The soft drink that derives its name from the "lemonade" in English. It was introduced in Kobe during the Meiji period by a Scottish pharmacist by the name of Alexander Cameron Sim. It was known as the "mabu soda" or the soda with the "marble" in it. The marble in the bottle serves as an opener. It became very popular as a way to prevent cholera, which was prevalent in Japan at the time.
What it is and why people Love it?
The soft drink is inserted in its distinctive codd-neck glass bottle, just as it originally was over 100 years ago. Peculiarly, at the top of the bottle you'll find a marble which is forced up there by the gas inside the bottle. Pressured against a rubber ring, the marble serves as a carbonation sealer. The unconventionality of the bottle and the marble in it is definitely an important element of why this is a beloved item. Another reason is that ramnune is just so refreshing on a hot Japanese summer day! It has come to become an iconic summer festival drink. Opening the bottle is like a game for children. That's another reason for its popularity.
How to Open a Bottle of Ramune?
The way to open a bottle of ramune is not exactly very intuitive. You have to remove the cap first, then push the cylinder shaped-part (pink element in the picture above) of the cap you have just removed against the marble. As this is done, some gas from the carbonation will be released and the drop in pressure inside the bottle will cause the marble to sink. You can then start drinking your ramune. Be careful when you push down the marble however, you may get spayed by the soda!
The lemony flavor was the original. However nowadays ramune comes in many different original flavors such as melon, strawberry, orange, blueberry and even... wasabi!
Where to buy it?
If you go to one of the many Japanese summer festivals you shouldn't have too much trouble to find a stall that sells ramune. Occasionally, you can also buy them at some convenience stores, drug stores and super markets but only for a limited time during the summer. They sell for about 150 yen.
There are also different kinds of candies and desserts that are made from ramune flavor. The Lawson convenience store currently sells a limited edition chilled ramune mochi balls. Go get one while it lasts!