Castle setting is the perfect home for this shadow warrior’s Japanese dessert. 

From Hokkaido through to Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto and Kyushu, we’ve travelled throughout Japan over the years to bring you firsthand reviews of some of the greatest sweets in the country. This week, we’re taking you to Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture for a taste of the new Ninja Kakigori.

The shinobi-style shaved ice dessert is being served up on the grounds of Nagoya Castle in Aichi Prefecture, at Kinshachi Yokocho, a new commercial area that opened to the public in March last year.

▼ “Kinshachi Yokocho”, written in beautifully stylised calligraphy

The new area takes traditional Japanese elements and gives them a modern feel to create a “new-generation” castle town.

The Yoshinao Zone is where you’ll find a street lined with traditional Japanese stores…

…and the Muneharu Zone is where the eateries are located, including the one we’d come here for, which can be found just behind the entrance to the area.

▼ Our destination: CAFE DINER POP★OVER

The cutely-named diner has a wide variety of good-looking offerings on the menu, including Tapioca Iced Teas containing brown sugar…

▼ …and a special Tapioca Cheese Tea containing rock salt.

When we arrived, it was just after 11 a.m., so we didn’t have to wait in line long to make our order. And with a cute ninja sign there to greet us, we decided to try the Strawberry Milk Ninja Kakigori for 950 yen (US$8.75) and one of the Cheese Teas for 550 yen.

We had no idea what a salty cheese-flavoured tea would taste like, so we timidly tried the cream portion of the drink first, and were surprised to find it wasn’t too salty at all — it was sweet, syrupy and delicious.

Delving further into the drink, we slurped up some of the tapioca along with the cream, and found that the tapioca balls had the texture of gummy lollies. We’ve tried a lot of tapioca in our time, but this was our first time to encounter such a unique and springy texture.

Then it was time to move onto the Ninja Kakigori shaved ice dessert, which was topped with a couple of adorable shinobi crafted out of two ice cream balls, wrapped in a thin layer of mochi pounded rice. We couldn’t spend too long admiring the gorgeous dessert, though, as it was quickly melting in the heat, so we dove in and sat back with a spoonful of ice and strawberry milk, letting the sweet combination dance on our taste buds.


We could barely bring ourselves to eat these beauties, but when we eventually did, they were soft, chewy and delightful. And the biscuit sword and shuriken throwing star were crumbly and delicious as well.

It was a generous serving, and the dessert went surprisingly well with the Cheese Tea. In fact, there’s nothing stopping you from adding some of the tea to the kakigori or vice versa, to create even more surprising taste sensations!

We loved both these sweet offerings, and highly recommend them to anyone visiting the area, especially when the Studio Ghibli theme park opens nearby in a few years’ time.

Shop information
Address: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Naka-ku, Ninomaru 1-2
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-Nagoya Castle close time

Photos: © SoraNews24
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