[2019 Edition] 10 Amazing Kakigori (Shaved Ice) Spots in Tokyo
Summers in Tokyo can be dreadfully hot and humid, and what better way to fight the heat than with some kakigori (shaved ice)? Once the weather starts warming up, shops all over Japan start selling kakigori. They range from simple and traditional offerings to fancy creations, but they're all undeniably super refreshing and delicious. Here are 10 amazing kakigori spots you'll want to cool down with in Tokyo this summer!
May 08 2019 (Jun 24 2019)
1. HACHIKU (Ikebukuro)
HACHIKU is one of the most popular kakigori shops in Tokyo. Even in the middle of winter, there are long lines of people eagerly waiting for a bite of their seasonal specialties. This small shop has garnered so much popularity that they've introduced a ticket system in which you have to line up to reserve a spot. While this means that you'll have to work your schedule around it and wait hours, their shaved ice creations are definitely worth the hype!
The menu options constantly change depending on what fruits are in season. Most of their items range from 650 yen to 850 yen. They constantly post on Twitter with updates on business hours, flavors, and ticket availabilities. Although the information is only available in Japanese, it's a good idea to check it before going!
2. Kurogi (Hongo)
Kurogi is a stylish cafe specializing in wagashi (Japanese sweets) and coffee. Their primary focus is on serving gorgeous traditional wagashi with elaborate and beautiful designs, but they also are famed for their intricate kakigori, which also portray a beautiful aesthetic appeal.
The kakigori on offer at Kurogi are limited seasonal edition flavors that are often only available for a month at a time. You'll have plenty to look forward to for each season with their constantly changing menu. Some of the flavors they've had in the past include Edamame Milk, Ringohime, and Sakurako, all of which artfully incorporate tastes to match the season. They also have unique options like this January's Wavocado, which was topped with avocado cream and gold flecks, along with a side of miso-honey sauce for a sweet and salty combination.
3. Shimura (Mejiro)
Shimura is a long-established wagashi shop that's been in business since 1939. Wagashi is sold on the first floor, and there are eat-in spaces on the second and third floors where a great majority of the customers order kakigori. The kakigori here has a great impact with a cliff-like appearance. On the side of this cliff, a river of shaved ice syrup flows down and accumulates in the pond below. Many of the flavors come with additional toppings like mochi (sweet rice cakes), flavored jelly, ice cream, and nuts.
As you dig into the snow-like mountain, you'll discover even more surprises within, like sweet red bean paste or flavored jelly! In addition to standard flavors like Strawberry (900 yen) and Azuki (800 yen), they also have seasonal specials that are exceptionally beautiful in appearance, such as the Fuji no Hana (1296 yen), which translates into "wisteria flower." It's colored a light lavender hue and has a herb tea flavor, which is then topped and filled with a lemon cream paste. The shop serves kakigori like this all year round, and with plenty of seating, you won't even have to wait too long in summer!
4. Ichounoki (Shinagawa)
If you're a kakigori lover in Tokyo, chances are you've probably heard of Ichounoki. This small shop has been serving kakigori since 1979 and regularly pops up on social media for their stunning bowls of shaved ice. Every few weeks, they release a new menu with artistic, original creations, which they periodically update on their blog.
Since their menu is constantly changing, there's always something to look forward to! Some examples of what they're serving up this spring are the Sakura Ajisai ("Cherry Blossom Hydrangea"), Zunda Ajisai ("Sweet Edamame Paste Hydrangea"), and Suika Sakura ("Watermelon Cherry Blossom"), which are priced at 900 yen each. The kakigori have several layers of different toppings and fillings, so you'll be able to enjoy a diverse combination of flavors. The Sakura Ajisai, for instance, starts off with a layer of mint milk on bottom, followed by brown sugar syrup and matcha, which is then finally topped with sakura cream and hydrangea-shaped jellies.
5. Banpaku (Sangenjaya)
Banpaku serves cute kakigori all year round within a bar in the stylish Sangenjaya neighborhood. They have many refreshing flavors that match perfectly with shaved ice, such as Wakayama Kiwi Milk and Strawberry Milk. Wakayama Mikan is a particularly adorable option with mikan (mandarin orange) syrup poured over it. It's garnished with a little leaf on top to give it the appearance of a mikan!
In addition to fresh fruity flavors, they also have unique choices such as Citrus Mint Milk (950 yen), which features pieces of grapefruit inside and slices of lemon and blood oranges soaked in honey on top! They may close early if they run out of ingredients, so be sure to get there early to grab a bite!
6. Yuki Usagi (Komazawa)
Yuki Usagi is another extremely popular kakigori shop in the city. You can choose from the seasonal fruit flavors on offer here, butt hey also have kakigori topped with caramel if you want something a bit more out of the ordinary.
Depending on the season, you can even find flavors like pumpkin cream with a drizzle of caramel on top. Check their Twitter to see what kind of options they're offering before you go!
7. Sebastian (Kamiyama-cho)
Situated in a prime location just 15 minutes on foot from Shibuya Station, Sebastian is a shop that sells healthy lunch boxes and "dolce" kakigori. The picture above is Lemon and Mixed Berries with Rare Cheese (1000 yen), a solid choice that is sure to please!
What they're really famous for, though, is there unique kakigori that take on a completely new shape and form. Instead of your typical bowl of shaved ice, you'll be served what looks like cake! Dig in with your spoon, and you'll be greeted with snowy flakes of ice and delicious kakigori fillings!
8. Sakanoue Cafe (Yushima)
With a menu offering food, drinks, and kakigori, this cafe is a great place to relax during your travels. The kakigori here are especially cute - you won't be able to resist taking a few photos before you dig in! The O-Matcha Short (1,300 yen) is completely doused in a layer of glossy matcha cream. It's filled with strawberry sauce inside, which goes perfectly with the distinct matcha taste.
One of their most popular items hands down is their SAKURA Panda (1,500 yen), and it's not hard to see why! Underneath the super adorable panda cream topping, you'll find mochi and strawberries inside! And we can't forget about the cute mini marshmallow panda that comes with it!
9. Kooriya Peace (Kichijoji)
This cozy cafe is located in Kichijoji, a neighborhood popular for its trendy little shops and eateries. They're sure to impress you with their shaved ice. They add a lot of class to their designs - check out the spun sugar on top of the Spring Cremet d'Anjou! It melts right into the yogurt-flavored cream and raspberry sauce.
Just one glance at their Christmas Tree and you'll feel some holiday cheer already! The adorable ice tree has azuki and matcha jelly on the inside and is topped with matcha cream and a star on top.
10. Haimaru Coffee (Koyama)
While the name might make you think this place is a normal cafe, it actually specializes in both ramen and kakigori! You'll be sure to enjoy many of their holiday specials, like Hearty Valentine (1,190 yen) for Valentine's Day or Oni-Chan (Little Devil) (1,090 yen) for the Japanese spring festival Setsubun.
Sometimes they'll modify items on their menu a little to add some holiday flair, like with this Hime (Princess) (1,190 yen). In the Easter version, they add on a cute pair of chocolate bunny ears to top it off!
There are so many different kinds of kakigori ranging in appearance and flavors. It goes without saying that they're lifesaver desserts in summer, but they're so popular that people even go out of their way to eat them in the middle of winter! With so many different choices, it'll be hard to choose which one to go to. Who knows, you might even find yourself going to multiple shops during your trip to survive Japan's intense heat!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.