The notion that kombucha comes from Japan is a common misconception. According to the Japan Times, English speakers very likely mistook the Japanese word kombucha to mean fermented tea when it was in fact the name of kelp tea, which has no fermentation in it at all.

Perhaps partly due to this confusion, kombucha the fermented tea beverage has thus far only had limited success in the Japanese market, unlike in Europe and North America.

However, that may be on the verge of changing. One possible indication is the appearance of a new Kombucha drink in convenience stores, perhaps the first of its kind in Japanese kombini.


The Family Mart convenience store chain teamed up with Asahi Beverages to create KOMBUCHA, a completely new type of carbonated beverage with 55% mixed fruit juice. It has no added flavoring agents, only the delicious taste of fragrant fermented apple and mango juice, along with lemon juice and healthy Kombucha extract.

Perhaps to avoid confusing consumers who are still unfamiliar with Kombucha, the name of the product is written in upper-case English letters, and glossed in katakana next to it as (コン・ブチャ)or "kom-bucha," which imparts a kind of exoticism to it while also further disassociating itself from kelp tea, which would be transcribed (if one had to) in katakana as コンブ・チャ "kombu-cha"

Product Information

  • Name (JP): 「KOMBUCHA(コン・ブチャ)」 PET450ml
  • Meaning: KOMBUCHA in a 450 ml plastic (PET) bottle
  • Content: 55% mixed fruit juice beverage (with carbonation)
  • Price: 150 JPY plus tax
  • On sale from: May 26th, 2020
  • At all 16,000 Family Mart locations in Japan

By - Ben K.