Japan is insufferably hot and humid in the summer. I was born and raised in Las Vegas NV. There, the summer heat cranks up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 44 degrees Celsius). Although the temperature is incredibly high, it is very dry. Japan, on the other hand, is both hot and humid. So how can you stay cool in these terrible summer months? Below are the top 10 delicious snacks (in my opinion) that will keep you cool.
This is one of my favorite items on this list, but it is this far down in the countdown because they are very difficult to find. Fusen ice are thick balloons filled with ice cream! You bite off (or cut off) the tip, and as the ice cream melts, the balloon compresses, and shoots the ice cream into your mouth. This is great for the summer because you can squeeze the balloon to speed the melting of the ice cream, and to cool your hands at the same time. Be careful if you are giving this to children. Of course, there is a risk of choking if they try to swallow the balloon, but the more probable risk is that the last bit of ice cream has the sentence of shooting out like a squirt gun, and can be a bit messy.
Coolish is bagged ice cream. These packets are full of different types of flavor. (My favorite is just plain old vanilla.) The ice cream is less creamy than the fusen ice variety and has small chunks of ice that makes the ice cream more like a shake. I like to buy a couple of packets and put them in my pockets for a few minutes to let the ice cream melt a little, then drink it down. SO GOOD! You can find Coolish in any convenience store and it is normally under 150 yen.
Yukimi Daifuku are mochi (steamed and pounded rice) balls with ice cream in the center. These usually come in packets of two. If you are not a big fan of mochi, that’s okay! The mochi is very thin and 99 percent of the snack is just delicious ice cream! This also comes in different flavors, but often they are only available for limited times, so if you see something that piques your interest, best to buy it then because it might not be available later. These are also available in nearly every convenience store. I find that Family Mart tends to be a little more hit-or-miss but 7-Eleven almost always carries them.
While McDonald’s ice cream is not limited to Japan, it has so many locations which makes this tasty treat a scrumptious and accessible option. McDonald’s Soft Twist is very soft and creamy. It is also very affordable at only 100 yen!
Like the above, these are not limited to Japan but McDonald’s milkshakes are so good. Japanese McDonald’s offers McShakes in three flavors (vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate) but they often have a special limited time flavor such as yogurt flavor and Morinaga Milk Caramel. These special flavors are usually only available for just a month or two before disappearing, so try them while you can. McShakes are available at 120 yen for the small size and 200 yen for the medium size.
Yeah, I know there are a lot of milkshakes on this list, sorry. They are just so delicious. And few milkshakes are better than LOTTERIA’s milkshakes. They are so sweet, creamy, and thick. They have a much more handmade quality compared to McDonald’s McShakes. The only problem is that LOTTERIA does not have nearly as many locations as McDonald’s so finding one might be troublesome, depending on where you are. But during the summer, LOTTERIA often has sales on their shakes, usually just for a little over 100 yen! Normally they are 240 yen, so if you see them on sale, you will never regret getting one!
This is basically a “fudgesicle.” If you are not a big fan of ice cream, this is basically a frozen chocolate bar. It melts slowly, has Akagi’s classic thick chocolate taste, and is probably the cheapest item on this list at a paltry 80 yen! You can find Chocolate Ice Bar Black in any convenience store. Just be careful not to drip any on your clothes if you are wearing light colors because it may stain.
551 Horai is a famous shop in the Kansai area and has limited availability outside of Kansai (just another in a long list of reasons Kansai is far superior to Kanto). 551 is most famous for their Chinese steamed pork buns but they also sell ice candy. Ice candies are basically popsicles. They come in a wide variety of flavors and are incredibly delicious. They are also very cheap, usually around 100 yen per popsicle.
A Monaka Jumbo is a type of ice cream sandwich. Usually, ice cream sandwiches available in the States are regular vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate wafers. But monaka in Japan are often regular plain wafer in which the inside has been lightly coated with chocolate. This keeps the wafer from becoming soft so monaka makes a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. Also, monaka’s wafers often wrap around the ice cream completely so that it does not drain down your hands and arms like ice cream sandwiches have the tendency to do. When buying your Monaka Jumbo, make sure you get a fresh one. Squeeze the bar lightly, if the wafer cracks and crumbles, you have a good one. If it just gives and flexes with your prodding, it’s probably an older one and the wafer is a little bit stale. Monaka Jumbo are available in virtually any convenience store in Japan and cost only around 130 yen.
Châteraisé is a sweets boutique and patisserie that is popular in Japan. I recommend anything in the shop. All of their ice cream is to die for. They also sell cakes and pastry but I just stick with the ice cream section. A few of my favorite items are the choco mint ice cream bars, the melon sherbet (they come in those little melon-shaped plastic cases), and the bonbon (fusen ice). Châteraisé is a very dangerous shop because you will almost always spend a lot more money than you had originally intended.
If you are visiting Japan for the hot summer months or if you just easily get hot and need to cool down, try some of these delicious snacks.