While Tokyo remains Japan’s largest and most internationally well-known metropolis, the city of Osaka is no slouch either. Osaka is known for its simple, tasty grub, such as takoyaki octopus dumplings and kushiage, basically deep-fried anything on a stick.

Osaka is also building a pantheon of cute, animal-shaped sweets, such as the platypus pastry which was on sale there until the end of last August. For autumn, there’s a new adorable dessert in town: this bathing bear made out of ice cream.

Offered by the Osaka Shin Hankyu Hotel, the creation is the follow-up to the hotel’s hit Bear in the Pool Ice Cream which it sold last summer.

IB 2

However, the idea of eating ice cream shaped like a floatie-wearing bear taking a cooling dip in the pool after the end of summer is, of course, preposterous. So the hotel did the only sensible thing by reshaping the dessert into a bear warming himself up in the bath tub.

IB 1

As a Japanese bear, he of course follows the country’s traditional bathing practice of folding his handtowel and placing it atop his head as he enjoys his soak. And as a perhaps borderline-alcoholic bear, he also has a floating tray with a bottle of sake on it, being gently heated by the bath’s waters.

The hotel’s new dessert is officially called “Ice Cream for After Getting Out of the Bath,” in reference to the two flavors to chose from, milk coffee and fruit milk. True Japanese bath aficionados hold that there’s hardly anything more refreshing than chugging a glass bottle of milk laced with coffee or fruit as soon as you get out of the tub, often with your bathtowel still wrapped around you. The image is so deeply rooted that any public bath or hot spring with a vending machine will be sure to stock it with such drinks.

The new bear ice cream goes on sale for a price of 420 yen (US$4.20) on October 1 in the hotel’s first floor lounge Brilliant, as well as its basement level café Bule Jean. Like the pool version that came before it, the bathing bear ice cream is available for a limited time only, so make sure you get yours before January 31.

Hotel Information
Osaka Shin Hankyu Hotel / 大阪新阪急ホテル
Osaka, Kita Ward, Shibata 1-1-35, 530-6310
大阪府大阪市北区芝田1-1-35 〒530-8310
Telephone: 06-6372-5101

Related: Osaka Shin Hankyu Hotel
Insert images: Osaka Shin Hankyu Hotel
[ Read in Japanese ]