After looking at the brilliant gold leaf covering the World Heritage-listed temple, you can now eat it too, in a beautifully presented ice cream cone.

Kinkakuji, also known as the “Golden Pavilion”, remains one of Japan’s most popular sightseeing spots, drawing thousands of visitors to its grounds every year. While it’s a top destinations for tourists, it’s also located outside of central Kyoto, in a quieter area with fewer shops and local restaurants to relax in after enjoying a day out at the temple. Now there’s an establishment nearby that’s drawing visitors to its doors with a new local specialty: Kinkaku Soft Ice Cream.

▼ The sweet is making news around Japan for its dazzling ingredient: pure gold leaf.


Visitors to the Golden Pavilion have been raving over the golden treat, so we headed down to the area on a hot day to try one for ourselves. When we arrived, there were already several people waiting in line, and as each one received their soft serve, there were exclamations of “It’s so shiny!”; “Eating this is going to make me rich!”; and “Quick – take a photo!”, which only increased everyone’s excitement over the unusual dessert. When our turn came to order, we could see what all the fuss was about, as each item was carefully served up with all the quiet finesse of a master craftsman at work.


Using a small pair of wooden tongs, the square sheet of gold leaf was carefully separated from a pile and then placed gently over the soft serve, which sat inside a large waffle cone.


▼ The individual care and attention given to each serving added to the theatre.


As a beautiful nod to the traditional Japanese atmosphere of the historic district, the soft serve was wrapped in a delicate, gold flecked traditional washi paper, specially made for the store by a paper craftsman.


Just as Kinkakuji gleams in the light with its gold-leaf encasing, the soft serve created in its honour gleamed also — only this one has a deliciously sweet treat underneath its gold exterior!


Not only did it look amazing, but it was absolutely delicious too! It contained a smooth and creamy matcha ice cream, made from stone-ground high-quality powdered green tea, blended with rich milk, which brought out a beautifully bittersweet vanilla flavour. Inside the cone was a chewy glutinous rice cake ball, which made it taste like a parfait in a waffle cone!


While the sweet red adzuki beans gave the treat another layer of flavour and texture, the real star of the dish was the spectacular gold topping. While we’ve seen gold-topped ice creams in the past, this one is said to use a special grade of leaf containing a higher amount of gold content than most. This enhances its effectiveness, which, according to research based on “brain waves and emotion”, shows that gold is able to vitalise the left side of the brain. As we ate the luxurious-looking leaf, we were expecting to taste something metallic, but it appeared flavourless, blending in perfectly with the ice cream. It did look stunning though, and we felt absolutely spoilt while eating it!


Each ice cream retails for 950 yen (US$9.40), which might sound expensive, but for the quality of ingredients and the memorable experience, it was absolutely worth it. Located just outside the main entrance to the temple, it’s a perfect place to stop by on your way back into the city after a trip to the Golden Pavillion.

Store Information
Kinkaku Soft/ 金閣そふと
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Kita-ku, Kinugasanishi, Goshonouchicho 38-1
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (weekdays); 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (weekends)
Website (English)

Photos © RocketNews24
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