Cost: 100 yen
Found At: Vending Machine – Kyoto
Cherio vending machines are their own special creature. Not least because they are often fiendishly difficult to locate – not as ubiquitous as the Kirin, Asahi, Suntory, or Boss machines that you can find outside any apartment complex, train station, or four-way traffic stop. They are also one of the last 100yen holdouts against rising inflation – still sticking to their one-coin promise while the other vending machines run more in the 140 range. And perhaps because the lack of branding or the cheaper cost, it is here that you find some of the more unique sodas available in Japan. The kind of sodas that you cannot just pick up at your local convenience or grocery store and which you suspect are only available at this one vending machine.
Nihon no Cider is one of these. Somewhat reminiscent of the ubiquitous Mitsuya cider, Nihon no Cider has the added advantage of a brightly colored bottle, decorated with traditional Japanese woodprint scenes. The taste, however, is nothing short of horrific. To describe it in the most generous terms, the taste is vaguely medicinal – as if someone has added soda water to Pepto-Bismol. We tried to finish just one bottle between the three of us, and I’m sorry to say that we only managed about ½ a cup.