Pocari Sweat is a popular Japanese sports drink that you could put in the same category as Gatorade or Powerade in the United States. You can find it in convenience stores, grocery stores, and of course, vending machines all over Tokyo. It’s been manufactured by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for nearly 30 years. Well, after 30 years, somebody must like it.
While the name Pocari Sweat seems strange to most foreigners it doesn’t translate as being gross to the Japanese. I have to admit that when I first saw it I knew I had to try it based on the name alone. The drink is clear, but slightly cloudy, so put that together with the word “sweat” and you’re not sure what you’re about to drink.
Does it taste like something wrung out of your gym socks? No, well, not really. It does have a very very slight salty aftertaste to it but it’s definitely second to the sweet, almost lemony, taste that comes across first. It’s a really light drink and I drink a ridiculous amount of it while trekking through the streets of Tokyo.
You can get Pocari Sweat in bottles and cans of all shapes and sizes as well as in a powdered form. I haven’t tried the powdered form myself, if you have what did you think? Was it as good as out of the bottle?
I had read on Wikipedia that the Arctic Shatter flavor of Powerade was supposed to taste similar to Pocari Sweat, so the next time I was at the grocery store I grabbed a bottle to check it out. There is a definite similarity in the look and taste though the Powerade had a little more of a light berry taste, where again Pocari Sweat is more lemony. Even so, it’s a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on the real thing, or don’t want to pay more for the import.
Check out this link to Wikipedia references of Pocari Sweat in pop culture:
Image Credit: Personal Collection