HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Asakusa Kakuyasu Discount Liquors is a hit with tourists! Check out its top ten chu-hi options!
Kakuyasu Discount Liquors is a hit with tourists! Check out its top ten chu-hi options!

Kakuyasu Discount Liquors is a hit with tourists! Check out its top ten chu-hi options!

Date published: 7 May 2019
Last updated: 11 August 2020

Kakuyasu is a Japanese liquor store chain specializing in value-priced spirits – both domestic and imported. The company’s price is in its low prices and its extensive selection. Kakuyasu even carries a variety beyond what’s sold at convenience stores.

Many people come to the store every day in search of affordable and unusual products that other vendors simply don’t carry. This time, LIVE JAPAN asked about the 10 popular Chu-hi options that are popular among Japanese people – the result is quite intriguing!

What is chuhai?

Chuhai (or chu-hi) is a uniquely Japanese drink made with shochu, a white liquor, and a variety of sodas or flavored carbonated waters. Similar to a wine cooler in certain respects, chu-hai typically is a party drink of choice, as it can contain anywhere from around 5% to 12% alcohol.

Horoyoi Shirosawa 350 ml (Suntory)

Horoyoi Shirosawa 350 ml (Suntory)

One of the largest companies that produces alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is Suntory. One of the company's cocktail brands is Horoyoi. "Horoyoi" refers to feeling slightly drunk or having a nice buzz. There are various flavors such as grape, peach, ice tea, and cassis orange with the alcohol content of all products at 3%, its tastes just like juice which is the company`s secret to success. Among them, "Horoyoi Shirosawa" is a popular product. It features a fresh sweet and sour taste with a refreshing carbonated aftertaste. This drink is made with a distilled spirit, but maintains its low alcohol content, and is good for people who do not enjoy the taste of alcohol. This drink is particularly popular among women in their 20s and 30s.

The Choya Umeshu 250 ml (Choya)

The Choya Umeshu 250 ml (Choya)

"Umeshu" is an alcoholic beverage created by using liquor made from plums and parting it with carbonated water. Thirty years after its first release, the product is now loved by a wide range of generations. They use 100% Kishu Nanko plums, which are famous in Japan for being a premium plum. The aroma and sweetness of plum with the refreshing feeling of carbonated water are in perfect harmony and allows for an enjoyable deep taste of plum wine. It is also nice carbonated drink at 4% that doesn’t use add flavors or coloring agents. A product recommended for aperitifs or before meals.

-196˚C Strong Zero Lemon 350ml (Suntory)

-196˚C Strong Zero Lemon 350ml (Suntory)

"-196°C Strong Zero Lemon" is one of the representative flavors of Suntory's Chu-hi brand "-196°C". This company's products have received particularly strong attention in recent years. Chu-hi generally refers to spirits, such as shochu and vodka, which are without color and fragrance that are then parted with fruit juice and the like and are then topped with carbonated water. The distinguishing feature of the series is that the seeds and peels of the fruit are flash frozen at -196°C and then crushed into powder for use. The alcohol content is set higher than usual at 9% with general Chu-hi (about 3% to 6%), and it is characterized by suppressing saccharides and purine to zero. This is the origin of "strong" and zero for zero-sugar used in the trade name. When you drink it, it has a noticeable strong lemon flavor.

This is gaining popularity from a wide range of people in their 20s through their 50s regardless of gender. The "-196°C" series also includes various flavors such as grapefruit, grapes and oranges. In Japan, the popularity of the "-196°C" series has caused other manufacturers to increase the alcohol content of their products to competing and have developed similar products.

Hyouketsu Grapefruit 350 ml (Kirin)

Hyouketsu Grapefruit 350 ml (Kirin)

Kirin is a beverage company that offers the chu-hi brand of "Hyouketsu" in Japan. Among them, frozen grapefruit is very popular. The "Hyouketsu" series is a vodka-based chu-hi that features a unique formula that uses frozen, non-concentrated juice. The series includes various flavors such as lemon, peach, apple, and pineapple. Above all, frozen grapefruit is their best-seller. It is characterized by a fresh grapefruit scent and a clean drinking feeling of carbonated water. Chu-hi based on spirits such as gin and vodka are easy to drink, and has gained support from a wide range of people.

Honshibori Orange 350 ml (Kirin)

Honshibori Orange 350 ml (Kirin)

'Kiruki', 'Honshibori TM' series is one series of chu-hi produced by Kirin. Compared with other fruit-based Chu-hi, the blending ratio of fruit juice is high, but is not too sweet to allow for the tastes of sourness and bitterness of the fruit to come through. If you pour it into a glass, you can see the large amount of juice put into the drink. This series is said to be a choice for enjoying the “raw taste of the ingredients.” Other varieties include lemon, grapefruit and pink grapefruit. Above all, the main selling point is the "Honshibori", which gives the taste as if you were parting the alcohol with real orange juice which also makes it compatible with cooking. Male or female, this drink is gaining high popularity for those in their 30s and older.

