There’s so much to like about the city’s new signature sweet.

With ancient temples, mysterious burial mounds and one of the country’s largest bronze statues of Buddha, Nara is a city steeped in tradition and history, stemming from the fact that it was the site of Japan’s first permanent capital in 710.

The Japanese Imperial court ruled from modern-day Nara Prefecture, then known as Yamato Province, during the Yamato Period (250-710), and to this day, the word “Yamato” remains intact in a lot of ways around the city, most notably in reference to its local green tea, called Yamato-cha.

Now, Nara is working to promote the tea with a brand new dessert that’s winning everyone over with its delicious taste and good looks. Called the “Yamato-cha Soft-Serve Ice Cream”, the treat can be found at Cafe Etranger Narad, which recently opened on 4 June at the Nara Sightseeing Centre.

Luckily for us, our Japanese-language reporter K. Masami lives in Nara, and she was eager to head down to the new cafe to get her mouth around the gorgeous ice cream.

The first thing that stood out for Masami when she ordered the dessert was the adorable little deer biscuit perched on the side of the green ice cream.

Nara is famous for its deer, which are often seen roaming freely around town and in parks, bowing to visitors in return for crackers. With more than a thousand deer in the city, the animals have been designated a natural treasure and are a beloved symbol of Nara.

The rest of the ice cream was equally good-looking, with plump swirls of green soft serve sitting atop a cone coated in white chocolate and colourful candy pieces.

Masami loved the flavour of the soft serve, which had a mild green tea taste that coated the tastebuds. The slightly bitter flavour of the green tea paired beautifully with the crunchy sweetness of the candy-and-chocolate dipped cone.

While she was there, Masami couldn’t resist trying out one of the meals at the cafe as well, picking up a beautifully presented boxed lunch for 1,350 yen (US$12.28).

Still, there’s no doubt that it’s the soft serve ice cream that will be drawing crowds to the cafe this summer.

Priced at 450 yen, this is one of the cutest and most delicious sweets you’ll find in town so be sure to take an ice-cream break at the Nara Sightseeing Centre during your next visit!

Cafe Information

Cafe Etranger Narad / カフェ エトランジェ・ナラッド
Address: Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Kamisanjocho 23-4
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24
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