It’s no secret that we love ice cream around here. In fact, we’ve often thought about petitioning someone to get it added to the food pyramid as a new, essential group unto itself. So far, no one has taken up our cause, but maybe they will after they see this list of delicious autumn-themed ice cream from Japan.

There are plenty of…unusual ice cream flavors, but chestnut might be the strangest we’ve seen. Here’s the real question though: Is it as tasty as it is bizarre?

Seasonal foods are always popular in Japan, and ice cream is obviously no exception to the rule. While some of us will gladly eat strawberry ice cream every day of the year, some people prefer a bit of variety, like our Japanese writing staff! Here’s a list of the top seven autumn ice cream according to one of our beloved writers from RocketNews24 Japan.

Häagen-Dazs Crispy Sandwich Sweet Potato 


To be honest, when we think of Häagen-Dazs, we don’t usually think of ice cream sandwiches–they almost seem too low-brow for the famous ice cream company. Which might explain why this item only came in seventh on this list. According to our writer, while it wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, this sandwich was light on the “sweet potato” flavor, which kind of defeats the point.

▼It does *look* really good though, doesn’t it?


Häagen-Dazs Waguri


Moving up a spot to number six, we have Häagen-Dazs’s Japanese chestnut ice cream. According to our writer, it tasted fine, but the chestnut flavor wasn’t particularly rich. When you think Häagen-Dazs, you think rich, high-quality ice cream–and for the price it better deliver! While this is perfectly serviceable chestnut ice cream, it doesn’t live up to expectation.

▼And those tiny 110 ml cups will set you back 284 yen (about US$2.75)!


Marunaga Kuri Ice Manju


This one is a bit…strange. “Manju,” of course, is a steam bun, but one look at this will tell you that it’s no normal steam bun! Instead, it’s an ice cream stick filled with red bean paste (anko) and chestnut.

▼It kind of looks like a sci-fi starship too…


According to our writer, the ice cream stick was delicious–but the chestnut taste was overwhelmed by the anko. Now, if you love anko, that’s not a bad thing, but it did leave our writer wondering what the point was. After all, this is supposed to be an autumn-themed ice cream taste test! So, while it was delicious, it fell to fifth place for not being “autumnal” enough.


Morinaga Pino Ajiwai Maron


Pino, one of the most popular snack brands in Japan, is getting in on the autumn ice cream action with some bite-sized chestnut-flavored ice cream. So, how does it fare? According to our writer, these little mounds get the chestnut flavor perfectly right! Unfortunately, Pino means there’s a chocolate coating, which apparently just doesn’t quite go with a rich chestnut taste. Which makes so much sense, we’re not sure why Pino didn’t think of that on their own…

Nevertheless, it was good enough to take the number four spot.

▼Our favorite thing about Pino? They come with stabbing weapons!


Imuraya Yaki Satsuimo Ice


Here’s a baked sweet potato bar–a definitively Japanese autumn taste if we’ve ever seen one! And, as you can see in the photo below, it also definitely looks the part!

▼Perfect for sneaking an ice cream snack before dinner!


The center is, of course, packed with sweet potato ice cream–and it is delicious ice cream indeed, according to our writer. The bar also mixes in some caramel, which compliments the sweet potato taste perfectly. So why is this only in the number three spot then? Imuraya added a layer of chocolate around the ice cream, which our writer found clashed with the sweet potato taste.

▼It would be like adding chocolate chips to your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.
Which, actually, sounds freaking amazing!


Häagen-Dazs Pumpkin


Pumpkin pie? Delicious! Roasted pumpkin seeds? Amazing! Pumpkin jack-o-lanterns? Awesome! Pumpkin ice cream? Umm…

While we’re admittedly a bit skeptical of this Häagen-Dazs creation, our trusty writer says it’s excellent. Where their chestnut cup left him feeling disappointed, this one apparently hit the spot with a rich, pumpkiny taste. He also notes that there’s some pumpkin sauce mixed in (you can kind of see the swirl in the picture below) that ties everything together perfectly.

▼Yeah, but can you carve a face in it??


Marunaga Ajiwai Oimomonaka


And in first place is an ice cream bar that is pretty much solid sweet potato from the top to the bottom. For our writer, this was the best “autumn ice cream,” because it doesn’t let anything get in the way or dilute the taste of pure, delicious sweet potato ice cream.

▼And it also looks like a real sweet potato, too!


A look at the ingredients also reveals just how much sweet potato was used–a freaking ton of it! The first and fourth ingredients listed are both sweet potato with only milk and sugar products sandwiched between them. Now, if you don’t like sweet potato, this 130 yen (roughly $1.20) ice cream bar is definitely something you should avoid. If you’re looking for a seasonal Japanese treat, though, this should suit you just fine!

▼Though you probably can’t get this from a music-playing truck.


Obviously, everyone’s taste will vary–you may not even like autumn flavors of ice cream! But next time you’re feeling adventurous at your local Family Mart, why not give one of these a try? Even if you end up hating it, at least you’ll have an interesting experience to share with your friends!

Though now we’re wondering how well the sweet potato ice cream goes with sweet potato shochu

All images by RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]