuisine in general.

Acidic or Alkaline Water

Another factor that affects the taste and texture of the water is the PH level 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.

Our Five picks for Soft Bottled Mineral Water

Most of the mineral water that you will find in convenience stores and vending machines will be soft water.

Out of the many options that you’ll have, these are our picks!

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. Alkaline-ion Water (Kirin)

Next, we have Alkaline-ion Water (アルカリイオンの水) from the beverage company, Kirin.

Although this water brand has a specified water source, it is technically classified as “Bottled Water” because it goes through a process that artificially ionizes the water to make it alkaline. This is why you will notice that the PH level of this brand is much higher than the other water brands on this list.

Alkaline water is said to have various benefits for health and skin.

You can find this water brand in supermarkets (for the 2L bottles) and Kirin vending machines (for the 500ml bottles).

Type Bottled Water
Source Shizuoka Prefecture
Hardness 64mg/L (Soft Water)
PH level 8.8~9.4 (Alkaline)

5. Christal Geizer

Lastly, we have the American mineral water brand, Christal Geizer. Although most foreign brands that you’ll find in Japan will be hard water brands, Christal Geizer is one of the very few soft mineral water brands that you’ll find.

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

Christal Geizer has a hardness of 40mg/L which is pretty soft even compared to Japanese brands. And the PH level is 7.6 which makes it slightly alkaline.

You can find this brand at most convenient stores and supermarkets.

Type Natural Mineral Water
Source USA
Hardness 40mg / L (Soft Water)
PH level 7.6 (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.