14 Sweets to Cool You Off in the Hot Tokyo Summer
Cool desserts are a must in the hot summer months. Here’s a list of refreshments found in Tokyo from the traditional to the modern. You can easily buy them at convenience stores, or go to the restaurant. Try them out!
Jul 11 2015 (May 29 2020)
1. Fruit jelly, Senbikiya Nihonbashi Main Store（千疋屋 日本橋本店）
Fruit jelly in summer is a really nice cool-down. You can find it everywhere and even can make it on your own. Remember this is Japan where the quality of fruit has a high reputation. Some shops offer jelly made from seasonal fresh fruit juice. Doesn't it sound interesting to try one?
Address: Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, 2-1-2 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
2. Coffee jelly, Komeda Coffee（コメダ珈琲）
The flavor of coffee differs, and the arrangement, too. Here’s a sample. Komeda Coffee, one coffee chain in Japan, offers their version. While their regular is served with iced coffee, what they offer this summer is ones with milk and whipped cream, and caramel sauce and salt as toppings. So many countries, so many customs.
Price range (Komeda Coffee): ~1,000yen
www.komeda.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
3. Kuzukiri（くずきり）, Toraya Akasaka（とらや 赤坂本店）
Kuzukiri is made from kuzu powder and water, and served with kuromitsu (black sugar syrup). It’s a simple summer sweet, and good for vegans, too. Though the real kuzu powder is expensive because of its hard producing process, it has medicinal effects which their cheap substitutes don’t have. Furthermore, the texture of kuzukiri containing lots of kuzu tastes simply good.
Price range (Toraya): 1,000~2,000yen
Address: 4-9-22 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
4. Tokoroten（ところてん）, Tsuruse（つる瀬）
Tokoroten are clear jelly-like noodles made from agar. Served chilled with vinegar-soy sauce or black sugar syrup, it’s popular in hot summer months. Made from seaweed, the material (agar) is almost zero calories and rich in dietary fiber. You can enjoy the jelly-like texture without gelatin, which is good for vegetarians.
Price range (Tsuruse): ~1,000yen
tsuruse.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 3-35-8 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
5. Kuzumochi（葛餅）, Matsuya（松屋）
Kuzumochi is originally made from kuzu powder, water and sugar served with kinako (roasted soybean powder) and kuromitsu syrup. It’s another traditional cool dessert. Thereare many shops selling kuzumochi at reasonable price using substitute starch or flour. Though you cannot call it gluten-free nowadays, it's still healthy and good for vegans.
Price range (Matsuya): 1,000~2,000yen
sites.google.com/site/tokyomatsuya/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 6-8 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
6. Warabimochi（わらびもち）, Gion Tokuya Harajuku（祇園 徳屋 原宿店）
Warabimochi has been a local summer sweet originally from Kansai. Made from warabi (bracken) powder, water and sugar, it’s soft and a little chewy. Normally served with kinako powder or kuromitsu syrup. Warabimochi made from real warabi root powder costs a lot, but tastes exceptional. Ones sold at reasonable price are made from substitute starch. My recommendation is to try some and see the difference. They are different, really.
Price range (Tokuya): 1,000~2,000yen
www.united-arrows.jp/harajuku/womens/tokuya/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1F United arrows Harajuku 2-31-12 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, tokyo (Google Map)
7. Mizu yokan（水羊羹）, Taneya（たねや）
Mizu yokan is a type of Yokan, a fixture in summer. It’s basically made from sweet red beans, sugar and agar. The main difference between yokan and mizu Yokan is the ingredients ratio. With less agar and more water - ‘mizu' - the texture is softer and more moist. It’s a good cool-down. Best served cold.
Price range (Taneya): 1,000~2,000yen
taneya.jp/okashi/ (Japanese Only)
8. Kingyoku kan（錦玉羹）, Minamoto Kichoan（源 吉兆庵）
Kingyoku kan is mainly made from agar and sugar. The cool appearance given by its transparency is appreciated especially in summer. You will find beautiful pieces featuring the season displayed at Japanese confectionery stores. Enjoy the refinement of Japanese food culture.
Price range: ~1,000yen / piece
www.kitchoan.co.jp/site/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 7-8-9 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
9. Anmitsu（あんみつ）, Ginza Wakamatsu（銀座 若松）
Anmitsu is a colorful cute dessert made with agar-jelly cubes, beans, and anko served with kuromitsu. Dating back to 1930, the owner of Ginza Wakamatsu at the time added anko (sweet red bean paste) to mitsumame, a recipe originated from an Asakusa confectionery. Anmitsu achieved popularity thereafter, and now you have various versions normally accompanied with some fruit and ice cream.
Price range: ~1,000yen
ginza-wakamatsu.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 5-8-20 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
10. Amazake（甘酒）, Amanoya（天野屋）
Amazake is a traditional sweet drink made from fermented rice. Though the name includes sake (liquor), it’s non- or very low-alcoholic. With its easy recipe and rich nutritious value, amazake has been popular to survive the hot summer in Japan for ages. Containing no sugar, some people prefer to use it as a natural sweetener for a healthy diet.
Price range (Amanoya): ~500yen
www.amanoya.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-18-15 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
11. Ice Monaka, Mitsubachi（みつばち）
Ice monaka is made with ice cream sandwiched between thin crisp wafers. Though you can find ones in convenience stores, the one introduced here is free of dairy products. The ogura (red sweet beans) ice or black sugar ice served here don’t contain any, and the wafers are made from mochi-rice powder. Enjoy healthy sweets made by the hand of an old Japanese confectioner!
Price range: ~500yen/ piece
mitsubachi.tokyo/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 3-38-10 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
12. Green tea, nana's green tea（ナナズグリーンティー）
Nana’s green tea offers a wide range of sweets with Japanese tea flavors. They aim to offer the Japanese food culture with high quality and reasonable prices. This place is good for those who love to choose from a wide variety, or those who want to enjoy green tea casually. Besides the Jiyugaoka main shop, there’s several branches like the one in Skytree Solamachi.
Price range: ~1,000yen
Address: 1-29-18 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
13. Ice cake, GLACIEL（グラシエル）
If you are craving for both ice cream and fancy cakes, Glaciel in Omotesando is the right place. Run by LeTao, the popular confectionery in Otaru, Hokkaido, the high quality is assured. Finely decorated ice cakes looks just like real cake. Joy for your eyes and palate!
Price range: 1,000 ~2,000yen
www.glaciel.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 5-2-23 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
14. Luxurious sorbet, Keyakizaka（けやき坂）, Grand Hyatt
This ultimate sorbet is served at a teppanyaki restaurant, Keyakizaka, from 1st July- 31st August on the fourth floor of the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi. Prepared with champagne, orange juice, orange and lemon peel on -79 degree dry ice on the grill right before your eyes, it’s a joy for all your senses.
Price range: 8,000~ 30,000yen , Sorbet: 1,800yen (tax & charge excluded)
Address: 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Japan (Google Map)
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.