Mogitate Marogoto Shibori Budou 350 ml (Asahi Brewing)

Mogitate Marogoto Shibori Budou 350 ml (Asahi Brewing)

The next choice comes from the domestic beverage manufacturer Asahi Brewing which has created many famous brands including Asahi Super Dry which won the gold award in an international beer contest. One of the company's Chu-hi brands is the "Asahi Mogitate" series. The biggest feature of the brand is that to maintain the freshness, the production method utilizes the taste of fresh fruits by using “the juice within 24 hours after harvest.” Among the series, the most popular product is "Mogitate Marogoto Budou." It is characterized by the fresh smell of grapes and moderate sweetness. The sweetness of this beverage is superior when compared to the fruit-based Chu-hi of other companies. This drink is all you need as the alcohol content is set at 9%. The "Asahi Mogitate" series also includes various flavors such as lemon, grapefruit and orange lime.

Kirin The Strong Hard Cola 350ml (Kirin)

Kirin The Strong Hard Cola 350ml (Kirin)

"Kirin The Strong" is a high level chu-hi brand with a reputation for being easy to drink with a high degree of alcohol content while suppressing sugar and purine bodies. This product is especially popular among men among in flavors such as yogurt and lemon. The alcohol content is 9%. It is an excellent product with its strong carbonation and strong alcohol content, and because of the cola taste that many people are familiar with, it is good for those do not enjoy the taste of alcohol. It is, however, easy to get drunk because of the high alcohol content.

Otoko Ume Sour 350ml (Sapporo Breweries)

Otoko Ume Sour 350ml (Sapporo Breweries)

Sapporo Breweries is one of Japan's leading beer makers. In April 2013, the company started selling a limited-time product, "Otoko Ume Sour," which was launched to compliment the hit product "Otoko Ume Candy" of the Japanese confectionery company Nobel Seika. The product, which initially sold as a limited-time product, has since gained popularity and is now sold throughout the year. Nobel Seika`s Otoko Ume plum candy is made from dried plum which is made by sun-drying salted plum fruits. The saltiness is the biggest feature, and this pickled-like flavor has been loved by the Japanese since ancient times. For Japanese people, candy made with dried plums is familiar to people of all ages, and as such, "Otoko Ume Candy" has gained a wide range of popularity. The taste of this chu-hi is made with the flavor of the "Otoko Ume Candy." This new sour chu-hi has rapidly gained support in large numbers. This mysterious taste matches flavors familiar to the Japanese people. If you ever visit Japan be sure to give it a try.

Kirin Bitters Hiwagoto Shibori Lemon-lime 350ml (Kirin)

Kirin Bitters Hiwagoto Shibori Lemon-lime 350ml (Kirin)

One of the chu-hi options Kirin offers in its line of "Kirin Bitters" is the "Kirin Bitters whole-squeezed lemon and lime." The series, which was developed based on the concept of "Adult Chu-hi," achieves a deep taste by using a bitter liqueur that is carefully extracted over 72 hours at low temperature. In addition, it keeps the original flavor and taste of the fruit by the process of squeezing the fruit with the skin attached. This product, which is the most popular among the series, has a good balance of sourness and bitterness of lime and is characterized by a sharp finish. The sweetness of this drink is suppressed even for a fruit-based chu-hi and is suitable for any dish.

Takara Shochu Ochawari 335ml (Takara Shuzo)

Takara Shochu Ochawari 335ml (Takara Shuzo)

Takara Shuzo, a brewery in Japan has a popular drink made with green tea based on the popular shochu brand "Takara Shochu." Green tea is a traditional Japanese tea that is made by pouring hot water over dried tea leaves. This product uses shochu that is parted with green tea which is a popular choice in Japan, and is characterized by a bitter taste and a smell of tea leaves. Green tea is not too overpowering, giving a good balance so you can taste the shochu as well. The series includes "Koi Ochawari" that uses green tea from Shizuoka Prefecture, which is famous for green tea production in Japan, and "Uronchawari" which is divided by Oolong Tea.

*In Japan, drinking is prohibited under the age of 20 by law. When purchasing alcohol, present a valid ID.
*All the products introduced in this article are from the time of coverage at Kakuyasu Liquor Store, Asakusa branch. Prices may vary.
*Item availability may vary by stores

  • Kakuyasu Asakusa
    なんでも酒や カクヤス 浅草店
    • Address Fujita Building 1F, 2-1-16 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station
    • Phone Number 03-5806-1721
    • Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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