I love Japan's mineral water. I'm a sentient being, so water is more then just a colorless, tasteless, and odorless beverage, it's a precious resource that comes in many flavors and textures. Even mineral content can vary from one minor degree to the next, which all have an effect on the taste. Water is the quintessence of tea and nihonshu in Japan. It is also the quiddity of every onsen ever soaked since time immemorial. In Japan water is king!
One of the things I like most about Japan is that almost every prefecture has its own mineral water source. This is good for so many reasons, one of them being for making good sake, especially nihonshu. Mineral water has also been used for growing delicious fruits and vegetables. I will attempt to highlight some of my favorites and that of many other water aficionados in Japan.
First, let's start with some household name brands. The first is called Rokou no Oishii water and it's from Osaka. Almost every supermarket chain in Japan carries this brand. Natrium is 2.95mg/Calcium 0.65mg/Magnesium 0.37mg/potassium is 0.08mg. The pH is 7.2. If you like something soft and with very little mineral content then I recommend trying this one. A lot of elderly people buy this brand for some reason.
Next up, the picture below, is called Suntory Natural Mineral Water from the Minami Alps. Now I like this water very much because it has a little more acid and mineral content than the first one. The pH is 6.7, we get 0.97 calcium and 0.28 potassium. It gets its taste from the lower pH, which for me has a perfect balance that make a mineral water taste great; refreshing taste, good medium hard water consistency.
Another interesting tid bit is that it's bottled on site, or at the water source itself! Most times water is transferred to a processing plant first and then bottled, which isn't necessarily a demerit, but a good precautionary measure in case there's something detected in the water itself, and also to remove excessive calcium and magnesium, which are the two main minerals that make water hard.
Leaving Kanagawa Prefecture there are two very nice mineral water choices. Ones from Shinshu/Nagano Prefecture and the other is from Kumamoto Prefecture on the Island of Kyushu.
Let's start with Nagano Prefecture first. It's called Kiso no Oishi Mizu / 木曽のおいしい水 and it's a soft water type that's very easy to drink. It too is bottled at the source.
pH 6.8, Potassium 0.94mg, Calcium3.0mg, magnesium 0.54mg. There're a couple of supermarkets down in my area that sell this one. Not particularly my favorite, but the taste could easily appeal to the soft water drinker. Kiso is a very famous part of Nagano, by the way. Been there and loved this place, especially if you are into Hinoki and onsen.
The last really good one is called Shirakawa Suigen, Minami Aso Hakusui Village from Kumamoto Prefecture located on the Kyushu Island of Japan. According to the legend, a long time ago, the dragon god of water lived in the gushing waters of the fountainhead.
Natrium is 1.0mg, calcium 2.3mg, magnesium 0.6mg, potassium 04.mg, ph 7.1. Mineral content in water does make a difference in taste. Calcium content is high in this one, so the tongue may think it's a hard water when in actuality it really isn't that hard. Often times when you hear words like "pH" then you need to thing more along the lines of how it has an effect on human skin, and not so much on the taste.
The higher the pH the more emollient properties are in the water. This means that it makes your skin feel smoother and with a mild astringent affect. How it relates to you internally may have something to do with aiding in digestion..... Natrium is just another word for sodium.
All-in-all, Japan's got some pretty good mineral water. I plan to continue this water series this week, but only next time it'll be with mineral water used to make Japanese sake!