Almost Too Beautiful to Eat! Where to Find Delicious and Insta-worthy Kakigori in Tokyo
Summer time calls for an icy treat to beat the heat. In Japan, eating shaved ice—known as kakigori—is one of the best and most traditional ways to cool down. Kakigori is a classic bestseller at summer festival stalls, with people often lining up for a cup that only costs a few hundred yen. Kakigori is essentially shaved ice simply sweetened with flavored syrup.
Nowdays though, modern trends are presenting a new take on the humble dessert and giving it increasingly elaborate variations. So what’s the latest keyword in the demand for kakigori? Simple: Photogenic.
Shimokita Chaen Oyama
Never had a bowl of kakigori been so luxurious until Shimokita Chaen Oyama came into the scene with their matcha kakigori. The ice is completely covered in thick Uji matcha mousse cream and sweetened with extra syrup. Despite its rich appearance, the kakigori is actually low in sugar. It’s perfect for matcha lovers who want some of that flavorful bitterness in their sweet treat. Since summer came it has rocketed in popularity, customers can expect to wait well over an hour just to get their hands on a bowl.
Address: 〒155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-30-2
Wa Kitchen Kanna
Sometimes kakigori gets an international twist too. This restaurant in trendy Sangenjaya draws crowds to their relaxing space with their tantalizing array of flavors. They’re beloved by people of all ages for their famously fluffy kakigori. One of their biggest hits is the tiramisu kakigori, an elegant and decadent dessert. It’s covered with creamy mascarpone, a velvety topping that complements the feather-light ice for a unique texture. With that delicious appearance, there’s no doubt that this is one of Instagram’s biggest kakigori stars.
Address: 〒154-0002 Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Shimo-uma 2-43-10 2F
Interestingly, this small restaurant specializes in two things—ramen and kakigori. It’s an interesting and also confusing combination, but after eating a piping hot bowl of ramen it might make sense to cool down with a big bowl of shaved ice. It helps that Haimuru boasts a huge variety of flavors and dollops on a generous serving of cream. The “Princess” is one of the most popular flavors, lathered with thick strawberry espuma cream and milk fromage in a luxurious mixture of textures.
Address: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Oyama 2-16-1, Rose Heights 1F
Ichou no Ki
Decoration makes all the difference in kakigori. The more colorful, the more elaborate is, the bigger an impact it’ll make on the menu (and your social media feed, of course). Popular café Ichou no Ki has been making gourmet media headlines with their ajisai kakigori, a summer special decorated with hydrangea petals made of pastel-colored kanten jelly. It’s both beautiful to look at and refreshing to eat.
Address: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Kitashinagawa, 1 Chome-28-14
If you’re tired of scraping your kakigori out of a bowl, how about having it in cake form? In this never before seen rendition, kakigori is served to you as a confectionery. On the outside it looks just like a beautiful, creamy strawberry shortcake, but dig your spoon in and you’ll find shaved ice doused with strawberry syrup.
They even do a crème brulee kakigori which, not surprisingly, looks nothing like kakigori on first sight. Its beautifully charred, golden caramel surface is instantly attractive, and the inside won’t disappoint either with its sweet shaved ice tinged with espresso sauce.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Kamiyama-cho, 7-15-102
We’re seeing increasingly creative kakigori these days, and this time of the year is when it reaches its peak of popularity. It’s become something of an edible art piece, and people all over Japan are flocking to the most unique kakigori places around. Still, tradition can’t be budged by modern fads—you can still find the good old cups of kakigori at summer festivals. It’s just another good example of Japan’s flair at combining tradition and cutting-edge trends.
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