It comes without saying that ice cream sales go through the roof during the Japanese summer, as people try to survive the heat during the brutal July to September season. In sweltering heat, people in Japan tend to prefer ice cream that is more “ice” than “cream”: i.e hello refreshing popsicles and bye-bye thick milky ice cream. We will discuss two of the most popular ice cream/popsicle brands in Japan!
Gari-gari kun is a homegrown brand of ice popsicles. They mix ice candy with actual ice bits, so it makes a gari-gari cracking sound in your mouth. The ice, as you imagine, is wonderful for beating the summer heat. The first gari-gari kun ice cream is a soda flavor, which in Japan is associated with a blue sugary syrup (nobody is claiming gari-gari kun is in anyway organic…). However, it has released limited edition flavors from the ordinary (strawberry, apple), to the weird (corn soup, anybody?) Of course, the weirder the flavor, the better the sales, as people just could not help but just get one and try it for themselves.
Also, do not toss away your popsicle sticks before looking, as some of you may be lucky enough to get a printed stick that entitles you to another free gari-gari kun! The feeling of pure win after getting a gari-gari kun lucky stick may be worth much more than the actual popsicle prize, or even the likes you get on twitter when you post your winning moment.
Suica bar, as the name suggest, is a watermelon popsicle (suica is Japanese for watermelon). Suica bar is only released during the summer time, and the arrival of these popsicles in convenience stores is often a mini event. I would go as far as to say that it warrants an obligatory comment that summer has arrived to your convenience-store-run buddy. Suica bar is a delicious popsicle that tastes like very sweet watermelon, but has the frosty consistency of a typical popsicle. The genius lies in its “watermelon seeds”, which are actually chocolate chips.
So before packing up for your firework event, be sure to sneak in some of these beauties into the cooler box to keep yourself cool!
11 Classic Japanese Ice Creams and Popsicles for your Sweet Tooth