Lots of people in Japan like to drink hot water as a way to cleanse the digestive system and control gut health. While the science is out on whether it actually works, it’s something our reporter Mr Sato has been trying out lately, after his doctor told him he should start taking better care of what he puts into his body.
So when he heard that 7-Eleven was now catering to to the desires of the hot water-drinking public by selling bottles of hot water, Mr Sato immediately headed down to his nearest branch of the chain to check it out.
▼ Sure enough, when he arrived, there in the hot drinks section was…
▼ …hot natural spring water from Mt Tanigawa
Mr Sato had always thought Japanese convenience stores stocked everything he could ever want in terms of great food and beverages, but now that he had a bottle of hot water in his hand, he knew that to be true.
Plus, this wasn’t just any hot water — it was hot natural spring water from Mount Tanigawa, a 1,977-meter mountain on the border of Gunma and Niigata prefectures.
▼ Each 280-milliliter bottle retails for 91 yen.
What makes this new release even more intriguing is the fact that it comes with special branding that makes it clear this water is designed to be served hot, so you’ll never find it in the refrigerated section.
The “ホット” (“Hot”) sign on the label comes with the words, “gentle on the body“, and while it looks like a sticker from a distance, it’s not — it’s part of the label.
That means this water can only be sold hot — a fact that’s further reinforced by this part of the label that reads “Hot Use” and “Hot container sales exclusive product."
Despite having tried gallons of weird and wonderful exclusive drinks in Japan, this hot water beverage was the weirdest thing Mr Sato had seen since, well…bottled water. Having grown up without any bottled water on the market, Mr Sato remembered the days when water simply came out of the tap, not mountains, which made him wonder if he’d been duped into paying for something he could easily make at home. So he did what any experienced water drinker would do — he sought to silence the eye-rolling inner critic in him with a taste test.
Mr Sato poured the water out of the bottle and into a clear glass. Inspecting it closely, he found the liquid to be colorless, transparent and odorless, which is what you’d expect from spring water sourced from a Japanese mountain.
Mr Sato then grabbed a mug and filled it with water from the kettle, figuring it would be best to compare two purified forms of water rather than spring water vs tap water, which would have an obvious tap-water taste.
Inspecting the two side by side, the boiled tap water was also colorless, transparent and odorless. At this point, if this was a blind tasting, Mr Sato wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.
However, after taking a sip of each one, the difference became abundantly clear. The hot bottled water from Mt Tanigawa was overwhelmingly delicious. Mr Sato actually described it as “incomparable”, saying it had a smoother texture and no unpleasant taste, while also mentioning that it “suited his body”.
While Mr Sato was swayed on the taste and the gentle-on-the-body health benefits of the hot water, other happy customers have pointed out how convenient it is in helping mothers mix formula for their babies, and its ability to help create meals like ochazuke.
When it comes to making ochazuke, that’s something Mr Sato is a bit of an expert at, having tried it with a cup of plain hot water from Starbucks recently. However, now that he knows there’s a more convenient way to get his hot water fix, he’ll definitely be making more frequent stops at his local Japanese convenience store!
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