10 Refreshing Japanese Summer Treats to Beat the Heat in Japan

  • FOOD
  • During the summer season, people tend to feel sluggish and lazy, and the unbearable heat makes them want to stay indoors. This summer, energize your body by treating yourself to these 10 refreshing Japanese summer treats!

    1. Nagashi Somen

    Other than being cooling and refreshing, it is also fun to eat. The somen noodles are carried by cold water in a flume. Then, you have to catch the somen using a pair of chopsticks and dip them in tsuyu before eating. I highly recommend eating nagashi somen as a family activity.

    2. Kakigori

    Kakigori is basically shaved ice topped with flavored syrup and sometimes other toppings like fruits, ice cream, adzuki beans, etc. During summer, kakigori can be found virtually everywhere.

    3. Tokoroten

    A type of kanten or agar noodle that can be eaten hot or cold, tokoroten is tasteless and has the texture and consistency of an agar. The way of eating it can vary from region to region. Some popular ways of eating it are with vinegar, kuromitsu (sweet black syrup), and soy sauce. It can also be found in most supermarkets.

    4. Anmitsu and Mitsumame

    A type of Japanese dessert made of small cubes of kanten jelly with toppings such as fruits and mochi (pounded sticky rice). The difference between anmitsu and mitsumame is that the former contains anko (red bean paste) while the latter does not. They usually come with kuromitsu which you can pour onto the jelly before eating.

    Mitsumame started to be sold towards the end of the Edo era as a dessert for children. The present type of mitsumame was created in 1903, whereas the present type of anmitsu was created in 1930.

    5. Mizu Yokan

    There are two main types of yokan called “neri yokan” and “mizu yōkan,” the latter being a popular summer wagashi. The main ingredient for yokan is kanten. Mizu yokan contains more water and tastes lighter than neri yokan.

    6. Kuzukiri

    While it may look similar to tokoroten, this dessert is made of kuzuko (葛粉), which is a type of starch powder made from kudzu root. It has a flatter and wider shape compared to tokoroten and is eaten with kuromitsu.

    7. Kuzumochi

    Kuzumochi is basically a type of mochi made of kuzuko served chilled with kuromitsu and kinako (黄粉 – roasted soybean flour). The texture is described to be somewhere in between gelatin and mochi but not too sticky.

    8. Mizu Shingen Mochi

    Recently, this has become quite a popular treat even during the non-summer seasons. Also known as a “raindrop cake,” this dessert is served with kuromitsu and kinako. It is created by Kinseiken Seika and can only retain its shape for 30 minutes in room temperature before turning back into liquid.

    9. Mochi Ice Cream

    This treat is just mochi with an ice cream filling. It was created by Japanese-American businesswoman and activist Frances Hashimoto in the early 1990s. Due to the complexity of its ingredients, it took about a decade of research and development for mochi ice cream to become what it is today.

    10. Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華)

    This Japanese dish named “hiyashi chuka” ironically means “chilled Chinese.” It consists of chilled ramen noodles with a variety of toppings such as shredded tamagoyaki (omelet), cucumber, crab stick, and so on. It is served cold with tare sauce (dipping sauce used for grilling). It is also called “reimen (冷麺)” in the Kansai region and “hiyashi ramen (冷やしラーメン)” in Hokkaido.

    After reading this list, your mouth is probably already watering! Most of these 10 tasty treats can only be found in Japan, so remember to cool yourself down by trying them out when you visit the country this summer.