Coca-Cola’s new limited-edition Japan travel destination bottles highlight history and culture

Company breaks with tradition by letting Nagoya Castle bottle shine in gold.

This week saw the anticipated release of Coca-Cola Clear in Japan, which confused our minds but pleased our palates in our taste test. The transparent soda isn’t the only eye-catching offering from the soft drink giant this month, however.

Last year, Coca-Cola introduced a line of regional slim bottles, baring beautiful artwork saluting cities and regions including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Yokohama. With thirsty travelers getting ready to make their way across the country during summer vacation, the company has announced six new designs that collectors and Japanophiles won’t want to miss.

Up first is the Sendai bottle, featuring the city’s feudal samurai lord Date Masamune, in the same horseback pose as his statue that greets visitors to the largest city in the northeastern Tohoku region.

While every design in the series is rendered only in Coca-Cola’s traditional red and white, Nagoya’s new bottle is bold in gold with its depiction of the kinshachi, a mythical creature that adorns the uppermost roof of Nagoya Castle.

Connecting Chiba Prefecture with Tokyo, the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line expressway, which runs straight across the bay and offers breathtaking unobstructed views, is the subject of the Chiba bottle, which also gives a nod to the coastal prefecture’s renowned surf spots.

The national high school baseball tournament has been a highlight of summer in Japan for decades. The championship game is always played at Hyogo Prefecture’s Koshien Stadium (roughly halfway between Osaka and Kobe), and the venue serves as the inspiration for the fourth new bottle.

And for even more baseball, there’s the Hiroshima Boya bottle, which bears the adorably determined likeness of the mascot of Hiroshima’s professional baseball team, the Carp (whose colors, like Coca-Cola’s, are crimson and white).

And last, Coca-Cola gets cultural with its Meiji Restoration (Meiji Ishin in Japanese) bottle, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1868 event in which the emperor was restored to power over the shogun, ending Japan’s centuries-long feudal period and ushering in modernization as the country opened to the outside world. Seen on the bottle are politically progressive samurai Saigo Takamori and Sakamoto Ryoma, both key figures in this turning point in Japanese history.

▼ The 250-mililiter (8.5-ounce) bottles are priced at 125 yen (US$1.15), and go on sale June 25.

Each design will primarily be offered in and around its respective city/region. The Meiji Restoration bottle will be offered in west Japan, in recognition of Saigo and Sakamoto’s respective birthplaces of Kumamoto and Kochi Prefectures, and since Kochi is on the island of Shikoku, don’t forget to pick up Coca-Cola’s Shinto shrine pilgrimage/anime girl bottle too while you’re there.

Source: Coca-Cola via Narinari
Images: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola releases special anime-design bottle just for Japan

Designed by the studio behind the Fate anime franchise, the bottle is exclusive to one region of the country.

Over the past few years, Coca-Cola has shown a willingness to mix things up with its visual design in Japan. Sure, the brand’s iconic logo and distinctive shade of red are always part of the package, but Coca-Cola also likes to add in bits of distinctively Japanese flair.

So far, we’ve seen gorgeous collectible bottles saluting popular tourism destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, and the Seto Inland Sea, as well as a springtime sakura motif. Now, Coca-Cola is decorating its bottles with something just as Japanese as Shinto shrines or cherry blossoms: anime characters.

Featured on the special bottles, which went on sale May 4, are Megumi, Chiwa, and Mao, the three stars of anime TV series Ohenro. Produced by Tokyo-based Ufotable (the same studio behind the popular Fate anime franchise), Ohenro, which literally means “pilgrims,” follows the three girls as they embark on the traditional pilgrimage of 88 Buddhist temples on Japan’s island of Shikoku, something that real-life travelers do to this day.

▼ Megumi, on the left, is outfitted with the customary walking stick and conical hat of Shikoku pilgrims, and the group is posing in front of the Onaruto Bridge, which connects Shikoku with Japan’s main island of Honshu.

Fittingly, if you want to get your hands on this special bottle, you’ll have to journey to Shikoku, as sales are limited to the island. The 250-milliliter bottle is priced at 125 yen (US$1.15) in stores and 150 yen in vending machines, and is available at locations including JR Tokushima Station and Tokushima Awaodori Airport. It should make for a great thirst-quencher if you’re doing the pilgrimage circuit yourself, or biking the region’s breathtaking Shimanami Kaido. Just remember to hang on to the bottle instead of tossing it in a recycling box.

Source: Ufotable via Otakomu, Tokushima Shimbun
Top image: Ufotable
Insert images: Ufotable