Of course, part of the experience of eating is the liquid refreshment that accompanies your food. In this case, alcohol. I basically just split the posting into two entries. Knowing my friends though, they will probably take more interest in this one. Also from the same website, japan-guide.com.
A large variety of alcoholic beverages can be found in Japan. Some of the most popular ones are listed below:
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan. The biggest Japanese beer breweries are Asahi, Kirin, Suntory and Sapporo. Beer was imported to Japan in the early Meiji Period by foreign specialists who were invited to Japan for the development of the northern island of Hokkaido.
Happoshu, a recent invention by Japanese brewing companies, literally means "sparkling alcohol". It looks like beer, contains the same amount of alcohol as beer, but is made with less malt than beer, giving it a different, lighter taste. As a result of its lower malt content, happoshu is not classified as a beer for taxation purposes and can be sold at a lower price.
Rice Wine (nihonshu or sake)
Nihonshu or sake (sake is the general Japanese term for alcohol) is basically made of rice and water. Besides major brands, there are countless regional rice wines. The alcohol content of rice wine is about 10-20%, and it can be drunken cold or hot.
Wine is very popular in Japan, especially among women. Most wines are imported from overseas. Yamanashi Prefecture is the most famous wine producing region within Japan.
Japanese plum wine (umeshu)
A sweet alcoholic beverage made of Japanese plums (ume).
Shochu is a distilled spirit with a high alcohol content. Rice, sweet potatoes, wheat and sugar cane are some of the most common bases for shochu.
Chuhai are flavored alcoholic drinks with a relatively low alcohol content. They come in many different flavors such as lemon, grapefruit and pineapple, and are based on shochu.
Western style liqueur
Whisky, in particular, is very popular in Japan, where it is often enjoyed with water and ice.
Alcoholic beverages can be bought in supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, specialized alcohol stores (sakaya) and at vending machines. The minimum legal age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 20 years.
When drinking alcoholic beverages, it is a Japanese custom to serve each other, rather than pouring the beverage into one's own glass. You are supposed to periodically check your friends' cups, and serve them more once their cups are getting empty. Likewise, if someone wants to serve you more alcohol, you should quickly empty your glass and hold it towards that person.
While it is considered bad manner to become obviously drunk in some formal restaurants, for example in restaurants that serve kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine), the same is not true for other types of restaurants such as izakaya, as long as you do not bother other guests.
Do not start drinking until everybody at the table is served and the glasses are raised for a drinking salute, which usually is "kampai". Avoid using "chin chin" when drinking a toast, since in Japanese this expression refers to the male genitals.
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