There is nothing like the summers in Japan. The heat, humidity and soaring temperatures are enough to keep one homebound. Luckily there is one yummy alternative to dying in the heat – Kakigori! Kakigori is a delicious concoction of shaved ice with some form of syrup or sweetener (usually condensed milk or even ice cream) that has taken Japan by storm. I will outline the top 5 must-go kakigori places in Tokyo.
This Taiwanese import has been wowing customers since it opened in Omotesando earlier this year. At last visit there were lines for several hours! The best part are the tapioca pearls that take me back to my childhood growing up in Asia. It definitely lives up to its title as the size is huge. They also have soft serve ice cream and drinks at more moderate sizes.
— AugustJUNE (@AUGUST__JUNE) 2016年5月22日
This shaved ice meets cake hybrid is one of the prettiest versions of Kakigori I’ve ever seen. Composed of layers of shaved ice, cream and fresh fruit, It truly is a work of art, but edible and very yummy!
— かき氷カフェバーyelo-イエロ@六本木 (@yelojp) 2016年12月15日
Unlike traditional Kakigori made of condensed milk this one is made of fresh milk making for a lighter overall texture. They boast multiple toppings from fresh fruit, oreos and even have specialty flavors like fresh tiramisu! The best part is they are open till the early AM hours where they can start adding adult beverages to the kakigori (think alcohol and coffee liquors) – yum!
Located on the 26th floor of the iconic hotel, this is likely the most high-end of all the choices listed. The kakigori comes as part of their summer special afternoon tea set (it is not available in winter time). For 1,800 yen one can get a petit four, a choice of kakigori and drink. For 5,000 yen, however, one can upgrade to caviar shaved ice. In addition to the syrup flavors one can even add champagne, taking Kakigori to a whole new extreme.
This Kakigori shop, while somewhat out of the way location-wise boasts natural ice straight from the Nikko/Mt Fuji area. Their signature strawberry milk kakigori is well worth the trip, but they are also known for different flavors ranging from sweet potato to even natto and kinako! Strange sounding combinations but actually not a bad taste at all.
This list is by no means comprehensive and there are so many great kakigori shops to try especially in the summer. Feel free to post any favorites below. We would love to hear your thoughts! As always, itadakimasu!
Also,as an added bonus for a limited time Roppongi Hills currently sometimes has a pop-up shop featuring some of the places in this article along with a few others well known in Tokyo. (As of February 2018 this i not available). It would definitely make for a fun family summer outing, so brave the heat and head off on your kakigori adventure!