The Benefits Of Drinking Amazake From Japan | CoolJapan

During your travels through Japan, you might notice the proliferation of a sweet, white non-alcoholic beverage in cafes and convenience stores. Known as amazake, this fermented rice drink dates back over 1,300 years ago and was especially popular in the hot summer months as it helps relieve natsubare (summer heat fatigue).

Japanese woman in kimono drinking Amazake

While amazake can be enjoyed all year round, it’s especially popular in the hot summer months as it helps to boost energy.

That’s because amazake is high in glucose, which boosts flagging energy levels and helps your tired body to recover. However, in the last century or so, amazake started to be associated with winter as temples and shrines would hand out the drink to visitors during New Year’s when it was cold out. Today, the drink can be enjoyed at any time of the year, no matter the occasion.

Amazake drink in a bowl

Non-alcoholic amazake is made with rice, water and rice koji while alcoholic amazake is made with sake-lees, sugar and water.

But what is amazake, exactly?

Literally translated to “sweet sake” or “sweet alcohol”, this sugary drink has a colour that is similar to milk but with a creamier consistency thanks to the small pieces of rice found in the liquid. Despite its name, only amazake made with sake lees, sugar, and water contains alcohol. The non-alcoholic variant is made with rice, water and rice koji, and is a healthy option that is safe for even pregnant women and young children to consume.

Besides relieving fatigue, here are four other health benefits to drinking amazake:

Improves your gut health

The relationship between our gut and brain is undeniable — a sluggish digestive system can lead to emotional issues such as anxiety and depression, and vice versa. Amazake is a great source of probiotics and is also rich in fibre, both of which helps promote a healthy gut. The fermented drink is also chock full of digestive enzymes, which helps boost metabolism.

Boosts your immunity

Amazake is rich in protein and vitamins such as vitamin B1 and vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immune system and keep colds at bay. If you’re down with a bad cold, amazake is also a great natural remedy. Simply have it on its own or with a pinch of ginger powder for added immunity-building benefits.

Amazake made from Koji rice

Koji rice is usually mixed with cooked rice to prepare amazake.

Refines your skin health

In recent years, kojic acid has found its way onto the ingredient list of many skincare products and no wonder. This natural ingredient is known to suppress the formation of melanin and brighten your skin. Other skin-loving ingredients include biotin, amino acids and vitamin C, all of which contribute to a clearer, more radiant complexion.

Helps alleviates hangovers

If you’ve had one too many drinks the night before and are suffering from a heavy head, a shot of the nutrient-rich amazake might perk you up. These vital nutrients include Vitamin B, which is known to help with hangovers, as well as rich fruit sugar. With so much potency packed into one beverage, it’s no wonder the Japanese refer to amazake as “drinkable IV ('intravenous drip').

Sounds dreamy right? In fact, amazake is easy enough to prepare at home. Check out the video below for your guide to making your own amazake!