What is ramune?

The name "ramune" comes from "lemonade". Ramune is both specifically a drink with a special neck design, and can more generally refer to any soda-flavored candy. Mention ramune in Japan and a common thought association would also be Japanese festivals, where the drink is sold in little sales stands.

Ramune is a pop-like tablet candy that has been around in neighbourhood corner stores for many years in Japan. There is also a ramune drink with the same flavor, famous for containing a ball that you have to press into it to open the bottle. This best-selling version of ramune candies comes from Morinaga, and is shaped just like those classic bottles of soda.

Ramune is a staple of Japanese candy. Its traditional soda flavor is sweet, slightly sour, and comes with a fizzy-like punch.

The word ramune actually came from the word “lemonade” and is a popular lemon-lime fizzy drink enjoyed during summertime festivals in Japan. Ramune has been elevated to Japanese pop culture icon status in large part due to its unique bottle design which according to Japanese children resembles an alien head. The bottle is sealed with a marble which is then pushed into the neck of the bottle when it is opened for consumption. The marble makes a rattling sound while the drink is being enjoyed and has become a novelty item for tourists and Japanese alike.

Ramune is not just a single brand, but rather a category of candy with a large variety of products available, as it basically means "soda-flavored". One example is the ever popular Anpanman-themed ramune candies. These are harder candies with ramune flavor, branded with characters from the animation with a popularity among kids in Japan that is hard to overstate. Kids in Japan likely know Anpanman better than kids in The United States know Mickey Mouse.

As another example, here are individually wrapped taffy-like soft ramune balls that fizzle in your mouth.

Soft Ramune Balls

Mini ramune candies from Orion.

Orion mini ramune

The drink

As ramune comes from "lemonade", the core association of the term is with the drink, with ramune candy on the other hand being candy that tastes like said drink.

There are many takes on it, perhaps the most recent one being the super soft type "nama ramune", available also strawberry flavored.

Thanks for reading

If you would like to try various kinds of Japanese candy each month or even every two weeks, do subscribe to Candy Japan. Here's the name again, this time in ramune!

Thanks for reading